November 28, 2017

Permanent Diaconate Candidates Installed into Ministry of Lector

The candidates in the diocese’s permanent diaconate formation pose for a group photo with Bishop Ronald Gainer following the Solemn Mass with the Rite of Institution of Lectors Nov. 18.
The candidates in the diocese’s permanent diaconate formation pose for a group photo with Bishop Ronald Gainer following the Solemn Mass with the Rite of Institution of Lectors Nov. 18.

In a significant step toward their ordination to the Sacred Order of the Diaconate in 2020, 44 men in the diocese’s Permanent Diaconate Formation Program were instituted into the Ministry of Lector during a Solemn Mass at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal at St. Catherine Labouré Parish in Harrisburg on Nov. 18.

As family members, clergy and their formators looked on, each candidate was called forward to present himself to Bishop Ronald Gainer during the Rite of Institution of Lectors. The bishop then, in his homily, offered an instruction about the rite before each candidate knelt before him and was presented with the Holy Scripture.

“Take this book of Holy Scripture, and be faithful in handing on the Word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of his people,” Bishop Gainer instructed the men as they accepted the book.

During the homily, as he sat before the men, seated together in the first several rows of pews, the bishop noted that the rite is “a major step in the installation into the Ministry of the Word, a preparation for the fullness of the Ministry of the Word that will be yours when, as deacons, you proclaim the Gospel and your voice becomes the voice of Jesus to his gathered people.”

He reminded the candidates and those in the congregation that when we read Scripture, we’re not reading a history lesson or being reminded of what has already taken place. “When the Word of God is proclaimed, whether we read it individually or in small groups, when we reflect and pray on that Word, it is always ‘today.’ It is a living Word, where God speaks to us in the present moment,” he said.

“As you take on this new and formal relationship to the proclamation of the Word,” he told the candidates, “it is foremost to remember that as your voice gives sound to the revealed Word of God, it is done in this present moment, and in that proclaimed Word we encounter God present with us.”

“Scripture is no longer a subject to be simply studied, or something to be mastered as another lesson,” Bishop Gainer remarked. “Rather, the Living Word of God in all of our lives ought to be that which masters us and transforms us.”

The Diocese of Harrisburg announced a new class for the permanent diaconate in February of 2015, from which a period of application and selection followed. The first year of the program was one of aspirancy, during which the men focused on discernment of their call to ordained ministry. They were formally accepted as candidates through the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders last September, and are continuing studies including pastoral, spiritual and human formation in preparation for ordination in 2020.

There have been three previous classes of deacons ordained for service in the Diocese of Harrisburg; they were in 1978, 1983 and 2010.

By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness

The Candidates

Steven L. Auchey
Thomas W. Ballinger
David A. Barto
Shawn A. Biter
Alex A. Bogdanoff
Virgilio Centenera
Joseph Cingle
Chris J. Darrup
William G. Davies, Jr.
Michael R. Derois
Brian G. Fabian
Carl B. Freidhoff
Denis R. Gangloff
David M. Grady
Joseph M. Gusherowski
Thomas A. Hewitt
James V. Koch
Walter J. Kozlowski
Frank A. Kuchinski
James P. Lawson
William Paul Leavens
Christopher D. Livelsberger

Patrick A. McCormack
Michael D. McGovern
Randy T. Mentzell
Jorge L. Nazario
Samuel D. Nicola
Thomas T. Owsinski
Carlos Pichardo
Stephen P. Pichler
Henry J. Reese
Chad M. Reigel
Jorge L. Reyes
William D. Roesch
Scott A. Root
George B. Salzmann
Richard D. San Severino
Richard F. Satriale
Daniel R. Signore, III
Francis J. Skorija
Armando Torres, Jr.
Anthony J. Weaver, Jr.
Terry A. Willoughby, Jr.
Robert P. Wislock

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