Bishop Matthew H. Clark will ordain six men to the diaconate — four as permanent deacons and two as transitional deacons — in ceremonies beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 3, at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 296 Flower City Park, Rochester.
The men becoming permanent deacons are Murray G. Henry, Frank A. Pettrone, Mark J. Robbins and Paul A. Virgilio.
Hoan Q. Dinh and Jeffrey S. Tunnicliff. will be ordained transitional deacons in anticipation of their ordination to the priesthood in June 2007.
Dinh, 36, a Vietnamese immigrant, said he was encouraged by a religious brother he knew at the age of 22 to become a priest. In 1997, he entered Holy College Apostle Seminary in Connecticut and then moved to the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. There he met Father Daniel J. Condon, diocesan chancellor, who was studying then at CUA, and Father Condon invited him to come to the Diocese of Rochester. Dinh has also studied at American College at Leuven, Belgium, and is currently serving his pastoral year at St. Joseph Church, Penfield. He will return to Leuven in September.
Dinh said that after being ordained a transitional deacon he will continuing serving St. Joseph’s by preaching, baptizing and visiting the sick. He added that he considers his role model to be Jesus, the “ultimate teacher,” and a compassionate example to his disciples.
Henry, 49, and his wife, Pearl, attend St. Mary Church, Canandaigua. He has served field assignments during his diaconal formation with Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes, Five Points State Correctional Facility and Our Lady of the Lakes Parish, which comprises churches in Dundee, Naples, Rushville, Penn Yan, Prattsburg and Stanley.
After becoming a permanent deacon, he hopes to work with migrant workers, as well as Catholics who feel marginalized from the church.
“There are many reasons people fall away from the church,” he said. “It has been my experience that many of them are just waiting to be asked to return.”
Pettrone, 46, and his wife, Elizabeth, attend St. Lawrence Church, Greece. Pettrone has served field assignments at Monroe Community Hospital, Monroe County Jail and the Newman Community at the University of Rochester. He said that after ordination to the permanent diaconate, he would like to involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the process through which adults and older children enter the Catholic Church. He added that he’s also interested in working in prisons.
“In my placement, though, wherever that may be, I am open to where the Spirit leads,” he said. “I will be ordained to serve, and while I don’t know where that will take me, I do know that it is in good hands.”
Mark J. Robbins, 49, and his wife, Barbara, are members of the Cathedral Community, comprising Sacred Heart, Holy Rosary and Most Precious Blood churches in Rochester. During his formation, he served assignments at Andrew Center, a Rochester foster home sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy; Rochester General Hospital; and the Roman Catholic Community of the 19th Ward, comprising the parishes of St. Augustine, Our Lady of Good Counsel and St. Monica in Rochester. Robbins said he is open to any type of ministry after ordination to the diaconate.
“My initial desire is to begin working in a parish setting to ‘learn the ropes,’ so to speak,” he said. “But if I have learned one thing in these last four years of formation, it is that God is unpredictable and that being open to God brings capabilities and experiences I never thought possible.”
Tunnicliff, 36, is from St. Mary of the Lake Church in Watkins Glen, and is currently studying at the Theological College at Catholic University of America. During his formation, he served at St. Boniface Church, Rochester, and St. Mary Church, Auburn. He spent his pastoral year from Sept. 2004 to Aug. 2005 at Church of the Assumption, Fairport. He will return to Assumption for the summer following his diaconal ordination.
Tunnicliff said that after being away from the Catholic Church for a number of years, he returned, became an active lay parishioner and discerned a call to priesthood.
“Ministry is where I continue to find fulfillment to live, helping me to discern that, indeed, I am called by God to be a priest,” he said.
Virgilio, 52, and his wife, Leslie, attend Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Brockport. During his formation, he has served at Bethany House, a Catholic Worker home for women and children in Rochester; Rochester General Hospital; and Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Rochester. He said he feels called to work with the elderly, and added that he decided to pursue the permanent diaconate after much soul-searching.
“One day, a parishioner, for whom I will always be indebted, told me to pursue the diaconate,” he said. “In the end, after months of trying to discern the call, the voice of that one parishioner proved to be the pivotal moment in my decision to apply to the diaconate formation program.”