Archbishop Bernard Hebda ordained seven new permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on Saturday at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
Until July 2022, the men will be assigned to their home parish for a post-ordination internship during which they’ll complete their formation. They’ll also begin to exercise the deacon’s three-fold ministry of sharing God’s word, taking care of and distributing the Eucharist, and charity practiced chiefly through the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Single or widowed deacons take a vow of celibacy the same way priests do, but the majority of deacons are married. Most have full-time jobs outside of their 5-10 hours a week serving in either their parish or other Catholic ministry. Similar to the priesthood, the local bishop determines diaconate assignments.
“This group of new deacons brings a variety of backgrounds and life experience to our local Church,” said Deacon Joe Michalak, director of The Saint Paul Seminary Institute for Diaconate Formation. “The diaconate serves as the often-unseen ‘Delta Force’ of the Church, sacramentally living out Christ’s presence everywhere in the world beyond the parish. This group of men will be no exception.”
The class features a pair of Latin-American immigrants in Adelmo Gracia (Colombia) and Jose Luis Rodriguez (El Salvador), as well as an India native in Victor Susai. The members of this year’s class, including their wives (if applicable) and home parish:
Jose Luis Rodriguez (Marlene), Sts. Cyril and St. Methodias
Philip Grisez, Our Lady of Grace
Adelmo Gracia (Yadira), Church of the Assumption (Richfield)
Victor Susai (Soruba), Pax Christi Catholic Community
Michael Braun (Deborah), Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Michael Lane, Holy Spirit
Michael Engel (Stacy), St. Michael Catholic Church
Before ordination, permanent deacons spend at least five years in formation. Similar to priestly preparation, diaconate formation focuses on the four dimensions of human, intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation. The program is structured according to the norms of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States (US Bishops, 2004), the Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons, and the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons (Congregation for Catholic Education and Congregation for the Clergy, 1998).
The Institute for Diaconate Formation also collaborates with the seminary’s Institute for Ongoing Clergy Formation to provide deacons with spiritual and practical resources to aid their ministry after ordination.