TRUMBULL—On Saturday, June 15, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano will ordain six men as permanent deacons for the Diocese of Bridgeport. The Ordination Mass will be celebrated at 11 am at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull.
Joseph Cann recalls, “I felt a slow growth in spirituality. There was something more that God was asking of me.” He went home one Sunday and asked his wife, Fran and his children Meagan, the late Joseph Jr. and Patrick about becoming a deacon. There was a unanimous consensus that it was the right thing to answer God’s call. As a member of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys in Brookfield, he discussed it with the clergy there, who all supported him and he moved to apply. Cann describes the decision as pure joy in his heart and has felt his spiritual growth continue moving him toward being a deacon. Born and raised in Brooklyn N.Y., Cann worked as a janitor for the NYC Board of Education. Cann believes all of his experiences were part of God’s calling and preparing him for his role of service to others as a deacon.
Stephen Hodson grew up in Stratford and attended Holy Name of Jesus School, Stratford High School and Uconn. He and his wife Susan have lived in the Nichols section of Trumbull since 1984. They have four children: Daniel, Cassie, Kayleigh, Bella and are blessed with one granddaughter, Valentina Rose. A parishioner at St. Theresa’s Parish in Trumbull, Steve has been graced to have been a member of the Sons of St. Joseph Men’s prayer group and the Knights of Columbus. “God has let me share my love for spiritual music, which is prayer, by allowing me to be a music minister beginning at Holy Name and then leading me to Our Lady of Peace, St. Gabriel and now at St. Joseph’s Manor,” shares Hodson. Hodson is grateful for being able to attend St. Joseph’s Seminary College in Yonkers where he just attained a master’s degree in theology as a portion of his diaconate studies. “I am so thankful to God for working with me over the course of my life. I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, holy priests, and God’s songs in my heart,” says Hodson.
Eric Keener was confirmed and received into the Church at the Easter Vigil in 2010. A resident of Bethel, he attends St. Mary Parish along with his wife Kathleen and children Audrey and Jonathan. “I became more and more involved in my parish and began to sense that the Holy Spirit was calling me to serve God and his people in a permanent and consecrated way,” shares Keener. “While my relationship with God had always been important to me and I knew a bit about the permanent diaconate, it was really the proactive encouragement of my pastor, Father Corey Piccinino that led Kathy and me to discern whether I was being called to this ordained ministry.” Keener expresses that he and his wife have been blessed with more graces than they could have possibly imagined along the journey of formation and they look forward to whatever God has planned for them as they approach ordination and beyond.
Joseph Klimaszewski attends St. Lawrence in Shelton, where he resides with his wife Laura and daughters Alexis and Nicole. Since his days at St. Michael the Archangel in Bridgeport, where he received his sacraments and attended grammar school, Klimaszewski has always been drawn to the altar and has had a desire to serve Christ and His Church. “The Holy Spirit is opening a new door for me to grow in prayer and service,” shares Klimaszewski on his calling to serve by becoming a deacon.
Richard Lawlor works for the Town of Ridgfield as a Fire Captain and when not working at the firehouse, he works for his family business, R.E. Lawlor Graphics & Printing, located in downtown Bethel, where he is a resident along with his wife Christine of almost 25 years, daughter Michaela and son Ricky. “I believe I was called to be a deacon a very long time ago,” says Lawlor. “When I look back at my life journey I can’t help but see the gentle, guiding hand of God, leading me along the way. I have a beautiful life and am very happy to soon be serving our Lord and His Church as a deacon.” He and his family attend St. Mary Parish in Bethel. He enjoys doing yard work and spending time on the lake with family and friends. After ordination, he looks forward to spending the summer with his family as he prepares for an active ministry of bringing God’s love and mercy to many.
Michael Ronan is a parishioner of St. Rose of Lima in Newtown. Ronan grew up in Eastchester and Ridgefield and later moved to Newtown. A lawyer by training, he is the executive director of Kevin’s Community Center, a nonprofit medical clinic for adults. He is also in charge of administration and human resources at Jericho Partnership, a wide-ranging Christian nonprofit ministry in Danbury that focuses on at-risk youth and adults and the homeless. Michael and wife Kathy are parents of three adult children, from 25 to 35. When asked about the future, Ronan says, “I’m looking forward to whatever God has in store for me. I can’t predict what that is, but I am just trying to be a good follower.”
For the six men, their ordination will mark the culmination of nearly five years of study and formation that included driving to St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers after work two nights a week for classes toward a master’s in theology, in addition to staying overnight once a month in Bridgeport on Friday and all day Saturday for supplemental courses in homiletics, liturgical practicum and spirituality.
By Elizabeth Clyons