Among their classmates were another trio of seminarians from the Archdiocese of Washington, two from the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, one seminarian each from 14 other U.S. dioceses and seven other U.S. archdioceses, the Virgin Islands and the Archdiocese of Sydney.
In his homily, Bishop Deeley spoke to those being ordained about living a “life rooted in the Gospel.” He held up St. Francis of Assisi — himself a deacon whose feast-day is Oct. 4 — as an exemplar of living such a life. Like St. Francis, a deacon must give everything to God and know himself to be “loved, chosen and called to serve,” Bishop Deeley said, where his spiritual source of consolation and joy lies.
A deacon is called to “bring this ever important message of God’s love, which they have first received, to others,” he continued. That mission requires being someone who is “filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom,” and constantly seeks to sanctify himself by faithful obedience to his diaconal promises and service to the greater community.
The deacons promised to live a life of prayer, celibacy and obedience to their diocesan bishop. They are amid their final year of theological studies in Rome. God-willing, priestly ordinations are next May and June in their home dioceses.
If “you sanctify yourself, you will sanctify society,” said Bishop Deeley, who like Phoenix’s Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, was ordained in 1973.
A delegation from the Diocese of Phoenix attended the ordination as part of a pilgrimage to Italy being led by Vocations Director Fr. Paul Sullivan. Other diocesan clerics participating included Frs. Fernando Camou, Daniel Cruz, Vinhson Nguyen and Kurt Perera and Dcn. Estevan Wetzel, who is also eyeing a June 2020 priestly ordination.
Aattendthe deacons’ family and friends.’ Bishop Deeley expressed gratitude for their encouragement in the ’response to God’s invitation.
Dcn. Terrill found the entire Ordination Mass moving, but pointed to two moments in particular: prostration and laying on of hands. Dcn. Terrill was fully present during prostration noting “that in laying down I was surrendering my old self and in rising, I took up the ministry of deacon. With such simplicity and clarity, I felt great peace and courage to live out my new life as a transitional deacon,” he said. It was the big “yes” after seven years of preparation.
The laying on of hands by the bishop also moved him. “I got goosebumps,” Dcn. Terrill said. “In that moment, time seemed to slow down, and I prayed to God that he would give me the grace and strength necessary to be a good deacon, and one day a good priest.”