by Joe Bollig
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The ordination of three men as transitional deacons on May 16 at the Cathedral of St. Peter here was historic for being the first to be held under pandemic conditions in at least a century.
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann ordained Deacons Keith Chadwick, Luke Doyle and Thomas Maddock in a largely empty cathedral and with a minimal number of people present.
Paradoxically, the ordination of the transitional deacons was at once the most sparsely attended but also most widely viewed in archdiocesan history, thanks to livestreaming technology.
“Our cathedral is sparsely populated today, but through the miracle of live-stream, we have it at its maximum capacity and overflowing,” said Archbishop Naumann. “Many are joining it in this way, and we welcome you.”
In the pews — and suitably masked — were the men’s parents: Robert and Sheryl Chadwick of Sacred Heart Parish in Shawnee; Tom and Jeanne Doyle of Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka; and Michael and Bernadette Maddock of Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park. Other family members were also present.
The rite of election of the candidates took place between the proclamation of the word and the archbishop’s homily. Each man was called from the pews — one by one — and, after saying, “Present,” stood before the altar.
Then, Father Dan Morris, archdiocesan vocations director, asked this of the archbishop:
“Most Reverend Father, Holy Mother Church asks you to ordain these men, our brothers, to the responsibility of the diaconate.”
“Father Morris, do you know them to be worthy?” responded Archbishop Naumann.
“After inquiry among the Christian people and upon the recommendation of those responsible, I testify that they have been found worthy,” replied Father Morris.
“Relying on the help of the Lord God and our savior Jesus Christ, we choose these our brothers for the order of the diaconate,” said the archbishop.
All present answered, “Thanks be to God.” And from the pews came enthusiastic applause, at least for the numbers.
“I’m sure there was a thunderous applause happening throughout the archdiocese through all of our livestream viewers today,” added Archbishop Naumann.
One of the “blessings” of the pandemic was that he’d give the briefest ordination homily he had ever given, said the archbishop. Instead of his usual preaching, he would read a beautiful instruction from the ordination rite.
“If only most of our priests were here to enjoy this,” he said. “However, we will [place] on the website . . . a longer message . . . for you and for all your families, friends and fans watching through livestream. You can choose to watch it or not.”
After the homily came what Archbishop Naumann called their “final exam”: the promises of the elect. Standing, the three men said, “I do” after each question, adding to the last “with the help of God.”
Next, each man knelt before the archbishop, placed his folded hands in his, and promised to respect and obey the archbishop and his successors.
Then, the men prostrated themselves before the altar for the Litany of Supplication. Afterward, each returned to kneel before the archbishop and was ordained to the diaconate by the ancient rite of the laying on of hands.
The new deacons were then vested and Archbishop Naumann presented each with the Book of the Gospels and the admonition to “believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
During their year in the first rank of clerics, the ministry of the three deacons is to preach, baptize, preside at funerals, witness marriages and serve others in the ministries of charity.
Deacon Keith Chadwick was vested by Father Richard McDonald, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Basehor; Deacon Luke Doyle, by Father Brian Schieber, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood; and Deacon Thomas Maddock, by Father Alessandro Borraccia, AVI, sacramental assistant at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park.
After ordination, the three deacons joined the archbishop at the altar to assist at Mass. At the dismissal, the archbishop noted the three deacons demonstrated their solidarity and love for the Blessed Virgin Mary by wearing one identical item: Marian-themed socks.
The three newly ordained men will minister in archdiocesan parishes during the summer and then expect to return to their seminaries to complete their studies this fall. Their ordination to the priesthood is tentatively scheduled for May 29, 2021.