On June 14, Bishop Richard J. Malone, through the invocation of the Holy Spirit and the imposition of hands, will confer the sacrament of Holy Orders of Deacon upon eight area men. The ordination takes place at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo.
Kenmore resident Paul H. Bork (above, far left), attended the State University of New York at Buffalo and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Wadham’s Hall Seminary College, Ogdensburg; and a master of arts degree in pastoral ministry from Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora. He and his wife Elizabeth have two daughters, Laura and Emily, and are members of St. Andrew Parish, Kenmore, where he has served as Eucharistic minister and lector as well as a member of the Parish Outreach Program. Bork, who works as the associate director of mission education and promotion for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers in their Buffalo regional office in Tonawanda, is anxious to become a deacon in order to help people.
“I wish to serve God and God’s people through ministry,” he said, “in places where there is a need.” During his formation, Bork served at St. Andrew, Kenmore; Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo; St. Francis of Assisi, Tonawanda and McAuley Residence, Kenmore.
Charles D. Esposito, (above, second from left), a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus, is a member of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Williamsville, where he has been active as a Eucharistic minister, lector and sacristan. Esposito is a graduate of Canisius College, Buffalo, and Christ the King Seminary where he received a master’s degree in pastoral ministry. He and his wife Patricia have a daughter, Tricia, and a son, Andrew.
As part of his studies, Esposito fulfilled his field ministry requirements in pastoral ministry at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Williamsville, taught religious education at his parish and worked with the Network of Religious Communities.
He described his journey to the diaconate as “both an eye opening and spiritual journey for the last five years. It has opened my heart, mind and soul to the real mission of the deacon as a servant of God’s people.”
Esposito worked for more than 12 years as an account representative at Crosswater Digital Media, LLC, in Buffalo.
HSBC Bank Information Technology Project Manager Michael J. Ficorilli (above, third from left), spent his field ministry time with the Little Portion Friary, Peaceprints Prison Ministries and Catholic Charities Parish Outreach and Advocacy, all in Buffalo. He also is an active member of his parish, St. Stephen, Grand Island, where he is the folk group director, Eucharistic minister, lector and member of the bible study group. He and his wife, Lynne, are parents of Ryan, Kristen and Joel.
Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ficorilli earned an associate degree from Niagara County Community College and a bachelor of science degree in computer information systems from Medaille College, Buffalo. He also studied at Christ the King Seminary where he graduated with a master’s degree in pastoral ministry.
Reflecting on his path to the diaconate, Ficorilli described how he “saw the face of Jesus in the people to whom I’ve been blessed to minister” and said his experiences confirmed what he believed for a long time, “Jesus is alive and well and He lives in the poor, the homeless, and the lost right here in Western New York and God wants me to try to help them.”
As with many of the other new permanent deacons, Jeffrey D. Forster, (above, far right) also felt called to some type of service to the church. “Lay ministries, while important and enjoyable,” he explained, “always left a void unfilled deep within me. The journey of diaconal formation has been wonderful and invaluable. It has challenged my sense of ‘being called by God,’ expanded my understanding of ‘service’ to God’s church, greatly opened me to social justice issues and avenues of mercy and charity towards other, enhanced my personal prayer life and deepened relationships with my wife and children.”
A Springville resident and president of Software Inventors Ltd., Forster is married and is the father of Katherine, Jennifer and Timothy. He and his wife Marylou are members of St. Aloysius Parish, Springville, where he serves as a lector, Eucharistic minister and as a member of the bereavement ministry.
To fulfill his field ministry training, Forster worked at Father Baker Manor, Orchard Park, and Bread of Life Outreach, Colden.
Forster attended the State University of New York at Geneseo and graduated from the State University College at Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in education and from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a master’s degree in business administration. In May, he graduated from Christ the King Seminary with a master’s degree in pastoral ministry.
