by Joe Bollig
LAWRENCE — The ordination of four men to the transitional diaconate at the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center here on Aug. 21 was both a dream come true and history in the making.
With this ordination, the four became the first clerics in the history of a nascent religious order, the male branch of the Apostles of the Interior Life. As transitional deacons, they will be ordained to the priesthood at 10:30 a.m. on June 18, 2011, at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann ordained Deacon Scott J. Kallal, Deacon Vincent E. Huber, Deacon Edward Ahn, and Deacon Mirco Sosio through the ancient ceremony of the laying on of hands.
Through this act, the four men received authority in the name of the church to preach, baptize, preside at funerals, witness marriages, and serve the faithful through ministries of charity.
As members of the fledgling order, they will also live their organization’s charism of spiritual direction and evangelization.
“It is a unique blessing, and it brings us so much joy to know that this is real,” said Sister Elena Morcelli, AVI. “As we think about it, we almost want to poke each other. Is it really happening? And it is!”
The female branch of the Apostles of the Interior Life was founded in Rome in 1990, and the Diocese of Rome approved its charism and rule in 1996. The male branch was founded in Rome in 2007. The women religious were invited by Archbishop James P. Keleher to found their order in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas in 2003.
Currently, the two branches are public associations of the faithful and are only recognized by the Diocese of Rome and the archdiocese.
“Our dream has come true,” said Sister Elena, the local superior for the Lawrence community of the Apostles. “Our community’s charism has, very much, a priestly spirituality. When the male branch came about, they wanted to have the same spirituality. We knew for them the best [way] was to be ordained as priests, because that would be the full expression of the charism.”
The male branch has five men, each studying for the priesthood at various institutions in Rome. In order for them to be ordained, they need to have a bishop who understands their charism and is willing to incardinate them into his diocese.
Archbishop Naumann both understands and is willing to welcome the men. By agreement between the Apostles and the archdiocese, eventually all five men will be incardinated in the archdiocese. They will split their time between Rome and the archdiocese.
Three of the new deacons are American: Vincent Huber, from the archdiocese; Scott Kallal, from the Diocese of Springfield, Ill.; and Edward Ahn, from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Deacon Mirco Sosio is from the Diocese of Como in Italy. The fifth , Alessandro Borraccia, from the Archdiocese of Milan in Italy, will be ordained a transitional deacon next year.
The men have spent the past three summers in the archdiocese. This summer, they stayed at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park. The women religious’ provincial house is only two blocks from the parish.
“Our main goal has been to get to know the [archdiocesan] clergy, because we’re joining this presbyterate,” said Deacon Huber. “I grew up here and I know a lot of them, but the others do not. Also, we’ve been trying to participate in archdiocesan activities and spend time with our lay [associates], the Family and Collaborators of Your Joy.”
The deacons won’t have much time to minister as deacons in the archdiocese, since they return to Rome on Sept. 23. In the meantime, they will assist at Mass and help the female Apostles give two missions — one at Benedictine College in Atchison and another at Holy Spirit Parish.