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Seminarians becoming transitional deacons

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Seven seminarians will be ordained to the transitional diaconate April 10, marking a major milestone on their journey to the priesthood. 

Find out what brought them to seminary, how they’re preparing for ordination, their favorite hobbies and more.

Watch the livestream

The Mass of ordination to the transitional diaconate will be livestreamed April 10, 11 a.m., arlingtondiocese.org.

Robert Renner attends Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. His summer assignments included St. James Church in Falls Church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge and Spanish immersion at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg. 

Favorite Bible quote?  “How can I make a return to the Lord for his goodness to me?” (Ps 116:12)

Hobbies? I enjoy playing soccer and riding a bicycle on roads and mountains.

Preparation for diaconate ordination? My great aunt who was a religious sister had a great devotion to Divine Mercy, and the first day that I will preach will be Divine Mercy Sunday. So, I took that as a cue to develop a greater devotion to Divine Mercy by praying the chaplet.

Peter St. George attends Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. His summer assignments included St. Philip Church in Falls Church, All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas and Spanish immersion at Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling.

Why seminary? Midway through college, I grew a great deal in my Catholic faith. After consecrating myself to Jesus through Mary, I discovered that the desire to be a priest that had first moved my heart as a young boy returned with a newness and depth that I had never experienced before. It quickly became clear that the Lord was calling me to be his priest and that Mary was leading me to respond, “Yes,” to this call. 

Hobbies? I love to rock climb, mountain bike, cycle and play soccer. 

Favorite family tradition? Every Easter my Mom’s side of the family plays “First-Pick-Come-Down.” It’s a game we play with colored Easter Eggs. You knock the ends of the eggs together and see which one cracks. Last uncracked-egg wins. 

Philip Briggs attends Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. His summer assignments included the Basilica of Saint Mary in Alexandria, St. Ambrose Church in Annandale and Spanish immersion at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church.

Looking forward to as deacon? I am really looking forward to celebrating baptisms, as well as presiding over Eucharistic adoration and benediction. Baptism and the Eucharist are both pillars in the life of a deacon, and I hope to grow deeper in my devotion to these sacraments. 

Favorite cultural tradition? Since my family is part Slovak, we hand make traditional pierogis for Christmas Eve dinner. 

Favorite part of seminary? Getting to know other seminarians from other dioceses around the U.S., as well as the international men who are studying at the seminary. It’s been a joy to have these men as friends. 

Preparation for diaconate ordination? I’ve been praying with the readings of Mass for the day, imagining what I would say if I was to preach a homily on them. While it can be intimidating at times to stand up and speak in front of others, I am excited to be able to put what I’ve learned in the seminary into practice preaching homilies. 

Peter Clem attends Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. His summer assignments included St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock, St. Bernadette Church in Springfield, All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas and Spanish immersion at Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling. He also is a member of the Youth Apostles. 

Looking forward to as deacon? I am very excited to preach. I always have loved public speaking opportunities such as a presentation for class or a talk on a retreat. I also have grown deeper in love with Scripture during seminary. I hope to offer the gift of preaching, so that I might glorify God and help the faithful fall more in love with the Word.

Favorite Bible quote? "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5).

Hobbies? Playing soccer and volleyball, listening to Broadway musicals, going to theme parks/amusement parks, watching movies, cheering on the Washington Football Team and the Capitals, laughing until my side hurts.

John O’Farrell attends Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md. His summer assignments included St. Veronica Church in Chantilly and Holy Spirit Church in Annandale. 

Why seminary? I had a profound event that showed me the love of Christ in a deep and penetrating way while praying the rosary in adoration in 2014. Coming to spend more time with God in prayer, the Eucharist and rosary opened my heart to submit to the Lord’s will, which always brings the greatest peace and joy.

Hobbies? Spending time with family and friends, visiting historical sites, reading, walking.

Preparation for diaconate ordination? I have spent time in prayer and going over the promises with the other men to be ordained. Also, I have spent time and stayed in contact with deacons across the dioceses that I have met while in seminary.

Daniel Reuwer attends St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. His summer assignments included St. John the Beloved Church in McLean, the Institute for Priestly Formation, Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling and Spanish immersion at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg. 

Why seminary? Ever since I was a little kid, I thought about a calling to the priesthood. However, it was not until teaching that I felt the necessary push to get me to really take discernment seriously and enter the seminary. I asked a priest how I could help more people prepare for the sacraments and come to a deeper knowledge and love of Christ, and he asked me if I had thought about seminary. Making the jump was hard and terrifying, but I have absolutely no regrets and it was the best decision I have ever made.

Favorite Bible quote? “Father, they are your gift to me” (Jn 17:24). 

Favorite family tradition? My family plays a lot of pickup sports. In particular, I love playing pickup football on Christmas after gifts have been opened and breakfast has been eaten. 

Preparation for diaconate ordination? I have been reading the Song of Songs to see how it is that God views me and desires me. Since the promise of celibacy is made at one’s diaconate ordination, I really wanted to grow in my understanding of the mutual and exclusive love that I am called to have with God. 

Daniel Rice attends St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. His summer assignments include All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Blessed Sacrament Church in Alexandria, diocesan Office of Multicultural Ministries, St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg and Spanish immersion at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Falls Church.  

Looking forward to as deacon? I will baptize my nephew just a couple hours after I get ordained. I think preaching will be a great and humbling gift. I am excited to give my life away.

Favorite Bible quote? “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

Hobbies? Running, sports, skiing, hiking, rock climbing, chess, playing cards and singing.

       

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021