Bishop Barry C. Knestout ordained 15 men to the permanent diaconate Saturday, Sept. 25, instructing them to “be stewards of God’s mysteries.”
Joined by more than 700 people at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, including 36 priests, 48 permanent deacons and additional congregants via Facebook and YouTube, the bishop provided a catechesis on the development of the diaconate.
Referencing the liturgy’s second reading, Acts 6:1-7b, in which the apostles call forth the deacons, Bishop Knestout said, “The apostles want and need to devote themselves to prayer and word; sacrifice is their priority, yet they also must ensure that the good works of the Church are properly expressed and not neglected.”
The bishop noted that this was part of a “movement inspired by the Holy Spirit flowing from prayer — the ministry of the Word, toward love —the ministry of the altar, and toward action — the ministry of charity.”
He compared it to the Holy Spirit bestowing his presence and inspiration on the disciples as a response to their prayerful plea and openness to God’s work in them.
“This movement — the progression — impels them to assist the apostles and go into the world with the work of evangelization, of worship, and charity,” Bishop Knestout said.
Reflecting on the Gospel, John 15:9-17, in which Jesus instructs the apostles at the Last Supper to keep his commandments and adds, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend” (13), the bishop explained, “We see here another spiritual movement from action, that is, obedience to God’s commandments as a manifestation of love, leading to friendship with God, back again, coming back full circle, to prayer.”
Inspired by the love of God, Bishop Knestout said, deacons’ works of charity express and return that love, which leads to deeper prayer and a greater receptivity to hearing God’s Word in order to build up the Church community.
Speaking directly to the ordinands, the bishop said, “… do the will of God from the heart — serve the people in love and joy as you would the Lord.”
Bishop Knestout said they should “be men of good reputation, filled with wisdom and the Holy Spirit.”
“Never allow yourselves to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel,” the bishop said. “Now you are not only hearers of this Gospel but also its ministers.”
The newly-ordained are: Deacons Joe Badalis, John Carey, Michael Carlucci, Kirk Collins, Steve Cottam, Jose Cuenca, Mark De La Hunt, Daniel Derringer, Liem Do, James Findley, Hoang Le, Lawrence Mikkelson, Myes Pocta, Domingo Torres and Gregg Whisler.