Five men ordained transitional deacons

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Bishop Michael F. Burbidge ordained five seminarians to the transitional diaconate June 2 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington, the largest number of deacons he has ever ordained at one time as a Bishop. Nicholas F. Blank, Edouard B. Guilloux, Sean T. Koehr, Christopher W. Nyce Jr. and James F. Waalkes each professed their obedience and promised to serve in the Office of Deacon to the best of their ability.

"You are to preach his Good News in all its beauty and without compromise so that his holy people discover the peace and freedom that only Christ can give." Bishop Michael F. Burbidge

During the homily, Bishop Burbidge explained how in preparation for the ordination he had been looking for imagery relating to the number five. He was pleased to find that the famous restaurant franchise, Five Guys, was founded in Arlington.

 

“Five guys is a colloquial way of speaking about the familiar, the ordinary,” said Bishop Burbidge. “One might think what does this have to do with an ordination? The reality is that our candidates, while aware of their God-given gifts and abilities, would be the first to tell you they are very ordinary men, with limitations and weaknesses. But, they came to believe in the promise God made to Jeremiah, ‘Have no fear because I am with you to deliver you.’ Thus, these five ordinary men will soon say: ‘Present … here I am Lord.’ ”

 

He encouraged the candidates to the diaconate to teach the truth, serve in love and give special priority to homily preparation.

 

“You are to preach his Good News in all its beauty and without compromise so that his holy people discover the peace and freedom that only Christ can give. In the process, always remember the sound guidance of St. Peter in our second reading, ‘Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God.’ To fulfill this mandate, I strongly encourage you, dear candidates, to make sure that your homily preparation is one of your highest priorities giving it the prayer, time and study it requires.”

 

Bishop Burbidge laid hands on each of the candidates during the Rite of Ordination, conferring upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit. The new deacons were vested with the stole and dalmatic, which signify their ministerial role in the celebration of the Eucharist. As deacons they will assist the Bishop and the diocese’s priests in the ministry of the word, of the altar and of charity.

They were vested by priests and deacons who have been instrumental during their vocational journey. Deacon Scott A. Ross vested Deacon Blank; Father Paul M. Eversole, pastor at St. Matthew Church in Spotsylvania, vested Deacon Guilloux;
Father Brian P. Kane, dean of men at the Theological Seminary at St. Charles Borromeo
Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., vested Deacon Koehr; Deacon Paul Ochenkowski vested Deacon Nyce; and Msgr. Andrew J. Cassin, assisting priest at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Staunton, vested Deacon Waalkes.

 

Msgr. Cassin has known Deacon Waalkes since grade school and was honored to have been asked to participate in the ordination.

 

“I find him to be a very sincere fellow,” said Msgr. Cassin. “He has come a long way in his religious discernment. I think he has all the dedication to be a good priest.”

 

All eight of Deacon Blank’s siblings were in attendance as well as his parents Richard and Monica Blank, who watched as their son kneeled before Bishop Burbidge holding the Book of the Gospels.

 

“We are very proud of Nicholas,” said Monica. “We have watched him through the years try and know God’s will and to see him follow it is awesome. He is such a joyful person. He seems to be able to connect with anyone whatever the situation. It’s a really good (ability) for a deacon and future priest to have.”

 

After Mass, the newly ordained deacons processed out of the cathedral ready to serve the diocese.

 

“It is truly a blessing not only for these five men and their families, but also for the whole diocese,” said Father J.D. Jaffe, diocesan vocations director. “We are blessed to have such talented and relatable men willing to generously serve Christ and his people.”

 Buy photos from the Diaconate Ordination at catholicherald.smugmug.com.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018