WATERBURY – Jesus’ words to his apostles at the Last Supper are intended in a special way for three men who were ordained as transitional deacons at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception May 14, said ordaining prelate Archbishop Leonard P. Blair in his homily.
The men are Glen Dmytryszyn of Wethersfield; Eduar Gutiérrez Tovar of Tarqui-Huila, Colombia; and Eric Manuel Zuniga of New Britain. They have earned their bachelor’s degrees and are completing their studies in philosophy and theology in their preparation for becoming priests for the Archdiocese of Hartford.
Citing the Gospel reading (John 15:9-17), Archbishop Blair said that each of us is called by name, is a friend of the bridegroom (Christ), has a specific mission, is heard in prayer, and must prove himself true. These words of Christ apply in a special way to all who are called to holy orders, he said.
The archbishop echoed Jesus’ charge to “love one another,” and said that “left to ourselves, how can any of us … hope to be and do all that the Lord asks of us?”
He said that deacons are servants. “Indeed the entire diaconal ministry constitutes a unity of the service of the divine plan of redemption,” he said. “The ministry of the Word leads to the ministry of the altar, which in turn implies the exercise of charity.”
He concluded, “Our prayer for you, my brothers, is that by divine grace you may rise to the holiness and to the responsibility of the diaconate in which you are being ordained …. Then, on the last day, when you go out to meet the Lord, he will be able to say to you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.’”
Father Jeffrey A. Gubbiotti, vocation director for the archdiocese, presented the candidates to Archbishop Blair and declared that they had been found worthy to be ordained. After questioning them, Archbishop Blair said, “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the Order of the Diaconate.”
Later, he elicited their commitment to be consecrated for the church’s ministry, to discharge the office of the diaconate with humble charity, to hold fast to the mystery of faith and proclaim it in word and deed, to embrace and keep the celibate state, to maintain and deepen a spirit of prayer, and to conform their way of life to the example of Christ. The men promised obedience to Archbishop Blair and his successors.
During a litany of supplication, the ordinands prostrated themselves before the altar. Then Archbishop Blair silently laid his hands on each of their heads, one by one, invoking the Holy Spirit. It was at that moment that each of them was ordained.
The newly ordained deacons were then vested in the garments of their order, a stole and a dalmatic. Deacon Dmytryszyn was vested by Father Stephen A. Krugel, pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Ansonia; Deacon Gutiérrez was vested by Father Roland M. LaPlante, of the Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin Residence for Retired Priests in Bloomfield; and Deacon Zuniga was vested by Deacon Michael Torres, who serves at the East Hartford Cluster of St. Isaac Jogues, St. Mary and St. Rose.
Classically trained musicians added dignity and joy to the occasion. Cantors Sarah Gedicks and Matthew Burke led the congregation in acclamations, while organist and archdiocesan music ministry director Ezequiel Menéndez led members of the Cathedral of St. Joseph Schola Cantorum and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Choir in the sung portions of the Mass. Soaring trumpet and violin solos were rendered by Dr. Louis Hanzlik and Gioia Gedicks, re-spectively.
The newly ordained deacons will be assigned to assist at parishes before returning to their seminaries in the fall. Deacon Dmytryszyn will assist at St. Matthew Parish in Forestville, and return to St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass. Deacon Gutiérrez will assist at Holy Family Parish in Enfield. Deacon Zuniga will assist at St. Augustine and St. Anne-Immaculate Conception parishes in Hartford. Both Deacons Gutiérrez and Zuniga will resume their studies at Mount St. Mary Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. They anticipate being ordained to the priesthood in the spring of 2017.
Camille Dmytryszyn of Wethersfield, a member of St. Augustine Parish in Hartford, expressed deep joy at the ordination of her son, Deacon Glen Dmytryszyn. “It’s beyond words. I’m elated. I’m proud, very proud and blessed.”
Monica Zuniga, of St. Mary Parish in New Britain, said of her cousin, Deacon Zuniga, “He’s been studying hard, and it will be good to have another priest in the family. We have an uncle and another cousin who are priests.”
Deacon Gutiérrez’s mother, Rubiela Tovar, traveled with other family members from Colombia to attend the event. Through an interpreter, she said, “It’s a great blessing for us. We are very proud of him.”