by Joe Bollig
LENEXA — The ordination of five men to the transitional diaconate — the largest class in perhaps more than a decade — took place at Holy Trinity Parish here on May 19.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann ordained Nicholas Ashmore, Kenn Clem, Colin Haganey, Joel Haug and Dan Weger.
“The Holy Spirit is invoked by the archbishop, having the authority vested in him through his own ordination as a bishop, to bless and bestow upon the man being ordained the grace of holy orders,” said Father Scott Wallisch, archdiocesan director of vocations.
“The first level of holy orders is the diaconate, “ he continued. “There are two types of deacons — those ordained to be permanently in the rank of deacon, and those ordained as deacons transitioning to also be priests.”
Present for the ordination were several seminarians serving as acolytes, 17 permanent deacons, 41 priests, and Deacon Viet Nguyen — who will be ordained a priest on June 30. Father Bruce Ansems was master of ceremonies; Msgr. Gary Applegate assisted Archbishop Emeritus James P. Keleher.
The vesting clergy were Father Greg Hammes, Father Richard Storey, Father Mark Madden, Father Alessandro Borraccio and Deacon Dana Nearmyer.
Archbishop Naumann acknowledged the presence of seminary representatives and thanked archdiocesan clergy who played important roles in supporting the five men who were ordained.
The archbishop also thanked friends and family who were present for their support. He especially thanked the parents of the five men.
“Thank you for accepting your own vocational call to Christian marriage, and allowing your love to be the human instrument of God to be used in giving Nicholas, Kenn, Colin, Joel and Dan this morning,” he said. “It was because of your faith that they were able to receive the very life of Jesus Christ as infants.”
It was within their homes that the five men developed the Christian virtues and where they came to know Jesus and his church, he continued.
“The family is, for most priests, the first and most important seminary that they ever attend,” said the archbishop. “It is in the family that they first came not to know just about Jesus, but to encounter the living Jesus through developing a life of prayer.”
The five men were called forward, as a group, to stand before the archbishop and promise to fulfill the ministry of deacon. Next, each man went forward individually to kneel before the archbishop and promise his obedience to him and his successors.
The men lay prostrate for the litany of supplication, and afterward stood and came forward individually for ordination by the laying on of hands. This was followed by the prayer of ordination.
The deacons were vested near their families in the pews, and then each went to the archbishop to receive the Book of the Gospels. Archbishop Naumann admonished them to “believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
After this, the five deacons received the fraternal greeting of the other deacons present. They joined the other clerics at the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
“A deacon is ordained to be of assistance to the archbishop in fulfilling his duties of ministering to all the people of the archdiocese,” said Father Wallisch. “They are ordained for service, meaning both service to the poor and forgotten, and service of the word and the Eucharist.”
Deacons can proclaim the Gospel, preach, baptize and officiate at weddings and funerals without a Mass.
Following their summer assignments, the men will return to their respective seminaries for further studies. After completion of their seminary formation and studies, they will be ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 2019, at Ascension Parish in Overland Park.