Archbishop Hebda: Deacons help make Jesus present in the Church

| Susan Klemond | December 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Archbishop Bernard Hebda addresses 10 men Dec. 7 at their ordination to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. DAVE HRBACEK/THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Jesus, who is Emmanuel, desires to be present to us and his love inspires us to respond, Archbishop Bernard Hebda told 10 men at their ordination as permanent deacons Dec.  7 and about 2,500 of their family members, friends and supporters at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul.

“That’s the space in which we find the liberty to say ‘yes’ when God asks the unthinkable, asking us to be deacons for example,” he said. “Or asking us to be husbands or wives, asking us to be priests or consecrated men or women. It’s always out of that love that we find the strength to say ‘yes.’”

Deacons will serve in many ways, but they will always be a reminder of Jesus’ love, making the Lord present in the Church, Archbishop Hebda said.

“You will bring something new to (the diaconate) after this day as you bring the grace of orders, as you stand, as you kneel, as you serve — doing that in the name of the Church. It’s changed because of what’s happening in your life today,” he said. “It’s a way in which you’re able through your service to remind all of us of the love of Jesus Emmanuel, God is with us.”

The Archbishop spoke of the importance of the deacons offering a loving caress to those in need, citing Pope Francis’ description of the Church as a field hospital.

“My brothers, you as deacons are the orderlies in that hospital,” he said. “You have that opportunity to be the front line, to make sure that that love of Christ permeates everything that we do. That when the rest of us hear those words ‘remain in my love’ we’re going to have confidence because of what we’ve experienced of Christ’s love through you.”

Ordained by Archbishop Hebda, the men join 115 active and 50 retired but often still serving permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

As he received friends and family after his ordination, Deacon Joel Neisen, 59, commented that the day had been “glorious.”

“I thought the day would never come,” he said. “I first applied (for the diaconate) 20 years ago but sickness in my family with my children prevented me from following through and so I had to defer it for many years and here I am today. Thanks be to God. I am very happy.”

Deacon Neisen will continue serving in prison ministry and will be assigned to his home parish, St. John the Baptist in Savage. “I’m just looking for whatever God has for me,” he said.

The other newly ordained men and their home parishes:

John Allgaier, Holy Name of Jesus, Medina; John Bauch, St. Bonaventure, Bloomington; Eric Cooley, St. Peter, North St. Paul; Michael Daly, Our Lady of the Prairie, Belle Plaine; Matt Damiani, St. Peter, Forest Lake; Eric Evander and William Schroeder, both Holy Family, St. Louis Park;  and Joe Utecht and Rodney Walker, both St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Hastings.

Read more about the men and their wives:

Ten men to be ordained permanent deacons Dec. 7 at Cathedral

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