Two transitional deacons are one step closer to priesthood
BOCA RATON | It was a joyous occasion April 17, 2021, at St. Joan of Arc Parish in Boca Raton for the ordination Mass for two seminarians as transitional deacons.
The choir sang with splendor as Bishop William A. Wack, CSC, of Pensacola-Tallahassee, presided at the Mass. Nine of 12 seminarians from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach were ordained transitional deacons. In addition, three St. Vincent de Paul seminarians from the Archdiocese of Miami were previously ordained to the order of the diaconate April 11, 2021, by the Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami.
This Mass was livestreamed, and the congregants wore masks and practiced social distancing during the event.
Following the Gospel, the rite of ordination began with the presentation of the nine ordinandi: Donald Joseph Amodeo II and Zachary Edward Brasseur of the Diocese of St. Petersburg; Zackary Buck Gray, Kyle James McClure and Joseph Thuan Minh Tran of the Diocese of Orlando; Daniel Brendan Donohue and Armando Leon-Oliva of the Diocese of Palm Beach; and José Alberto Grullón Ogando and David Albert Portorreal of the Diocese of Venice.
Testimony was given to their readiness for diaconate ordination. In the name of the Church, a request is made to the bishop to ordain the candidate. Bishop Wack began the election of candidates.
“Relying on the help of the Lord God and our savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the order of the diaconate,” the bishop said. All answered, “Thanks be to God,” with applause of consent by the people.
“In your lives, Zachary, Donald, Kyle, Joseph, Daniel, Zachary, Armando, José and David, we see the Scriptures that were just proclaimed being fulfilled for you and for us all. Jesus Christ is revealed in you and through you,” the bishop said in his homily. “Jesus Christ, the word made flesh, is present to us in word and sacrament. Now, he calls you to be bearers of the word and servants of the Gospel.”
Deacons Donohue and Leon-Oliva have the same home parish — Our Lady of Lourdes in Boca Raton. Both men hope to be ordained to the priesthood May 8, 2022.
Father Daniel Daza-Jaller, director of Vocations and Seminarians of the Diocese of Palm Beach, expressed his joy.
“The diaconate ordination for these men is not just a step to the priesthood. Rather, it is the first experience of being configured to Jesus Christ, the one who came to serve and not to be served,” Father Daza-Jaller said, referring to Matthew 20:28. “With God’s grace, next year they will be configured to Jesus Christ, the head and shepherd of the Church.”
Deacon Donohue expressed his gratitude for the “unfathomable mercy of God” for calling him to the priesthood for allowing him “after all these years, to serve His people in the Diocese of Palm Beach.”
Deacon Leon-Oliva gave thanks to God for the “example of the many good priests that made an impact in my vocation and calling to the priesthood. They taught me to be faithful to God, both by their words and their actions.”
The term deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos which means “servant” or “minister.” Within the diaconate, there are transitional and permanent deacons. A permanent deacon may marry. A transitional deacon takes a vow of celibacy and is in transition to the priesthood following their diaconate ordination. These men are assigned to parishes where they will perform their ministry work in preparation of becoming priests in the following year. Their duties include preaching, performing baptisms, witnessing marriages and presiding over wakes and funerals, comforting the sick.
Father Llane Briese, director of Liturgy and associate professor at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, spoke about his seminarian students.
“These men who are being ordained now, most of them arrived here in the fall of 2017, as new seminarians, and that was my first tour as faculty,” he said. “So, I now have had the chance to teach most of them as many as four times. It is a blessing to see them grow in their new roles. They are good men who are giving their lives according to the Church. They are a joyful group. They make me feel old.”
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary is located in Boynton Beach, Florida. It is an ATS-accredited school. It currently has a student population of over 110 seminarians. Since its foundation in 1963, it has formed more than 600 priests who have gone on to serve in parishes across the state, the southeast, and parts of the Caribbean. The seminary is one of only two bilingual seminaries in the United States with courses taught in English and Spanish. For more info on the seminary and the courses of study, call 561-732-4424.