“When you serve, find that joy in serving the Lord!”
“What an Easter gift!” exclaimed Bishop Ryan at the beginning of the Mass of Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate of five men: Estanislao Kogure Benavente, Jeffrey Melvin Tenorio Camacho, Rosiky Bernadino Flores Camacho, Thomas Schweiger and Antonio Yarobwemal.
On a bright Saturday morning in the Octave of Easter, Mt. Carmel Cathedral was packed with the family and friends of the deacon candidates as well as many of the faithful who came to witness this rare event in the life of the diocese. This is the first batch of permanent deacon candidates since the time of Deacon Richard Shewman and others.
Bishop Ryan begun his homily thanking God for his gifts. “Today God blesses us with the gift of five permanent deacons for our local church.” He then emphasized the essential ministry of the diaconate which is that of proclaiming the Gospel.
Making reference to the Gospel of the day that says: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature!” the bishop reiterate that while this mandate is a task to all the baptized, this words has a much deeper significance to the five candidates to the order of deacons. Addressing the candidates, he said: “the five of you will commit yourselves to the ministry of proclaiming the Good News.” He then invited them to further reflect on the words of the Rite of Ordination when the Book of the Gospel is handed on to them, which says: “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you preach.”
With their ordination, these men will assist the bishop and the priests in the ministry of the Word of God, the ministry of the altar and of charity, putting themselves at the service of the Church. They will also lead the community in public prayer and they can also administer the Sacrament of Baptism. Deacons can also bless and assist marriages for weddings outside of Mass. They can bring viaticum to the dying and even conduct funeral rites outside of Mass.
After outlining their task, Bishop Ryan advised them to serve the people with love and with joy. “When you serve, find that joy in serving the Lord”, he said. “We are all called to serve. We are all been given gifts to use for service following the example of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.”
The Diaconal Ordination is the fruit of what was started four years ago when the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa launched the Lay Ministry Program coordinated by Fr. Ken Hezel, thanks to the assistance of Catholic Extension. That program eventually evolved into the diaconal program. Along with Fr. Ken, other priests like Fr. James Balajadia and Fr. Ike Ayuyu and Sr. MaryAnn Hartmann, MMB also assisted in the formation of the permanent deacons.
Bishop Ryan did not fail to acknowledge and to thank the wives and the families of the candidates. “This journey would not have been possible without the support of their loving wives and family.” He reminded the families of the candidates that when their husbands started this program four years ago, there were changes in their family dynamics, in their schedule, and in their family time. “Beginning today, there will be more changes”, he said.
Bishop Ryan also reminded the wives that “by supporting your husbands in their work for the church, you are supporting the church, our diocese our community.”
The priests of the diocese were also present to witness the ordination which essentially make these men clerics and therefore close collaborators of the priests in their pastoral work. At the end of the Mass, Bishop Ryan announced the respective parish assignments of the new deacons to the excitement of everyone.
Deacon Estanislao Kogure Benavente is assigned to St. Jude, Deacon Jeffrey Melvin Tenorio Camacho is assigned to Mt. Carmel Cathedral, Deacon Rosiky Bernadino Flores Camacho is assigned to Santa Soledad in Kagman, Deacon Thomas Schweiger will be serving in Santa Remedios Parish in Tanapag and Deacon Antonio Yarobwemal will be assigned in San Antonio Parish.