BRIDGEPORT — Bishop Frank J. Caggiano ordained two men as transitional deacons on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at St. Augustine Cathedral, urging them to fulfill their ministry of service by following Our Lady’s example during these extraordinary times.
“I know you are both men of great integrity, of great faith, of great prayer, of great honesty and of great transparency, and I am delighted to be able to ordain you to be deacons and one day priests of Jesus Christ” he told Guy Dormevil and Brendan Blawie.
Ordination as a transitional deacon is the last step before ordination to the priesthood, which typically occurs a year later after additional pastoral, liturgical and educational preparation.
Attendance at the ordination on June 20 was limited to family members and guests because of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“What a wonderful day to gather on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Bishop Caggiano said. “She has much to teach us. Your lives could not be more different, and yet they were foreordained by the Lord, for in your triumphs and sufferings, in your struggles and in the ordinary routine of your lives, you have been molded like a sacred piece of clay in the hands of the great Master so that you could — both by the gifts he has given you and by the willingness you have to open your heart to his grace — serve him as his deacon.”
Bishop Caggiano said the ministry of the diaconate was foreordained by Christ through the Apostles “so there would be those among us who would be at ready service to the needs of the community and the needs of the world.”
However, he said the ministry is more than simply an ordination “to do something” but represents “a Living Sacrament of Service, which is far more than the things ‘you do,’ because you are called ‘to be’ as well as ‘to do.’”
He told the candidates, “From this moment on, everywhere you go, every word you utter, every opportunity to serve actively or to help others will be your gift to God’s people. You are and will forever be a Sacrament of Service, and so you enter into a great mystery, a mystery you could not live on your own, and for that reason, through the laying on of the hands and the invocation of the power of the Holy Spirit, you will have an abiding in the indwelling presence of God, who will allow you to do and be what you could not do or be on your own.”
The service they are called to is threefold — Service to the Word, Service to the Altar and Service in Charity, he said, adding that they were blessed to be ordained on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary because “She is a great teacher who will help you live that threefold service well, as only a mother can do.”
He recalled Our Lady’s last recorded words in Scripture at the Wedding Feast at Cana, when she told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
“The power of a preacher,” Bishop Caggiano said, “is to remind all God’s children that the only path to trust and joy and the only road to eternal life is to follow the words of the Master. To do what he tells us, what he has revealed to us in season and out of season, whether we like it or not, whether it is easy or not….I ask you to always preach courageously, to preach fearlessly, to preach with courage and compassion and mercy, mindful of the struggles that you and I and all God’s children face day in and day out. Do not fail on every occasion to tell those you have the privilege to preach to and with to ‘do whatever he tells you.’”
Photos by Amy Mortensen
Regarding, Service to the Altar, Bishop Caggiano said that Our Lady’s faithfulness allowed her to remain at Calvary when others fled. There, the sword of sorrow pierced her Immaculate Heart.
“You will come and serve not simply to aid in worship,” he told the candidates, but so you can bring your heart to it and allow it to pierce you so that the hopes and tears and sufferings and challenges of all God’s children that you and I have the privilege to serve will be presented at the altar through you, where they find healing and meaning and hope.”
He urged them to remember the example of the Blessed Mother because she will teach the profound meaning of Service in Charity, just as she did to the Apostles in the Upper Room when the Holy Spirit came upon them.
“Why was she there?” he asked. “She was there because like any good mother, she was accompanying the friends of her son. She was there as the consoler, as the encourager, and throughout the Early Church, they came to her because she was the pillar of strength. They laughed with her, cried with her, danced with her and went on mission with her. She understood that charity is not simply giving to those who have not, but it is an accompaniment of life so that they may be encouraged, supported, lifted, freed, healed and never left alone.”
“We gather in extraordinary times,” he said. “If we were not people of faith, how could we endure the challenges we are facing because they are many and they are grave and they demand action of us. And yet it is precisely because these times are challenging that I am saying to you, Brendan, and to you, Guy, do not be afraid. Have hope and have joy because the Lord has called you, and the Lord will empower you. The Lord will strengthen you with whatever grace you need in every moment. He will never ask you to do what you cannot do, so do not allow the challenges around us to discourage you. Allow this day to be the first day of a joyful life of ministry. Remember, there will be many occasions when you will have no answer to give, when there will be no clear path, but the fact you are there. And the Lord will do what you cannot do yourself.”
