By Elizabeth Lowe
Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori will ordain 16 men to the permanent diaconate May 11 during a 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland.
Hailing from as far west as Hancock, the soon-to-be deacons represent a variety of professional and personal backgrounds.
All but one is married. They include an electrical engineer, fiscal management analyst, science professor and museum executive director.
The deacon candidates completed a one-year aspirancy program, followed by three years of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation.
The academic theological program was taught primarily by faculty from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park, with deacons taking courses in subjects including Scripture, church history, Catholic social teaching, canon law, morality and homiletics.
As part of their formation, the candidates served one year at a parish and one year in an institution, such as a hospital or prison.
A deacon receives the sacrament of holy orders and becomes a member of the clergy. A deacon’s regular duties include proclaiming the Gospel at Mass and delivering homilies. In addition, he administers the sacrament of baptism and witnesses marriages. A deacon may also preside at rites of Christian burial, at eucharistic exposition and Benediction, the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical rites. Deacons also are active in Christian outreach – ministering in a variety of roles, including within parishes, charitable agencies, hospitals and prisons.
“It’s a big commitment for the family to make,” said Father Patrick Carrion, director of deacon formation and pastor of the Catholic Community of South Baltimore. “Once he’s ordained, there is this life of service. Because they work in so many different fields, they’re able to evangelize in different ways than a priest.”
Archbishop Lori will announce the assignments of the new deacons near the time of their ordination.
Profiles and quotes from the 16 men to be ordained follow.
German Enrique Flores: commercial service manager, Turf Equipment and Supply Company Inc.
Home parish: Church of the Crucifixion, Glen Burnie
Diaconal internships: St. John the Evangelist, Severna Park; Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, Baltimore
Spouse: Hillevi, married 32 years;three children, one grandchild
“In the path of my formation, I had the opportunity to be involved in jail ministry, and in particular, with the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center. This is now a federal prison and one thing that really touched my heart was the presence of Hispanics detained there. I discovered there are multiple levels of ‘human rights’ and second-class individuals. It brought me the face of Jesus Christ with a different characteristic.”
Jose L. Gabin: contract manager, Verizon Consumer Marketing Operations
Home parish: St. Augustine, Elkridge
Diaconal internships: St. John the Evangelist, Columbia; Maryland
Correctional Adjustment Center,Baltimore
Spouse: Joseline Castanos, 14 years; two children
“I am blessed to be part of the diaconate program. The education I received on the four dimensions of deacon formation has provided me with the tools necessary to be a servant of God’s church. It has been a humbling experience in which my love for God and others has been enhanced. I have had the privilege to see the face of Jesus on those I had the opportunity to serve in prison. This has been a call by the Lord, which I have accepted faithfully for the glory of his church and people.”
Allen R. Greene: vice president, Hewlett-Packard Federal Organization, U.S. Department of Defense
Home parish: St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Woodstock
Diaconal internships: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Ellicott City; St. Agnes Hospital, Baltimore
Spouse: Lynda, 33 years; three children, one grandchild
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s diaconate program has been a comprehensive program of formation and discernment for me. The program of intellectual, spiritual, pastoral and human formation has been a program of study and development as intensive as I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been blessed by God to serve the faithful at Our Lady of Perpetual Help as an instituted acolyte and interned as a chaplain at St. Agnes Hospital. Both experiences helped to develop and strengthen all aspects of my pastoral being and further affirmed my calling to the diaconate.”
Sean Patrick Keller: co-founder and managing founder, Sage Management
Home parish: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the
Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore
Diaconal internships: St. Mark, Catonsville; Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore
Spouse: Sheri, 22 years; two children
“Through prayer, spiritual direction, academics and internships, I became more aware of the role our Catholic faith plays in my life and the lives of so many others. This was made very real at Mercy Medical Center, where I had the opportunity to minister to many people of different Christian and non-Christian faith traditions, and at St. Mark, a faith community that brings the love of Christ alive in their ministries within and beyond parish boundaries. Both assignments gave me a great appreciation of the service of the church and drove home the servant role of the deacon.”
George S. Krause Jr. : director of engineering, manufacturing and logistics for international systems
at Northrop Grumman Corporation
Home parish: St. Paul, Ellicott City
Diaconal internships: St. Agnes, Catonsville; St. William of York, Ten Hills; Route 1 Day Resource Center
Spouse: Teresa, 20 years; six children, six grandchildren
“The formation process has been a wonderful journey, one of challenges and growth from academic, spiritual and pastoral perspectives. The formation team is dedicated to ensure the best for each of us and all members of the archdiocese. The instructors are knowledgeable and passionate about the subjects they taught. The institutional internship reinforced the notion of compassion and unconditional love. The parish internships broaden my perspective of and abilities for evangelization. I am looking forward to continuing the journey as an ordained deacon.”
Kevin Kulesa: fiscal management analyst, Social Security Administration
Home parish: St. John the Evangelist, Frederick
Diaconal internships: St. Timothy, Walkersville; Maryland Correctional Institution, Hagerstown
Spouse: Amy, nine years
“The program is challenging and demanding, but provides so many opportunities for spiritual growth and discovery. I was inspired by men and women who shared their belief in Jesus Christ, and I marveled endlessly at how God works in the life of each and every person. The more I learned about my faith, the more I realized how much more there was to learn and how growing in faith is a journey that never ends. I hope I will be a blessing to those I serve.”
