Catholic Courier

Posted: May 30, 2017

Last Updated: May 31, 2017

Courier photo by Jeff Witherow

Deacon Jeffrey Chichester (left) and Deacon Dermot Loughran enter Sacred Heart Cathedral with fellow members of their Diaconate class at the start of the May 27 Deacon ordination Mass.

Bishop Matano ordains seven deacons

By Gina Capellazzi/Catholic Courier

ROCHESTER — It was May 27, 1979, when then-Father Matthew H. Clark was ordained a bishop by Pope St. John Paul II at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. On that same day 38 years later, Bishop Clark was among the many priests and deacons who gathered at Sacred Heart Cathedral to welcome seven men being ordained to the diaconate.

Bishop Salvatore R. Matano talked about Bishop Clark and his service before he ordained Jeffrey Chichester as a transitional deacon, and James Briars, Marcelo De Risio, James Fien, Timothy Hebding, Dermot Loughran and Jeffrey Serbicki to the permanent diaconate during the May 27 Mass.

Multimedia:Seven men ordained deacons

“We perceive a heart fully united to the heart of Christ,” Bishop Matano said of Bishop Emeritus Clark during the homily. “Thirty-eight years of service as the successor to the holy apostles committed to the truth of the Gospel and still a life lived in joy and in peace.”

Also during his homily, Bishop Matano told the deacon candidates that every day they must work to keep their hearts united to the heart of Christ. Participating at holy Mass, receiving the sacrament of reconciliation and time spent before the Blessed Sacrament are all opportunities, he said, to keep their hearts in the heart of Christ.

“They are far more than opportunities,” he added. “They are vital necessities for living the life of ordained ministers.”

After Bishop Matano spoke to the candidates and those assembled, the seven men confirmed their intention to serve in the office of deacon. Afterward the Rite of Ordination occurred, which included the laying on of hands, where each man knelt before Bishop Matano one at a time, and the bishop placed his hands on each man’s head . Following that, each man was presented the book of Gospels and vested with his stole and dalmatic, or tunic. Then the newly ordained deacons received the sign of peace offered by Bishop Matano and the permanent deacons in attendance.

Deacon Jeffrey Serbicki was overcome with emotion as his son, Father Daniel Serbicki, a priest of the Diocese of Buffalo, vested him.

“I was looking forward to this for years,” Deacon Serbicki said, trying to hold back tears as he recounted that moment to the Catholic Courier after the Mass. “It was just so special to have him here.”

Like Deacon Serbicki, Deacon Loughran’s family also had prominent roles during the ordination Mass. His daughter proclaimed the second reading and his two sons were altar servers.

“To have them (my children) be a part of this (ordination), just makes so much sense, because they are a part of this and I can’t separate them out of this,” said Deacon Loughran, who will serve as deacon at East Rochester’s St. Jerome Parish and the chaplaincy program at Rochester General Hospital.

Following the Mass, family and friends greeted the newly ordained deacons on the steps outside of church. The deacons returned inside to take a group photo and waited their turn to take photos with Bishop Matano in front of the altar.

The ordination Mass began a busy weekend for the new deacons, who then served in their new roles as deacons during a Mass of Thanksgiving the following day at their home parishes.

Deacon Briars proclaimed the Gospel and gave the homily during the 10:30 a.m. Mass May 28 at Chili’s St. Pius Tenth Church, where he serves as pastoral associate. Many of the St. Pius community, including pastor Father Paul Bonacci, had attended Deacon Briars’ ordination the day before.

“Their support is really what made this happen. It was really rewarding and encouraging to have them here,” Deacon Briars said.

Deacon De Risio celebrated his first Mass as deacon at the 9 a.m. liturgy at Penfield’s St. Joseph Church. As he begins his ministry as a deacon, Deacon De Risio said he’s looking forward to serving the poor in the community.

“My goal is to serve the poor, the ones in need, the lonely and the afflicted,” he added.

While the ordination marks the beginning of their ministry as deacons, for Deacon Chichester, being ordained a deacon is a big step in his journey to the priesthood. Deacon Chichester, who celebrated his first Mass as a deacon at St. Patrick Church in Mount Morris May 28, will be ordained a priest in the spring of 2018. He will serve at Rochester’s Peace of Christ Parish this summer before returning to the Theological College Seminary in Washington, D.C., where he will finish his final year of seminary.

“It is one of those surreal things,” Deacon Chichester said about completing his final year in seminary. “It is an honor and very humbling to be able to serve the people of this diocese in this capacity (as a priest).”

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