BLOOMFIELD – The Archdiocese of Hartford celebrated the ordination of five men as transitional deacons at a ceremony in the chapel of St. Thomas Seminary Dec. 7. Extra chairs were needed for the more than 500 clergy, seminarians, religious, friends and relatives.
The ordinandi were called individually before Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, ordaining prelate, for election to the transitional diaconate. Bowing solemnly before the chair of the archbishop and declaring himself "present," each of the five came forward and declared himself ready to serve and sacrifice.
The word for deacon derives from the Greek "diakonos," meaning servant or minister. The theme of service recurred throughout the ceremony. Transitional deacons re those on the path to the priesthood, whereas permanent deacons are not.
These newest transitional deacons and their vesting sponsors, in the sequence of their ordination, are: Rev. Mr. Marcel David Dawson Jr., originally from Delaware, vested by Father Salvatore J. Rosa; Rev. Mr. Ryan Matthew Lerner, from St. James/Assumption Church in Manchester, vested by Father Daniel J. McLearen; Rev. Mr. Tuan Anh Dinh Mai, from Vietnam, vested by Msgr. John D. Regan; Rev. Mr. Roberto Daniel McCarthy, from Waterbury, vested by Msgr. James Coleman; and Rev. Mr. Michael Aaron Ruminski, who was born in Nevada, vested by Father Christopher M. Tiano.
After Father Anthony J. Smith, director of vocations, declared the five worthy, Archbishop Mansell said, "…we choose these our brothers for the Order of the Diaconate."
Some days earlier, Father Smith said of the men, "I look forward to this ordination with great joy, because I know these men have truly committed themselves to prayer and study for many years in preparation for this day."
Archbishop Mansell added, "I am filled with profound joy to ordain these talented and generous men, who want to share their gift of faith and spirituality with the people of the Archdiocese of Hartford."
Before the prescribed homily, Archbishop Mansell thanked the men for their sacrifices and hard work. He also thanked other participants, including the three principal concelebrants: Archbishop Emeritus Daniel A. Cronin, Auxiliary Bishop Christie A. Macaluso and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza.
He used the date’s feast of Saint Ambrose on this day as an example of service and sacrifice, saying, "Life is not random, not without aim or purpose." He commended the fourth century saint’s sacrifice and tremendous purpose in combining teaching with service to the poor.
Archbishop Mansell told the men that as deacons they are "icons of sacrifice, called to be of service to the people, as called for in Luke in 4:16-21, to proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners."
"That’s what you’re called to do in so many different ways," he said.
The archbishop, who would celebrate 51 years as a priest on Dec. 19, advised them of the importance of keeping in mind the "significance to the people of what you say and what you do." He said, "In 10, 20, 30, 40, or 50 – and here, adding a more personal 51 – years from now, the people will recall what you do, what you say."
In the prescribed homily, Archbishop Mansell told the five men that, "Strengthened by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, they will help the bishop and his priests in the ministry of the Word … showing themselves to be servants to all."
During the five-minute litany of supplication, the elect prostrated themselves before the cross. Then, Archbishop Mansell silently laid his hands on the heads of each elect. Through this act and the accompanying prayer of ordination, the gift of the Holy Spirit for the Office of Deacon was conferred on the elect.
The five new deacons were then vested with stoles and dalmatics by their sponsors for ordination. The archbishop then handed on to the newly ordained deacons the Book of the Gospels, saying, "Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach."
Lastly, during the kiss of peace, Archbishop Mansell extended to the newly ordained deacons his greeting of peace, after which all the deacons gave the fraternal kiss to the newly ordained.
Then, to the joyous sound of trumpet, organ and oboe, the smiling group of five acknowledged resounding applause as they appeared for the first time vested in the garments of their order.