Mark S. Loepker: executive, National Security Agency
Home parish: Our Lady of the Fields, Millersville
Diaconal internships: Holy Trinity, Glen Burnie; University of Maryland
Medical Center, Baltimore
Spouse: Sandra, 34 years; two children, two grandchildren
“The hospital internship was humbling and life changing. Seeing God’s healing hand at work was inspiring. I learned that pastoral care was valued and an integral part of the healing process. Many things stand out, but two I wish to highlight. First is the faculty. We were blessed to have St. Mary’s Seminary for diaconal training. The faculty is inspiring and provided depth beyond the reading material. Second are my classmates. The bond we’ve developed will last our lifetimes. It is a privilege to know, learn and serve God with my brothers in Christ.”
David J. Ludwikoski: associate professor of science,Community College of Baltimore County – Catonsville
Home parish: Sacred Heart of Mary, Graceland Park
Diaconal internships: St. Casimir, Canton; Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore
Spouse: Donna, 10 years
“The program was informative and diverse, with top-notch instructors and a comprehensive overview of topics related to ministry within the church. The internships were rewarding and fulfilling and gave one the real-world sense and experiences needed to succeed as an ordained minister in the church. I appreciate the mentoring and guidance I have received on all levels and the support from everyone involved has been tremendous.”
James L. Mason: financial manager, Keystone Fruit Marketing, Inc.
Home parish: St. Peter, Hancock
Diaconal internships: St. Ann, Hagerstown; Western Maryland Hospital Center, Hagerstown
“Inspired by the Holy Spirit, my love for God and values instilled in me by my parents, I have accomplished what I would have at one time considered an impossible dream. When first assigned to Western Maryland Hospital Center, I knew it would not be easy for me. I made the most of the opportunity. In the year I was on parish pastoral assignment with St. Ann, my faith has been enhanced and strengthened by becoming a part of this faith community. I will cherish the pastoral experiences I had the opportunity to experience.”
James Michael Nuzzo: owner and operator, Michael Septic Service
Home parish: Sacred Heart, Glyndon
Diaconal internships: Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier, Hunt Valley; Stella Maris, Timonium
Spouse: Joy, 12 years; two children
“The diaconate is about helping people understand how much God loves them. The diaconate program is about allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you and relying on the Holy Spirit for the strength, stamina and words to be an agent of Christ. The Archdiocese of Baltimore is blessed to have such a well-rounded program. From the classroom to the internships, the men and women I worked with taught me how to serve. They showed me how to bring the love of God to others.”
Vito S. Piazza Sr.: pastoral associate
Home parish: St. Joseph, Sykesville
Diaconal internships: St. Charles Borromeo, Pikesville; Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Towson
Spouse: Doris, 35 years; one child
“The journey to ordination has been a great experience, one filled with the grace and care of God.”
David A. Roling: attorney
Home parish: Church of the Holy Apostles, Gambrills
Diaconal internships: St. Andrew by the Bay, Annapolis; Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Glen Burnie
Spouse: Michele, 19 years; three children
“The entire formation program has been great. It was wonderful to walk this journey with the other men as we all moved closer to God and strengthened our faith.”
Frank A. Sarro: senior engineering consultant
Home parish: St. Louis, Clarksville
Diaconal internships: St. Augustine, Elkridge and Church of the Ascension, Halethorpe; Jenkins Senior Living Community, Baltimore
Spouse: Victoria, 26 years; two children
“Through academic study and the practical experiences gained during my internships, I have been blessed to witness firsthand how the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions of formation can come alive in ministry. Each step of this faith-filled journey has been enhanced by the guidance and support of so many people who, without hesitation, have shared their experiences with me so that I might learn and grow. I look forward to continue that which God has begun – to serve him by ministering to those in need as a deacon.”
Robert Kent Smith: senior counsel, Maryland House of Delegates Economic Matters Committee
Home parish: St. Francis of Assisi, Fulton
Diaconal internships: Church of the Holy Apostles, Gambrills; University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore
Spouse: Sally, 17 years; two children
“The institutional internship in hospital ministry helped me to see Christ in others and to bring him to the sick and infirm and their families. My pastoral internship in a young and active parish reinforced the recognition of the living body of Christ in a congregation that focuses on him in the Eucharist and social outreach. I am grateful to have participated in an integrative formation program that has encouraged us to learn in the process of doing rather than merely to acquire facts and dogmas in a lecture hall.”
Patrick E. Woods: Pipe Shop supervisor, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, SAIC-Frederick
Home parish: St. Thomas Aquinas, Hampden
Diaconal internships: St. Mary of the Assumption, Govans; Maryland
Department of Corrections, Baltimore
Spouse: Kimberly, 15 years; three children
“I found the formation program to be a very rewarding experience and it challenged me in ways my career never did. It also made me realize that only God could change me in this way and I am truly honored to be blessed by him. I have also learned what a call to serve the Lord means for me and my family and I am thankful for all the love and support I have received from my wife.”
George C. Wunderlich: executive director, National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Home parish: Holy Family Catholic Community, Middletown
Diaconal internships: St. Joseph on Carrollton Manor, Buckeystown; Brook Lane, a Continuum of Mental Health Services, Hagerstown; Meritus Health, Hagerstown
Spouse: Irene, 28 years; four children, two grandchildren
“Formation, as I have experienced it so far, has certainly been the greatest spiritual journey of my life. I can only imagine how much more is yet to come.”
Want to learn more about the diaconate program? Email the archdiocesan Office of Clergy Personnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-547-5550.
Copyright (c) May 1, 2013 CatholicReview.org