Friday, June 22, 2007

A friend has been ordained a Deacon...

Last weekend, my friend John Barry (from my Wednesday morning men's bible study group) was officially ordained a deacon of the Catholic Church. He and another member of my parish (Fernando Flores) were two of 60 men who went through the mass/ceremony which was held at the Santa Barbara City College football field with Cardinal Mahony presiding.

This high of a number is unprecedented because they normally only ordain about five to eight deacons per year in this region. Five years ago, they decided to try something different for the Santa Barbara region of the archdiocese. They removed two restrictions: 1) they no longer required the wives of the candidates to attend all of the classes over the 4-5 years of study, and 2) they no longer required that all candidates be bilingual. The immediate result was a nearly 10-fold increase in ordinations in this first class under the new rules. In contrast, the L.A.-area region had only seven new deacons this year, operating under the old regulations. Card. Mahony stated that he would like to see the new regs eventually expanded to cover the entire archdiocese.

It was a gorgeous day, beginning with the typical June-gloom overcast weather that eventually gave way to the warm sun, with the Pacific Ocean in the background. Quite a significant number of parishioners and family members attended, as did a good number of the men from my bible study group. Afterwards, we went back to John and his wife's house for a nice, relaxing after-party. Needlessly to say, we are all proud of John and Fernando as it has been a long road of study, prayer, and sacrifice for these men to take on this new responsibility.

Our prayers remain with these two fine and upstanding Catholic men as they begin their walk down this consecrated life of service.

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