Moving forward in faith

A deacon’s son and a graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School, Baltimore, will move closer to their goal of priesthood on May 12 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Baltimore, when they are ordained transitional deacons.

John Rapisarda, 29, and Ernest Cibelli, 25, will be ordained by Cardinal William H. Keeler, marking the last step before completing their journey to the priesthood next year.

As transitional 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.

“It is an honor to be called to serve God and his people as a sacred minister,” said Mr. Cibelli, who has been studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Italy.

Mr. Cibelli grew up at St. Louis, Clarksville, graduated from Mount St. Joseph High School, Baltimore, in 1999 and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 2003 from Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg.

Mr. Cibelli said there were several people who were instrumental in his discernment to the priesthood. Father Jeffery Dauses, who was associate pastor at St. Louis while Mr. Cibelli was a parishioner, invited him to help work around the parish, serving at the Triduum and help to decorate for Easter and Christmas. Father Michael Murphy, chaplain at Mt. St. Joseph, helped him “realize that God has a plan for each of us and I need to be open to it and respond,” said Mr. Cibelli.

“Father Richard Bozzelli continued to keep me active at St. Louis and helped me make some initial plans about seminary,” said Mr. Cibelli whose parents have been integral in his ability to hear God’s word. “Monsignor Joseph Luca, pastor at St. Louis, has been a constant support and encouragement in my discernment and response to God’s call.”

Mr. Cibelli has been assigned to St. Ignatius, Hickory, and the Church of the Crucifixion, Glen Burnie. He is looking forward to baptizing children and witnessing marriages and preaching.

“It is a true joy to be consecrated to God and ordained to serve his people,” said Mr. Rapisarda who is now a third year theologian at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg.

Mr. Rapisarda said he is most looking forward to preaching and teaching as a transitional deacon at St. Joseph, Fullerton. The graduate of St. Margaret School, Bel Air, and The John Carroll School, Bel Air, received his B.A. in history from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio in 2000.

After graduation, Mr. Rapisarda became a Carmelite friar until 2004. He said the consecrated life prepared him to return home to serve in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“I realized that I could still lead a life of prayer while serving in a parish,” said Mr. Rapisarda. “I then knew I could be effective in serving Jesus in my home diocese.”

He began his pastoral year internship at St. Louis, Clarksville, serving as Confirmation coordinator, taught religious education programs, visited the sick and homebound and assisted in the liturgy. Mr. Rapisarda said his parents have been an influence in his decision to be a priest.

“Their fidelity to Christ and each other and their love for me was a major influence in my being able to hear the call of God,” said Mr. Rapisarda.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.