Retired New York State corrections officer Paul C. Kulczyk of Batavia, (above, far left), also will be ordained this month. Active in his parish, Ascension, Batavia, Kulczyk is a member of the Holy Name Society, a lector and Eucharistic minister. In studying for the diaconate, he worked at various local nursing homes, taught religious education at St. Joseph School, Batavia, worked with the migrant ministry in Elba and Albion, and with Catholic Charities in Batavia. These experiences proved to be both inspiring and educational for him.
“The process of formation has both enriched and expanded my understanding of myself and those around me,” Kulczyk said. “I have greatly enjoyed the journey and feel blessed to have been allowed to undergo this progression with my fellow candidates.” Kulczyk attended Buffalo State College and graduated from Erie Community College with as associate degree in criminal justice. He and his wife, Joan, are the parents of two sons, Joseph and Aaron.
Steven R. Schumer (above, second from left), said he felt called to the diaconate for several years before he attended an information session. “Although the formation program entails much training and education,” he said, “I have learned that the formative aspect is so much more important. I encourage people who feel they may be called to ordained, religious or lay vocations to listen to the call and act upon it. I feel extremely blessed with this opportunity to serve the church as deacon.”
A correspondent banker with M&T Bank, Schumer and his wife Mary are parishioners of St. Bernadette Parish, Orchard Park, and have two children, Elizabeth and Timothy. He has been active in his parish serving as a lector, Eucharistic minister, catechist, member of the parish council and music ministry. During the formation process, his field ministry included the work at Little Portion Friary and Father Baker Manor.
Schumer holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Niagara University, a master’s degree in business administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Christ the King Seminary.
Bemus Point resident Daniel J. Tyler, (above, third from left) a parishioner of St. Mary of Lourdes, Bemus Point, is an administrative nurse at W.C.A. Hospital, Jamestown, where he has worked for 32 years. He and his wife Ellen have two children, Daniel and Erin.
As part of his training for the diaconate, Tyler worked in Jamestown at the St. Susan Center where they provide “food for the hungry and to welcome strangers,” and at Hospice of Chautauqua County. In his parish, he serves as a lector and Eucharistic minister.
Born in Jamestown, Tyler is a graduate of Jamestown Community College and Jamestown School of Practical Nursing. As a deacon, he looks forward to helping people spiritually. “I would like to spread the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to all that will listen and bring the lost sheep back to the church,” he said. “I would like to spread the Word to the incarcerated and their families and visit the homebound.”
The final candidate for ordination to the diaconate is Kenmore resident James R. Waggoner, (above, far right) who was born in Buffalo and raised in the Town of Tonawanda. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Niagara University and a master’s degree in pastoral ministry from Christ the King Seminary. Waggoner is a certified public accountant with Campagna & Gallson CPA’s PC in Williamsville.
Husband of Elizabeth and father of Sean, Matthew and Ashley, Waggoner said he wanted to share the gift of his faith with others. “My faith is a precious gift which has supported me throughout my life and I feel a call to share that gift with others and proclaim the love that God has for us all,” he said.
He has shared his gift in both his parish and his field ministry involvement. At St. John the Baptist, Kenmore, Waggoner has worked with Confirmation retreats, youth ministry and religious education. He also serves as a lector and Eucharistic minister. His field ministry was with Kenmore Mercy Hospital, McAuley Residence and the Little Portion Friary.
In 1967 Pope Paul VI restored the permanent diaconate as an independent order in the Church. Deacons are considered clergy in the Church, but are not ordained priests. Both single and married men are allowed to become permanent deacons. However, single men who are ordained may not marry after ordination and married men may not remarry in the event of the wife’s death.
Permanent deacons may officiate at weddings, baptisms, funerals and wakes. They also may preach and distribute Holy Communion. The role of the deacon traditionally has been one of charity and administration. In the Diocese of Buffalo, many deacons work at local hospitals and prisons while others perform their duties at parishes and nursing homes.