HARTFORD – Archbishop Leonard P. Blair urged six men to lead by example and humility as permanent deacons at an ordination liturgy and Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on June 2.
The newly ordained are Albert Anthony Cala, Alfred Gambone Jr., Robert Emmett Kiley, Michael Kristopher Malfitano, Vincent Jacques Raby and John William Thorpe.
It was a joyous occasion. While the six prepared for the ceremony, the Cathedral Brass Quintet welcomed not only happy clusters of family, friends and religious, but several large parish contingents who’d traveled by bus to Hartford to celebrate the long-awaited day with a favorite deacon.
At the end of the ceremony, some among the latter even broke into cheers as the archbishop read the men’s assignments.
In his homily, Archbishop Blair evoked the solemnity, Church history and responsibility of the diaconate. He correlated the threefold duties of the deacon —as an instrument of charity, of the altar and of the Word — within the context of the scriptural readings from Numbers, Acts and Luke, each of which he said offered a different aspect of the diaconate as part of God’s redemptive plan.
Referring to God’s command to the Levites to fulfill a more humble function, the archbishop said the Church saw a foreshadowing of the services rendered by the deacon, particularly as a minister of the altar.
“A deacon is steeped in the spirit of the altar,” said the archbishop, “He must lead by example.”
Information about the new deacons and the parishes to which they are assigned follows:
Deacon Cala, 53, will serve at St. Damien of Molokai Parish in Windsor. A member of Annunciation Parish in Newington, he has a degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Georgia Technical College. He has been commissioned as a lay minister in liturgy and an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. He is also a lector and teaches religious education.
Deacon Gambone, 63, will serve at St. Francis Xavier Parish in New Milford, his own parish. He grew up in Philadelphia, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corp. He is currently a national sales manager for DSM Food Specialties.
Deacon Kiley, who is 56, belongs to St. Peter Claver Parish in West Hartford, where he will serve. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Law. He is an attorney who represents health care providers in civil litigation. He serves as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, lector and usher. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and an assistant Scout master and chaplain of the Boy Scouts of America.
Deacon Malfitano, 51, is a parishioner at St. Mary Magdalen in Oakville, to which he is assigned. Originally from Southern California, he moved to Connecticut in 1987 where he met his wife. The two run a special needs dog rescue program out of their home in Watertown. He is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion and lector and teaches religious education to second graders.
Deacon Raby, 61, belongs to St. Thomas Parish in Southington, where he will serve. He recently retired after 38 years as an engineer. He is a cantor and leads the bereavement ministry at his parish. He is also very active in outreach programs that serve the people of southwest Uganda.
Deacon Thorpe, 56, is a member of St. Dominic Parish in Southington, to which he was assigned. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Central Connecticut State University and an MBA from RPI in Hartford. He also earned a master’s degree in project management from George Washington University. He serves as a confirmation director and baptism coordinator, and is on the parish council.