Dear Friends in Christ,
On the next two Saturdays, a total of 35 men from around the state will be ordained to the Order of Deacons for service in the Diocese of Charleston, and because there are so many ordinands, the bishop had to divide them into two groups for their ordination. The first group will be ordained on Saturday 30 January at Holy Spirit Church, Johns Island, and the second group will be ordained on Saturday 6 February at St Mary Magdalene Church, Simpsonville. All 35 of these men will then serve as deacons in their parishes in ministries of service, teaching, and worship, and it is our blessing at St Mary’s to have three of these 35 new deacons.
Nestor Acosta, Joe Sanfilippo, and Tom Whalen have spent the past five years in formation for their coming ordination, during which time they have studied all of the sacred sciences and have been prepared to exercise a ministry of word and sacrament in the Church. Once they are ordained, these three will join our present deacons (Diego Ferro, John Heuser, and George Tierney at St Mary’s plus Clark Brittain at St Anselm’s) to make a team of seven deacons among us – the same number chosen by the Apostles when the Order of Deacons was first constituted! (Acts 6.1-7)
Since the restoration of the permanent diaconate after the Second Vatican Council, deacons have become a beloved presence in many parishes, and we are blessed to have the service of these men at St Mary’s. You see them at almost every Mass, vested in the dalmatic which is the garment proper to their Order, during which they proclaim the Gospel and assist the priest at the altar. But the greater share of their work takes place in other settings: exercising ministries of charity, teaching in formal and informal settings, administering Holy Baptism and presiding at funeral Vigils, etc. In the months and years ahead, our deacons – both the new three and the four they are joining – will take on many roles in the parish, and I ask you to work with them in gratitude for their service and witness.
Finally, the same weekend on which our new deacons will be ordained will also see the arrival in Greenville of Father Jonathan Duncan and his family who are moving here from Texas. Father Duncan is coming here to lead the Community of St Anselm, and he will be the chaplain at St Joseph’s School; moreover, he will also assist us with Mass and Confessions as Father Chalmers did before him. Father Duncan is a former Episcopal priest and is now a Catholic priest of the Personal Ordinate of the Chair of St Peter. Please welcome Father Duncan, his wife Elizabeth, and their children (plus the fourth due to arrive in April), to their new home among us.