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Diaconate Ordination 2020

Hoca

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On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, eight seminarians of the Pontifical North American College were ordained to the transitional diaconate. Standing before the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica, they made their promises of celibacy, obedience, and prayer followed by the laying on of hands by His Eminence, Cardinal James Michael Harvey (‘75), Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls.

Prior to the ordination, on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, the men to be ordained joined their classmates at an audience with the Holy Father, Pope Francis. That evening, the vigil of the ordination, the ordinandi gathered together with all the men of the house in the Immaculate Conception Chapel to pray as one community. The men of the house concluded by singing “Immaculate Mary” in outdoor procession with candles, a longstanding College tradition.

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During his homily at the ordination, Cardinal Harvey spoke to the men being ordained about the “gratuitous and unmerited” calling of ministry in the Church. “No one is worthy of Holy Orders,” he said, “but God makes his ministers worthy by blessing and consecrating them.” His Eminence told the ordinandi that they must follow the “way of the cross” in preparation for “death to self.” “To follow Jesus means to embrace the cross,” Cardinal Harvey stated, adding that “by following Jesus to the cross, we also follow him to the resurrection.” The newly ordained, Harvey said, would be vested in “the mantle of righteousness so that in service to the world, to the altar, and to charity, they may offer themselves as an acceptable sacrifice to God, the almighty Father.”

Following the ordination mass, the newly ordained, along with guests able to attend, gathered in the cortile of the Pontifical North American College for light refreshments, followed by lunch in the refectory. The reception was attended by dignitaries, including U.S. Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, and U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista Gingrich.

This was an extraordinary year for this annual milestone of the College. Due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, twenty-nine members of the Class of 2021 were ordained to the diaconate over the summer as a result of their families being unable to attend the event scheduled in Rome. At all events, appropriate measures such as social distancing and masks were used in accordance with local regulations. The eight men ordained now join their brothers as transitional deacons to serve the College community and people of God on their journey to the priesthood.

The new deacons have an additional year of theological studies and spiritual formation before being ordained to the priesthood in their home dioceses.

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