Three New Permanent Deacons welcomed

BRIDGEPORT—Family, friends, and community gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral around Joseph Huong, Joseph Koletar, and David Rivera as they celebrated their Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate Saturday, June 9th at 11:00am. Bishop Frank J. Caggiano was the celebrant of the Mass, along with principal concelebrants Monsignor Thomas W. Powers, Vicar General; Monsignor Dariusz Zielonka, Judicial Vicar; Father Joseph A. Marcello, Vicar for Clergy; Father Michael P. Novajosky, Coordinator of Diaconate Formation; and the Deans of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

The Deacons of the Mass were Deacon Anthony P. Cassaneto and Deacon Gerald M. Lambert, Coordinator of Diaconate Continuing Formation. The Master of Ceremonies was Father Francisco Gomez-Franco, aided by the Seminarians of the Diocese of Bridgeport and Servers of the Cathedral Parish.

Music was provided by Dr. Samuel A. Schmitt, Cathedral Director of Sacred Music and Organist, along with the Ensemble “Tolle et Lege.”

The Gospel of Matthew reflected the occasion celebrating such an important ministry, as it proclaimed, “The harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Matthew 9: 35-38).

The candidates received a standing ovation from all gathered after coming forward to testify to their worthiness of being ordained to the Order of the Diaconate.

During his homily, Bishop Caggiano addressed the candidates, “[The Holy Spirit] will set you apart and configure you to Christ the servant.” Bishop explained, “Christ has chosen you for this ministry so that you might be configured to receive this additional indwelling of the Spirit.”

Bishop Caggiano gave the candidates encouragement for their ministry as he said, “Everything you do from this day forward will be an invitation to holiness for those around you…to connect God’s people to the Sacrifice of Christ.”

Bishop Caggiano explained that the meaning of charity, of love, is “the gift of oneself to another” and that, in their ministry, the candidates would “receive a hundredfold of that love in return.” “You, my brothers will be teaching the world the saving message of that love in Christ,” Bishop said.

Photos by Amy Mortensen

In light of the feast days of both the Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday, June 8th) and The Immaculate Heart of Mary (Saturday, June 9th), Bishop explained the need for the faithful to understand what the Lord is asking of us. “Brothers, never be afraid to have your heart wounded, broken in love…” as both Our Lord and Our Mother’s were, “for when it is broken then grace finds a way to flow to the hearts around you that have already been broken.” Bishop addressed the candidates, “allow the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to have your heart given over in love.” Bishop Caggiano then thanked the candidates for saying yes to this vocation in service of the Church.

As each candidate came forward to declare their resolve in accepting the duties and responsibilities of the diaconate, they knelt before the Bishop and promised respect and obedience to him and his successors. The elect then prostrated themselves as the congregation sang the Litany of the Saints. One by one, each candidate knelt before the Bishop as he laid his hands on them. After the prayer of ordination, the newly ordained stood and were vested with a diaconal stole and dalmatic. Once vested as Deacons, the newly ordained knelt before the Bishop as he placed the Book of the Gospels in their hands, saying, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

Following, Bishop gave each of the newly ordained the fraternal kiss. All the Deacons present processed forward to do likewise and congratulate their newly ordained brothers.

In his closing remarks, Bishop Caggiano thanked the newly ordained, as well as their wives, children, and mentors who helped them along their journey, saying, “Pray for these, my brothers…we must show the world to Jesus Christ; and these three, our new deacons and brothers, will help us every step of the way.”