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Ordination of New Deacons Viewed as ‘Gift’ of Spirit
Chris Sheridan
CELEBRATE- The elect line up for the Archbishop’s laying on of hands during ordination rite.

The 12 men Archbishop Dolan ordained as permanent deacons on June 11 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral undoubtedly knew the value of what they were about to receive. But the archbishop emphasized it was not a reward to be stored away as a precious heirloom, but rather “a gift” to be put to use in the daily service of God’s people.

“You realize, I trust, dear 12, that this ordination is not some kind of merit badge, this is not a graduation ceremony. It’s not a reward for years of preparation, this is not just another line on your curriculum vitae,” Archbishop Dolan told them moments after accepting the recommendation of Father Andrew King, dean of students at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, speaking on behalf of the Church, that they be ordained.

“This is a gift of the Holy Spirit and I propose that we view your vocation as a deacon of the Church precisely as a continuation of the Pentecost, the feast we celebrate tomorrow,” the archbishop said. “Through you my dear brothers, Jesus will continue to unleash the Holy Spirit through all his Church.” If the enormity and responsibility of that seemed overwhelming, he told them not to fear.

“Now that should cause you a little trepidation,” he continued. “I presume you know better than anybody else that you are as klutzy, as sinful as untrustworthy as imperfect as those Apostles at the first Pentecost. If you don’t realize that, just ask your wives. But when all is said and done, this isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus who can accomplish more in, through and even in spite of you than you can ever imagine. So we pray, come Holy Spirit…Be confident that the Holy Spirit will indeed work though you and transform you.”

The 12 new deacons are: Deacon Carlos Campoverde, Assumption parish, Peekskill; Deacon John M. Cunnigham, St. John the Baptist parish, Piermont; Deacon Thomas Cusick, Immaculate Heart of Mary parish, Scarsdale; Deacon Timothy J. Dean, Sacred Heart parish, Esopus; Deacon Jose Hernandez, St. Cecilia’s parish, Manhattan; Deacon Francis Idehen, Most Precious Blood parish, Walden; Deacon Richard Juliano, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish, Shrub Oak; Deacon Dale Konas, St. Lawrence O’Toole parish, Brewster; Deacon Paul Kosinski, St. Mary’s parish, Rosebank, Staten Island; Deacon George Sica, St. Joseph’s parish, Croton Falls; Deacon Robert Pang, St. John the Baptist parish, Piermont; and Deacon Patrick So, St. Teresa’s parish, Manhattan.

Following the homily each of the elect knelt before the archbishop and promised “respect and obedience” to him and his successors. As a group the men then prostrated themselves before the altar in a sign of service as the congregation prayed. Following the laying on of hands signifying ordination the deacons were vested with their stole and dalmatic, which symbolizes Christ on the cross.

More than 50 deacons processed and assisted at the Mass. Cardinal Egan also presided at the Mass, which was attended by hundreds of family members and friends. Archbishop Dolan thanked the wives for allowing their husbands “to love another woman, namely, our Holy Mother Church.”

Deacon Idehen, retired from St. Barnabas Hospital where he was chief radiation therapist, acknowledged the enormity of the task he has taken on but he chose to dwell on the gift he had just received. “I’m really overwhelmed,” he told CNY. “I cannot thank God enough for this blessing. It is a mighty blessing! I haven’t really thought about the work yet. It is going to be a lot of work, I understand and I’m prepared to do it.”

His wife Violet shared his joy and also understood the commitment. “To whom much is given, much more is expected,” she said. “The Lord chose my husband. I give him my full support.”

Deacon Dale Konas, a medical equipment sales representative, also said he was ready for what lay ahead. “It was surreal but it was a most beautiful experience,” he said of the ordination ceremony. “I just give thanks to God for calling me and sustaining me through my period of formation. It would appear to be a lot of work but I’m so privileged to be called.”


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