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Bishop Burbidge ordains new transitional deacon Guillermo Gonzalez

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge ordained Guillermo Gonzalez a transitional deacon at his home parish, St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax, Jan. 26. The church was filled with dozens of his fellow seminarians, deacons, priests, friends, family and St. Leo parishioners. 

In his homily, Bishop Burbidge encouraged Gonzalez to read the Bible, to pray daily and to proclaim the Gospel. “Today, we celebrate your ‘yes’ and we pray that with the strength and the graces of this sacrament and the help of our Blessed Mother, you will renew that ‘yes’ every day, that you will be a faithful witness and an effective herald of the Gospel as you go forth today as our newest deacon,” said Bishop Burbidge.

His ordination fell on “Sunday of the Word of God,” a remembrance of the importance of sacred Scripture instituted by Pope Francis this year. Bishop Burbidge asked all present to give the Bible a more prominent place in their homes and hearts. He asked Gonzalez to prepare fully the homilies he will give as a deacon and hopefully soon as a priest. “You must contemplate the word of God,” said Bishop Burbidge. “You must continue to study sacred scripture but above all remember what St. Paul says, ‘Whoever preaches, let it be the words of God.’ ”

Then, Bishop Burbidge laid his hands on Gonzalez’s head and recited the prayer of ordination. Father Joel D. Jaffe, pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling, vested him with a stole and dalmatic. Then, Deacon Gonzalez knelt before Bishop Burbidge, who placed the book of Gospels in his hands. “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become,” said Bishop Burbidge. “Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”

Deacon Gonzalez was born March 17, 1989, to Moises Amilcar Gonzalez Torres and María Kelly Cruz de Gonzalez in Sonsonate, El Salvador. His family moved to the United States when he was a teen. He graduated from Westfield High School in Chantilly in 2008. 

His mother María Kelly remembers that her son was close to God in El Salvador, and he continued practicing his faith after they immigrated. He told his parents he wanted to be a priest in 2008. After high school, he entered seminary for the Community of the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, studying at San Damaso Ecclesiastical University in Madrid and serving in various pastoral assignments in Spain and Colorado. 

Beginning in 2016, he spent a year studying at The Catholic University of America in Washington in order to be closer to home as his father battled stomach cancer and as he and his family mourned the death of his older brother, Emerson. In 2017, he discerned out of the order and entered formation for the Diocese of Arlington.

He finished his theology degree in Madrid and currently is earning his master’s degree at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., while serving weekends at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester.

Deacon Gonzalez’s mother said she felt excited and emotional after witnessing her son’s ordination. “(My husband and I) are very grateful to the Arlington Diocese because it was a blessing for us that the diocese supported him,” she said.

This story has been updated. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020

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