By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – On Saturday, July 16, Bishop Joseph Kopacz ordained six men into the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. The men spent the last five years in formation, studying spirituality, canon law, homiletics and learning how to administer sacraments.
To full pews and those standing behind at the entrance to the Cathedral, Bishop Kopacz acknowledged the evident joy and love for Mark Andrew Bowden of St. Jude Pearl, Dien L. Hoang of the Cathedral of St. Peter, Dixon Wesley Lindsay of the Cathedral of St. Peter, John Anh Pham of St. Michael Forest, David Preston Rouch of St. Michael Vicksburg and Anthony William Schmidt of St. Paul Flowood, being ordained to the diaconate.
“The joy is so obvious this morning as we come together in the Lord … to celebrate so much of our tradition of faith … and in the ministries that are such a blessing for our church and our parish communities,” said Bishop Kopacz. “And this morning, we celebrate the great gift of the diaconate.”
In his remarks about the readings, Bishop Kopacz pointed out the sacredness and gifts of the office of the diaconate.
“As we appreciate over a long tradition, nearly 2000 years, its service in Jesus Christ. Its His ministry and right at the beginning the Apostles realized we need to designate this and we need to select those who are going to be faithful to the Lord and to the needs of the communities with whom they are entrusted,” said Bishop Kopacz.
“So, we continue that many years later and the church has indeed worked with you over these past five years – give or take – to arrive at this moment,” Bishop Kopacz told the diaconate candidates.
He also reminded the new deacons that their ministry is one of service through the word, sacrament and charity.
Drawing on their experience of marriage or family experience, Bishop Kopacz acknowledged that “all have learned how to sacrifice, serve and care up to this point their lives.”
“Now opens another door where they will serve in the midst of our parish communities, serving the Lord and serving those entrusted to them.”
Ordained deacons are assigned to parishes in the diocese and they may administer baptism, serve at the altar at Mass and distribute the Eucharist; bring the Eucharist to the dying; read the sacred Scriptures to the faithful and on occasion, to preach; to administer sacramentals; to assist at and bless marriages and to officiate at funeral and burial rites.
Another group of men have begun their formation process in hopes of being ordained to the diaconate in 2026. For more information on the permanent diaconate visit www.jacksondiocese.org/offices/diaconate.