Joy filled St. Joseph Cathedral in downtown Buffalo on Saturday (June 14, 2014) as nearly 1,000 priests, permanent deacons, family and friends gathered for the imposition of hands by Bishop Richard J. Malone, as eight men were ordained to the Holy Order of Deacon for the Diocese of Buffalo.
Prior to the Mass, Bishop Malone met with each deacon and his wife, welcoming them to their ministry giving them their assignments, which include a parish and a ministry of charity.
The newest members of the clergy and their assignments:
Deacon Paul H. Bork – St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Tonawanda; Buffalo Psychiatric Center; Deacon Charles D. Esposito – SS. Peter & Paul Parish, Williamsville; Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital; Deacon Michael J. Ficorilli – St. Andrew Parish, Kenmore; Catholic Charities; Deacon Jeffrey D. Forster – St. Aloysius Parish, Springville/St. John the Baptist Parish, West Valley; Love in the Name of Christ; Deacon Paul C. Kulczyk – St. Padre Pio Parish, Oakfield; Brothers of Mercy; Deacon Steven R. Schumer – St. Bernadette Parish, Orchard Park; Catholic Charities; Deacon Daniel J. Tyler – Sacred Heart Parish, Lakewood; Chautauqua County Jail and Deacon James R. Waggoner – St. John the Baptist Parish, Kenmore; Kenmore Mercy Hospital.
All of the newly-ordained deacons completed their theological studies through the Program for Diaconal Formation Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora.
During his homily Bishop Malone said, “What a blessed day this is for the whole Church. To serve others, without though of personal gain, is a noble thing. Such service is an expression of our faith, of intentional discipleship.”
Unlike the ordination to the priesthood, where all priests lay hands on the newly ordained, only the bishop laid hands on the candidates, “thus signifying the deacon's special attachment to the bishop in the tasks of his ‘diakonia’” (in the service), according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Ordination“A deacon is a living icon of our own servant Lord,” Bishop Malone said. “Much will be required of you as deacons … in every aspect of your ministry, you must be enthusiastically committed to the New Evangelization, creatively and tirelessly proclaiming the truth in love to everyone you meet.”
Following the ordination, Deacon Foster called it a special day. “The sacrament of grace that we celebrate today is joyous. It can only be compared to my wedding day.”
Deacon Esposito echoed that sentiment. “It’s a culmination, not just of five years of formation, but many years of discernment. Thinking about the role of the deacon and answering the call. It’s been a long process.”
The Catechism says, “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.
"Be heralds of hope in all that you are and all that you are called to do,” Bishop Malone said.
Three men are scheduled to be ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2015.