June 16, 2017

Twenty-one men to be ordained permanent deacons on June 24

(Watch the archived video of the Mass from June 24 here)

Men being ordained permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis kneel on June 23, 2012, in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. On June 24, 21 men will be ordained permanent deacons in the cathedral as part of the third class of deacons for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

Men being ordained permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis kneel on June 23, 2012, in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. On June 24, 21 men will be ordained permanent deacons in the cathedral as part of the third class of deacons for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. (File photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

It was nine years ago that 25 men from central and southern Indiana were ordained as the first class of permanent deacons in the history of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

In the time since, the diaconate has become an ordinary part of the life of the Church in the archdiocese, with 16 more being ordained in 2012. Permanent deacons ordained in other dioceses have also moved to the archdiocese and ministered in some parishes.

Deacons across central and southern Indiana have expanded the ministry of charity into new areas, and led more Catholics to participate in it.

They have also spurred the discernment of other men, helping them hear God’s call to the diaconate. On June 24, 21 men will be ordained as the archdiocese’s third class of permanent deacons in a Mass beginning at 10 a.m. at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis.

Archbishop-designate Charles C. Thompson, whose appointment to lead the Archdiocese of Indianapolis was announced on June 13, is scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the ordination liturgy.

A limited amount of public seating will be available for the Mass. It can be viewed online live at www.archind.org/streaming.

“It will be good,” said Deacon Kerry Blandford, archdiocesan director of deacon formation, of the ordination. “They’re ready to go out there to minister and serve. We’ve done as much with them in formal formation as we can.”

The men to be ordained have completed four years of formation and participated in an intensive year-long application process before that.

“Personally, I believe that these men will be a real blessing to those parishes and pastors that do not currently have a deacon assigned to them,” said Deacon Michael East, archdiocesan director of deacons. “I am personally looking forward to working with these men and their wives as they enter deeper into the service of the people of the Church and the communities they serve.”

After the June 24 ordination, 52 parishes in the archdiocese will have at least one deacon assigned to minister in them. That includes 16 parishes that have not had a deacon in them before the ordination. In all, there will be 58 deacons assigned to parishes and other charitable ministries in the archdiocese.

Deacon candidate Oliver Jackson has known the influence and support of retired Deacon Donald Dearman over the past nine years. Deacon Dearman ministered at St. Rita Parish in Indianapolis, where Jackson is member, for many years.

Jackson said Deacon Dearman encouraged him in his discernment.

“He was a good role model for me,” Jackson said. “He would tell me about his own experiences, how he ran into those same questions. He said that each time you trust in God. You’ll feel that he’s directing you.”

Deacon candidate Tom Scarlett, a member of the linked St. Mary Parish in Mitchell and St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Bedford, is also among those who will be ordained on June 24. He gives credit for deepening his life of faith and his discernment to Deacon David Reising, who has ministered in both Lawrence County faith communities since his ordination in 2008.

“He is a steadfast and wonderful deacon who asks others to get involved, like a good deacon should,” Scarlett said. “He put me on this path.”

Scarlett is looking forward to becoming a brother deacon to Deacon Reising and other deacons across central and southern Indiana.

“It’s humbling, absolutely humbling,” Scarlett said. “Throughout the course of these four years of formation, we’ve encountered deacons from different communities around the archdiocese. Each one is unique in his own right. But you see this beautiful and warm brotherhood amongst them. It’s extremely humbling.” †

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