Bishop Kevin Vann to Ordain 17 Men as Deacons for the Diocese of Orange on Oct. 23

Garden Grove, Calif., (Oct. 21, 2021) – After five years of preparation, 13 men will be ordained by Bishop Kevin Vann as deacons in the Catholic Church at 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 23 in Christ Cathedral. This is the sec-ond diaconate class to be ordained inside the Christ Cathedral.

Upon their ordination at the invitation-only event, the men will join the 141 existing deacons serving in parishes throughout the Diocese of Orange. In addition to Bishop Vann, attending the ceremony will be Auxiliary Bishops Timothy Brown and Bishop Emeritus Tod Brown; the existing diocesan deacons and their wives; and many of the pastors in whose parishes the men will serve.

Their preparation involves academic classes in subjects like canon law and church history, spiritual preparation in prayer and meditation, and pastoral ser-vice in hospitals, jails, and the community.

This will be the last class under the direction of Deacon Frank Chavez, the dioc-esan director of the Office of the Diaconate, who will be retiring at the end of this year after 22 years at the helm.

According to Chavez, the ordination ceremony will include the laying on of hands, which is deeply rooted in the Catholic faith and tradition; a series of sol-emn vows the men make, including promises to obey and respect the Bishop; and the Litany of Saints. “During the Litany of Saints, the men will lie prostrate on the floor of the cathedral as a sign of their humility as the whole church sings and asks for the intercession of numerous saints,” Chavez says.

Many people including Catholics know little about the lives, training, and calling of deacons, he notes. “Many people see them only serving at Mass, but that’s just part of who we are. We are out in the community as our call is to serve. At Mass, the deacon is the one who sends the community out to serve the world. Many times, he uses the dismissal words, “Go in peace glorifying the Lord with your life.”

The diaconate has grown rapidly in the United States and more than 17,000 deacons now serve nationwide. Chavez says. He believes that Catholic deacons “bring the grace of the altar to the streets and bring the needs of the streets to the altar.”

The Order of Deacon was instituted by the apostles. Seven men were initially chosen and “hands were laid on them” so that they could carry on in the name of the apostles the ministry to widows in need. The ministry assigned to deacons grew to include others in need, administration of temporal affairs of the Church, preaching, and performing certain sacramental ministries.

After several hundred years, the Order of Deacon disappeared in the Western Church. It was restored as a permanent, public ministry in the Roman Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council and the restoration of the permanent di-aconate in the U.S. was authorized in 1968.

Chavez, who was ordained in 1984, is married to his wife Mary; they have two children and live in Yorba Linda. As a deacon he has been able to baptize all five of his grandchildren. In retirement, Chavez will enjoy the title of Director Emeritus and main some involvement with the process.

“In my experience, the most profound thing is that we as deacons are privileged to enter people’s lives in very intimate ways at profound times in their lives,” he says, including baptizing their children, burying their grandparents, witnessing vows at their marriages.”

Candidates for the diaconate must be active church members. If married, their marriages must be stable, and they must have good work histories. They must be between 35 and 60 years old before undergoing the formation process and demonstrate active lives of service, apostolic involvement, and leadership in the community. They must demonstrate the potential to develop ministerial skills, including relating well to people and speaking well.

The Class of 2021 Diocese of Orange Diaconate candidates include:

  • Castro Juan Carlos, St. Edward the Confessor, Dana Point
  • Manuel Espitia, Our Lady of the Pilar, Santa Ana
  • Roberto Hernandez, St. Boniface, Anaheim
  • Jeffrey Kosidowski, San Francisco Solano, Rancho Santa Margarita
  • Carlos Lozada, St. Anthony Claret, Anaheim
  • Alexander Menez, St. John Neumann, Irvine
  • Darrell Miller, St. Juliana Falconieri, Fullerton
  • Bernardo Ocampo, St. Thomas More, Irvine
  • Agustin Olivares, Our Lady of the Pilar, Santa Ana
  • Tao Phan, Our Lady of La Vang, Santa Ana
  • Saenz Thomas, St. Juliana Falconieri, Fullerton
  • Eric Summerfield, Santa Clara de Asis, Yorba Linda
  • Robert Ward, St. Joachim, Costa Mesa

About the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange

With 1.3 million Catholics, 57 parishes, 5 Catholic centers, and 41 schools, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange is one of the largest and most diverse faith communities in the United States. The Diocese empowers Catholics across Orange County to have an active life of faith that is integrated and woven into the fabric of their daily lives through the community and sacramental life of the Church. Under the leadership of Bishop Kevin Vann, the Diocese works to establish and support dy-namic, vibrant parishes and schools welcoming all to live the Gospel with faith, joy, charity and unity. Christ Cathedral, the spiritual home of the Diocese, was dedicated in July 2019.

Learn more about the Diocese of Orange at https://www.rcbo.org.

MEDIA PASS REQUIRED

If photographing or covering this event, please email tkincaid@rcbo.org for a media pass.

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