Local Religious life

New deacon urged to anchor his life in Christ

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The newest deacon in the archdiocese was urged to follow the examples of the church’s original deacons, and to take St. Paul as his patron and model.

Scott Wallisch, 31, was ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 16 at St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann was the homilist and ordaining minister.

Although brief, the transitional diaconate is an important step toward ordination to the priesthood, and is one of the three ranks of clergy.

Archbishop Naumann ordained Deacon Wallisch through the ancient rite of the laying on of hands. With this act, the new deacon received authority in the name of the church to preach, baptize, preside at funerals, witness marriages and serve the faithful through the ministries of charity.

“For the deacon, the priest or the bishop to be effective in his ministry, it is crucial for the people of God to be able to recognize a zeal to serve others,” said Archbishop Naumann. “The ordained minister’s eagerness to sacrifice personally is contagious, inspiring those whom he is serving to imitate his generosity.”

The archbishop spoke of the spousal nature of his vocation as a celibate ordained minister. He said this commitment to celibacy and other commitments, including praying the liturgy of the daily hours, was not primarily for his own edification but for the good of the church.

Archbishop Naumann urged Deacon Wallisch to anchor his life in a personal relationship with Christ, and look to St. Paul as an example.

“I encourage you to embrace Paul as a patron and model for your ministry,” said the archbishop. “As you are all well aware, the direction of Paul’s life was completely changed by his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul was not won over by the logical arguments, persuasive rhetoric or even the love of the early Christians for one another. Paul was transformed by an encounter with Jesus.”

Deacon Wallisch was vested by Deacons Matthew Schiffelbein and Patrick Sullivan, receiving the stole and dalmatic.

Deacon Wallisch entered the University of St. Mary by the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, near Chicago, in the fall of 2005. He has completed his third year in theology. He will continue his studies and will be ordained to the priesthood on May 29, 2010, at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Kansas City, Kan.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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