Bishop Matano ordains 3 permanent, 2 transitional deacons
ROCHESTER — While beautiful choral music and communal prayer punctuated many of the parts of the May 26 deacon ordination Mass, one of the most significant moments took place in complete silence.
That moment of silence occurred when Bishop Salvatore R. Matano laid hands on each of the deacons and conferred upon them the Holy Spirit.
Bishop Matano ordained Deacons Binh-Yen Nguyen, Michael Kristan and James Pegoni as permanent deacons May 26 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, while Deacons Matthew Walter and Daniel White were ordained transitional deacons.
“I felt a chill,” said Deacon Nguyen of the laying on of hands. “It was a very emotional moment. … There’s a connection way back to the apostles.”
Deacon Nguyen, 46, is a Vietnam native who lived in Florida until 2009. At the ordination, he was surrounded by his family, including his wife, Vy, and their two young daughters, ages 4 and 7. Many parishioners from the Vietnamese faith community at Parish of the Holy Family in Gates also were present.
For Deacon Walter, the moment represented saying yes to God. A parishioner of Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph in Rochester, he currently attends St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass.
“I know I’m giving myself to God,” said Deacon Walter, 36. “The bishop is accepting (me) for the church … and for the saving of souls.”
Vocations are God’s way of saying to the faithful, “I’m still here,” to heal them, shelter them and care for them, he added.
“It’s very beautiful,” said Deacon Walter.
Receiving the Book of the Gospels from Bishop Matano is something Deacon Kristan had most looked forward to before the ordination Mass. In speaking with the Catholic Courier following the Mass, he was overcome with emotion in trying to find the words to express how he had felt when the moment arrived.
Upon presenting the Book of the Gospels to each deacon, Bishop Matano said: “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you’ve become. Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.”
“The holy father looking into my eyes, blessing me … it felt like an intimate moment with Christ through his church,” said Deacon Kristan, 53. “It was very powerful.”
A Rochester native, he began formation for the diaconate in 2013. His wife, Angela, proclaimed the first reading during the Mass.
Deacon Pegoni celebrated his ordination — and his 53rd birthday — at his home parish. Members of the Cathedral Community were among those who initially encouraged the Brockport native to pursue the diaconate.
Lying prostrate on the floor as the congregation sang the “Litany of Supplication” will serve as one of the most special memories of the ordination for him.
“When I got up, I felt renewed strength,” he said. “It was a wonderful, inspiring experience.”
Before the final blessing of the Mass, Bishop Matano encouraged the permanent deacons to love their families, wives and children.
“What a beautiful manifestation of constant service you are to your communities,” he added. “The care for your family, the love for your family; that is a magnificent gift to the church.”
Bishop Matano also noted that the transitional deacons would be in the diocese’s constant prayers as they complete their final year of seminary.
In his homily, the bishop reminded all of the deacons that they are messengers of God’s word. And while the warm May weather doesn’t remind one of Christmas, the day of Christ’s birth is the at heart of the ordination rite, Bishop Matano said.
“My sons, as deacons, you are called to be evangelists of Jesus Christ,” he said. “You have the privilege now of being those angelic voices that … announced, ‘I bring you good news of great joy. Today is born Christ the Savior.’ As servants of the Gospel, you, too, must proclaim the message of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, present among us just as truly as he was present at Bethlehem. For through the incarnation and the Eucharist, Jesus is ever faithful to his prophets.”
Deacon White, 34, said he will take to heart the message of the homily, to proclaim God’s word even as he prepares for his priestly ordination next year. Previously a friar in the Order of Discalced Carmelites, he is completing his formation at St. John’s University.
“To live out that (ministry of the Word) is something to take to heart,” he said.