HARTFORD – The Cathedral of St. Joseph was the scene of a joyful and music-filled celebration on June 4 as Archbishop Leonard P. Blair ordained 10 men as permanent deacons of the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The cathedral was filled with families, friends and other supporters, some arriving by the busload and many saying they were looking forward to hearing the new deacons’ first sermons in various parishes scheduled for as soon as the next day.
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The new deacons are Brian Armstrong of Wolcott, James Blanchette of Berlin, Robert Carter Jr. of Derby, Dominic Corraro of North Haven, William Dziatko of Marlborough, Philip Gosselin of East Hartford, Michael Lynch of Seymour, Angelo Moriello of Naugatuck, Paul Robert of Broad Brook and Norris Taylor of Windsor.
In the most solemn gesture of the ordination rite, Archbishop Blair silently laid his hands on the heads of each of the candidates and prayed silently. Each then was vested with a dalmatic, worn over the alb, and a stole.
“Strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, said the archbishop, “they will serve the bishop and his priests in the ministry of the Word, in the ministry of the altar and in the ministry of charity.”
In his homily, he invited everyone in attendance to consider carefully the nature of the office of deacon.
“It is for all of us and the ordinandi to keep the faith,” he said, “to keep the faith in our hearts like Mary our mother.'
His homily reflected much on the heart of Mary, which the church remembered on this day; on Saint Paul; and on church doctrine on holy orders and marriage as described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The archbishop said that the Catechism calls holy orders and marriage “sacraments at the service of communion." This, he said, “is the Catechism’s way of saying that in very different ways, both sacraments are oriented toward the salvation of others. Both sacraments, marriage and holy orders, are meant to serve and build up the people of God."
The deacon, by the nature of the office and the institution, is called to be a living icon of humble service. The word “diaconate” comes from the Greek diakonia, which refers to an emphasis on service.
He urged the 10 men, “Never allow yourselves to be turned from the hope offered by the Gospel. Now you are not only hearers of this Gospel, but also its ministers.
“Hold the ministry of faith with a clear conscience, express by your actions the words of God which your lips proclaim. Then, on the last day when you go out to meet the Lord you will be able to hear him say to you, ‘well done good and faithful servant.’”
The ordination liturgy was filled with procession and presentation as the men appeared collectively and individually during four solemn sequences before the archbishop. When the newly ordained deacons were vested in the garments of their order, their wives approached the altar to assist in the investiture.
The congregation’s applause met both the initial presentation and the conclusion, when Archbishop Blair thanked the many priests, sponsors and family members for their support of the men throughout the preceding years of preparation, especially recognizing the wives and asking them to stand for recognition.
The principal concelebrants were Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansel; Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza; Dominican Father Steven C. Boguslawski, vicar general and moderator of the curia; Father James A. Shanley, episcopal vicar and cathedral rector; Father Shawn T. Daly, vicar for clergy; and Father Aidan N. Donahue, director of the Office of Diaconate Formation.