Bishop Matthew H. Clark will ordain Eric Bessette, Donald Eggleston, John Hoffman and Bob Lyons to the permanent diaconate during a 10:30 am. Mass June 4 at Sacred Heart Cathedral, located at 296 Flower City Park in Rochester.
Bessette, 52, converted to Catholicism in the mid-1990s and his wife, Marlene, served as his sponsor in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program. He began to discern a calling to the diaconate in 2006 while participating in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.
"It kind of popped out of that. It kind of came out of the blue," Bessette said.
The Bessettes, who have two children, attend Pittsford’s Church of the Transfiguration and got a taste of the wider church last October when they flew to Rome for the canonization of Bessette’s great-grandfather’s cousin, St. Andre Bessette.
Bessette works as a financial analyst for General Motors. He completed his field work for the diaconal program at Bethany House, Rochester General Hospital and St. Monica Parish in Rochester. He’d like his future ministry to be centered around reconciliation and reaching out to those who feel separated from the church.
Eggleston, 54, and his wife, Mary, belong to St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Greece and have two grown children. He first felt called toward the diaconate in the early 1980s, but didn’t feel he could devote his full attention to the vocation at that time due to the demands his career and his young family placed upon his time.
"The timing just wasn’t right," he said.
Eggleston recently left Eastman Kodak Co. and currently is starting his own information-technology and business consulting firm. He completed his field work at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, Rochester General Hospital and St. Paul Parish in Webster.
"I’m very interested in issues of economic and social justice, and I hope to find a way of expressing that through ministry," Eggleston said.
Hoffman, 61, and his wife, Lorraine, have one daughter and belong to St. Paul of the Cross Parish in Honeoye Falls. He recently retired from his position as regional audit manager for the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
About 10 years ago Deacon Albro Wilson, who passed away in 2010, and his wife, Doris, began asking Hoffman when he would become a deacon, and a few years later his pastor, Father Lawrence Gross, began asking the same question.
"It took me awhile to realize God speaks to us through other people. I wasn’t recognizing God’s voice in myself," he said.
Hoffman began to recognize God’s call in 2005, when he and several deacons traveled to New Orleans to help residents deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
"I began to see what deacons really do, their spirituality and dedication and hard work," he said.
Hoffman completed his field work at Bethany House, Lifetime Care and Blessed Sacrament Church in Rochester.
Lyons, 63, and his wife, Marcia, belong to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Brighton. Their only son, U.S. Army 1st Lt. James Lyons, was killed in action in Iraq in 2006.
Lyons, who said he’s always been "very faith-oriented," grew up in the United Methodist Church and converted to Catholicism about 25 years ago. After talking with two friends who are deacons, he began learning more about the permanent diaconate and eventually realized he was being called to the same vocation, Lyons said.
"One day God said, ‘Get yourself moving. I want you to be involved in this,’" he said. "You know how these calls are. They’re not always real clear at first. God kind of a little bit at a time reveals what he wants you to do."
Lyons, who retired from Xerox last year, completed his field work at Rochester Psychiatric Center, Rochester General Hospital and St. Rita Parish in Webster.
"I’m basically hoping to be able to bring the message of Christ to as many people as I can," he said.