Thirteen men to be ordained to diaconate

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien will ordain 13 deacons for the Archdiocese of Baltimore in a 10 a.m. liturgy at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Homeland May 23.

Joseph Gill, a parishioner of St. Peter the Apostle in Libertytown, will be ordained a “transitional deacon,” which means he will later be ordained to the priesthood.

A microbiologist, an administrative law judge and an engineer who designs chemical plants are among the 12 others who will be ordained “permanent deacons” – men not planning to become priests.

The diaconate is the first of three ranks in ordained ministry. While only unmarried men willing to live celibate lives may be ordained transitional deacons, married men may be ordained to the permanent diaconate. Single men ordained to the permanent diaconate may not marry after ordination.

Although the archdiocese usually schedules separate ordination ceremonies for transitional and permanent deacons, they will be ordained at the same event this year because there is only one transitional deacon.

“We thought it would be a more vibrant celebration to have them together,” said Father Gerard Francik, archdiocesan vocations director. “There will be greater attendance, and it will be a real celebration of the whole church and a celebration of the commonality of the diaconate.”

The ordination of Gill holds “great promise for our future,” Father Francik said, because it will mean the future ordination of a priest.

“It’s a great encouragement this year that we’ll have another deacon working in the parish – baptizing and preaching and witnessing marriages,” he said. “It’s nice for young people to see a young deacon doing that with great enthusiasm.”

Father Patrick Carrion, director of the deacon formation program, said the ordination of permanent deacons will also be a great blessing to the church.

“Certainly, it’s a huge symbol of commitment for these men and their families to devote themselves to the church,” Father Carrion said. “They have a good, focused commitment.”

In addition to witnessing marriages and celebrating baptisms, permanent deacons will preach at Mass and minister in parishes, prisons, hospitals or other institutions.

“They’ll also be able to witness to their ministry in their secular workplace,” Father Carrion said.

The future permanent deacons completed a four-year program that began with a year of discernment. Three years were devoted to seminary study of a variety of disciplines including moral theology, Scripture, doctrine, pastoral theology, canon law and homiletics.

As part of their pastoral formation, the future permanent deacons were assigned to serve one year in a hospital, prison or other institution and another year in a parish.

Beginning as a college candidate to the priesthood, Gill completed eight years of study and preparation in advance of his upcoming ordination to the transitional diaconate. That preparation included seminary studies and pastoral and parish work.

For information about the permanent diaconate, e-mail For information about the priesthood, e-mail

Catholic Review

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