Bishop Loverde ordains 11 new deacons

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Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde ordained 11 men to the permanent diaconate Jan. 17 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More.

The 11 new deacons are: Robert E. Benyo, Robert R. Gillispie, Rafael A. Goldsmith, Helio A. Gomez, Thomas H. McQuillan, Michael J. Mochel, Patrick A. Ouellette, Antonio J. Remedios, Atanacio Sandoval, James R. Van de Voorde and Michael A. Waters.

Four of the new deacons were born outside the United States. Deacons Sandoval and Gomez were born in El Salvador, Deacon Remedios was born in Hong Kong and Deacon Van de Voorde was born in Australia.

A standing-room only crowd of family and friends packed the cathedral for the ceremony. Deacon Albert A. Anderson Jr. served as deacon of the call, while Deacon John A. Hubbarth was deacon of the word.

"Once again, this diocesan church of Arlington rejoices and gives thanks," Bishop Loverde said. "We rejoice in the ordination of 11 more permanent deacons who are so eager and willing to assist the diocesan bishop and his priests in the pastoral ministry of teaching, sanctifying and shepherding.

The new deacons will help the bishop and his priests as ministers of the Word, of the altar and of charity. As ministers of the altar, they will proclaim the Gospel, prepare the sacrifice and give the Lord's Body and Blood to the community of believers.

Bishop Loverde instructed the new deacons to do the will of God from the heart. He said the newly ordained are now part of the "Christian revolution of self-emptying service to others."

He told them to be men "of good reputation, above reproach among God and man. "I commend you to Christ, the Divine Healer. Keep your hearts fixed on Him," the bishop said.

"Dear brothers, I welcome you with all my heart and I look forward to serving God's people with you at my side," he said.

The bishop thanked all those who served as "God's instruments" in helping these men discern God's call in their lives. He was especially grateful to all of the teachers and mentors "who've been supportive and encouraging to these men as they took the road less traveled by."

He recognized in particular Father Thomas P. Ferguson, diocesan director of diaconate formation, Father Frank J. Ready, coordinator of spiritual formation, and Father Paul F. de Ladurantaye, coordinator of academic studies.

The bishop thanked the wives of the new deacons "because they have accompanied their husbands by their prayers, encouragement and presence."

The joy and excitement of family members and friends extended well past the liturgy.

"It is so beautiful," said Father Joseph Goldsmith, a priest of the Richmond Diocese and the son of Newly ordained Deacon Goldsmith. "It's a really exciting moment and a very humbling moment. Who deserves such a blessing? This is what God does. He makes people beautiful. He makes families beautiful."

Father Goldsmith and Deacon Goldsmith celebrated Mass together Jan. 18 at All Saints Church in Manassas.

Fran Van de Voorde, the wife of Deacon Van de Voorde, said her husband's ordination "is a beautiful blessing and an opportunity to continue to do God's will."

She said during the ordination ceremony that she had "a big swelling of my heart that the Holy Spirit is here."

"The greatest emotion I felt was committing my life to Christ, giving myself 100 percent completely to Him," said Deacon Gillispie.

"As the bishop laid his hands on my head, I felt that God was installing in me a new spirit - a spirit of servanthood - to give to my brothers and sisters in Christ what He wanted to give through me," he said.

Joseph Gillispie, the oldest son of Deacon Gillispie, said as he watched the bishop ordain his father he felt happiness in the fact that "he finally was able to accomplish his dream and become a deacon and serve God the way he wants to."

Find out more

To learn more about the diaconal formation program, contact Fr. Ferguson at 703/841-2563.

Read more about the new deacons here.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015