It was a day for deacons Oct. 8 as Burlington Bishop Christopher Coyne ordained seven men to serve as permanent deacons in Vermont; many other deacons attended the special morning Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral in Burlington.

The men ordained were Bob Begley of Holy Angels and Immaculate Conception parishes in St. Albans, RJ Dourney of Holy Family Parish in Springfield and Chester, Patrick Leduc of St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington, Thomas Lovett of Corpus Christi Parish based in St. Johnsbury, John Magnier of St. Catherine of Sienna Parish in Shelburne, Josh McDonald of St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington and Chris Noble of St. Anthony and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in White River Junction and Windsor.

Deacons exercise service to the Church and to the People of God through a three-fold ministry: word, liturgy and charity.

As ministers of the word, deacons serve as evangelizers and teachers. As ministers of the liturgy, they assist not only the priest at the altar but also the gathered assembly throughout the liturgy.

Deacons may preside at other liturgical functions such as baptisms, weddings, funerals, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest and bringing communion to the sick and homebound.

As ministers of charity, the deacon is out in the world – bringing the ministry and presence of the Church to those who need it.

“This three-fold ministry is often expressed and experienced as separate ministries, but in the person of the deacon, the ministries of word, liturgy and charity actually become one ministry,” explained Josh Perry, director of worship for the Diocese of Burlington. “The deacon at liturgy, then, presents a model of ministry for all of us. Our work of evangelization consists in our proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and our worship of God and our prayers for the needs of others, and our work of charity and justice in the world. The Christian life isn’t simply one or two of these, but it is all of them.”

In his homily at the Solemn Mass of Ordination, Bishop Coyne referred to the Code of Canon Law which states that a candidate for the permanent diaconate is someone considered to be useful to the ministry of the Church. Indeed, permanent deacons are ordained to be useful servants in the community of the Church, he said, and to serve in word, sacrament, evangelization, instruction, encouragement and charity.

They are to be useful to the Church in works of mercy and salvation, he added.

The bishop prayed that the deacons’ ministries would be “productive and useful.”

The new deacons are involved in numerous activities including a hot meal program, respect life ministry, Knights of Columbus, education, visits to the elderly, social justice/social ministry and parish life.

Virginia Giroux of St. John Vianney Parish in South Burlington attended the Mass to see her friend, Deacon Begley, ordained. “This is truly a blessing, and I am so glad I could be here,” she said. He will be a “wonderful, wonderful” servant to the Church.

Deacon Noble called the ordination celebration glorious. “This is community!” he enthused.

“Today has been a blessing to see so many people come together in our faith,” Deacon Leduc said after the Mass. “It renews my hope that the faithful are strong.”


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