When Bishop Caggiano concluded his homily, he examined the candidates, who knelt before him and declared publicly their intentions to undertake the office to assist the bishop and priests and serve the people of God.
Then, as they lay prostrate, the Litany of the Saints was prayed on their behalf, supplicating God for the grace to serve him and the Church. Later, extending his hands over each candidate, the bishop recited the prayer of ordination and they were vested with a stole and dalmatic. Bishop Caggiano presented them the Gospels and said, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”
The ordination was followed by photos and a gathering of family and friends who congratulated the newly ordained men on the lawn outside the Cathedral.
Deacon Dormevil said he was blessed to be taking a step closer toward fulfilling a dream of his father Gustave to have a son who was a priest. He was certain his late wife of 29 years, Magalie Adolphe, who died in 2015, was looking down and proud of him for pursuing the vocation to which God called him. His children Guyvensky and Guylendy attended the ordination with family members and friends from the Haitian community.
He was born in Haiti to Gustave Dormévil and Angélie Louis Charles, where he was raised with his 15 siblings. In 1988, he left his job as immigration inspector to take refuge in the United States, where he worked as a nursing aide and produce manager. He attended college and received a certificate of English as a Second Language and an associate degree in business administration.
On August 3, 2016, Bishop Caggiano approved his application to enter St. John Fisher Seminary, where he began pre-theology studies. A year later, he entered Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass., where he will continue his fourth year of theological studies in the fall.
He has been active in his parish and on a diocesan and national level. At his parish, he was leader of the liturgical committee, leader of the Haitian Charismatic Prayer Group, Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist, member of the parish council, a member of the finance board and a parish trustee.
In October 2009, he received the Saint Augustine Medal of Service from the Diocese of Bridgeport, while he was serving as a diocesan pastoral council member. In 2014, at the fourth diocesan synod, he served as delegate of the Haitian Community and St. Joseph Parish. Currently, he is one of the five members of the Haitian National Charismatic Committee based in New York.
“After my wife’s death, my plan was to fulfill the dream of becoming a Permanent Deacon,” he said. “However, the Lord had something far better planned for me. He re-kindled the priesthood call he made to me as a young adult so I prayerfully said yes to the call.”
Deacon Blawie was born and raised in Newtown and received all his Sacraments at St. Rose of Lima Parish. He is the middle of three children, with an older brother, Jack, and a younger sister, Marian. His parents, Karen and John Blawie, raised him in the faith, although he admits to not thinking much about being a priest as a boy.
“It was in high school that I began to actually learn about and love our faith,” he said.
He enrolled in the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech in the Marine Corps ROTC program, before transferring to Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he earned his degree in accounting.
While at Franciscan, he pursued a commission with the Marine Corps, graduating from Officer’s Candidate School in Quantico, Va. in 2012. This fulfilled a dream he had of being a Marine officer, but in the end, it was clear to him that it may have been his plan, but not the Lord’s.
Instead of commissioning as a 2nd Lieutenant, he entered St. John Fisher Seminary and completed two years of pre-theological studies before being sent to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he spent three years. In 2019, he received his theology degree, magna cum laude, from the Pontifical Gregorian University and has been on pastoral assignment at St. Thomas More Parish in Darien for the past year.
“I look forward to returning to Rome in the fall, where I will begin my studies for a Licentiate in Sacred Theology,” he said. “Life with Christ is always an adventure, and these past six years of formation for the priesthood for the Diocese of Bridgeport have been filled with joy and peace.”
“Approaching diaconate ordination has been a wonderful blessing,” he said. “It is something for which I have prepared and anticipated all these years of formation….Seminary formation is never the young man forming himself, but allowing the Lord to form him, so as to be a priest after his own Sacred Heart. Conforming our lives to the Will of God allows us to trust in his providence, and I can reflect back with much joy on all the twists and turns of the road of my life that have led me to this point of approaching his altar to receive Holy Orders. Being ordained during a pandemic was never how I pictured it, but I have learned that my plans are often flawed. I continue to trust in his will and his love, and pray that will lead me toward a worthy life of ministry.”