Today, The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, archbishop of Saint Louis, ordained two Benedictine monks of the Abbey of Saint Mary and Saint Louis to the Order of Deacon. Brothers Francis Hein and Cassian Koeneman received this sacrament of order at the request of Abbot Thomas Frerking. May God them many years of faithful service!
The archbishop ordained these men to the Order of Deacon and next year, Deo volente, he will ordain them to the Order of Priest.
Brother Francis has been at the Dominican House of Studies (Washington, DC) and Brother Cassian has been at Rome’s Angelicum.
What does the Church teach about deacons? The Catechism answers:
Deacons share in Christ’s
mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them
with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and
which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or
servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the
bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the
Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing
marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over
funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.
Since the Second Vatican Council the Latin
Church has restored the diaconate “as a proper and permanent rank of the
hierarchy,” while the Churches of the East had always maintained it. This
permanent diaconate, which can be conferred on married men, constitutes an
important enrichment for the Church’s mission. Indeed it is appropriate and
useful that men who carry out a truly diaconal ministry in the Church, whether
in its liturgical and pastoral life or whether in its social and charitable
works, should “be strengthened by the imposition of hands which has come
down from the apostles. They would be more closely bound to the altar and their
ministry would be made more fruitful through the sacramental grace of the
A friend in England, Stuart Meyer, was ordained to the Order of Deacon for service in the Archdiocese of Southwark (in the UK) this past Saturday Archbishop Peter David Smith. Southwark is an archdiocese just outside of London where, according to statistics in 2010 the population is 86% Catholic.
Deacon Stuart was an ordained member of the Church of England for many years until he entered into full communion with the Church of Rome. He desired to serve the Lord and the Church as a Catholic priest and did the studies required. The new deacon does not belong to the Anglican Ordinariate, but to the Archdiocese of Southwark.
We offer our congratulations to Deacon Stuart Meyer and pray that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saints Lawrence and Stephen continue to guide. Pray for Deacon Stuart as he prepares for priestly ordination and for vocations to the Catholic Church in England.
The lay –and married– canon lawyer Ed Peters wrote a piece indicating the permanent deacons are to be sexually abstinent (continent) permanently. This is the teaching and law of the Church. Men in studies seeking ordination to the Diaconate, that is, to be a permanent deacon, should have been taught this by the formators but lets concede the fact that those in charge of the diaconate program skipped or mis-represented the Church’s teaching in this matter. It is widely seen, however, to an unenforceable church law. Ed Peters quotes the phrase, “perfect and perpetual” from Canon 277 §1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law to explain the behavior of the permanent deacon. The first premise is paragraph 1, even with the presence of a possible dispensation seen in paragraph 3. The expectation is that all clerics are sexually continent. Conclusion: all men called to holy orders are expected to refrain from sex! The Catholic Church doesn’t have a double standard, one for priests and one for deacons. For the 15K deacons in the USA: amend your life.
The academic article in Studia Canonica of 2005, “Canonical Considerations of Diaconal Continence,” in which Peters’ argues that married permanent deacons are by Church law to refrain from sexual intercourse with their wife, that is, the deacon remains sexually continent. The article can be read at this link: Ed Peters Studia c. 277 Diaconal Sexual Continence.pdf
Bishop Sullivan exhorted the new deacons to be concerned for matters of charity, the Word of God and the Altar. To intercede for the Church in prayer and in action. Model life on Christ and the example of Saint John Mary Vianney.
Tonight 7 men made the Profession of Faith and the
Oath of Fidelity (which I encourage you too read) at Vespers. These 7 men will be ordained to the Order of
Deacon tomorrow here in the Saint Joseph Seminary Chapel by Bishop Dennis
Joseph Sullivan, VG, auxiliary bishop of New York: James H. Ferreira, George
LaGrutta, Steven R. Markantonis, Fredy P. Montoya, Thomas Roslak, Enrique J. Salvo,
Daniel P. Tuite.
Please keep these men in your prayers and sacrifices tomorrow
and in year ahead as they prepare for ordination as priest on 15 May 2010 for service in the Archdiocese of New York by Archbishop Timothy P. Dolan, PhD.
Our Lady of Dunwoodie, cause of our joy, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints John Vianney, Pio of Pietrelcina, John Eudes, pray for us.
Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.