Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien will ordain 14 deacons during a Mass on May 14 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen. The number marks the largest class of new deacons to be ordained in eight years.
As deacons, the men will be able to proclaim the Gospel during Mass, perform baptisms, witness marriages, perform vigil services and bring Communion to the sick. All of the men to be ordained are married and live throughout the Archdiocese, including from as far away as Oakland, MD.
The deacon candidates completed a one-year program, followed by three years of human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral formation. As part of their formation, each man spent one year at a parish and one year in an institutional setting such as a hospital or prison. To be eligible to become a deacon, a candidate must be a baptized man who is at least 31 years of age, confirmed and who has been a Roman Catholic for at least six years.
Deacons are expected to play an even greater role in the administration and sacramental life of parishes in the coming years, as the impact of the shortage of priests is more critically felt. In the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 72 of 153 active duty priests will be eligible for retirement over the next 15 years. In that time it is expected that the number of active priests will be reduced from 153 to 100.
Archbishop O’Brien will ordain one man to the priesthood on Friday, June 24 at 6 p.m. at the Basilica.