Seminarians ordained to diaconate

ROME — Bryan P. Babick, Michael P. Cassabon and Jeffrey F. Kirby, seminarians of the Diocese of Charleston, were ordained to the transitional diaconate Oct. 5.

They were among 27 American and Australian seminarians from the Pontifical North American College ordained by Archbishop Edwin O’Brien, Archbishop of the Military Services for the United States of America and chairman of the board of governors for the college. He ordained these men deacons at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

Before Mass began, the archbishop told the candidates that “from your very beginnings, even before he formed you in the womb, God has taken great interest in each of you. He has been gracing your heart, your soul and your whole self, toward the path of service. From this day forward your whole identity and existence will be in service of others, in imitation of Christ.”

He reminded the men of the need for a personal relationship with Christ  “to fulfill your duties at the altar, to be thoroughly a man of charity … and especially be a man steeped in prayer. Unless you prayerfully ponder the Word of God in daily silence, the voice you speak will only be yours, not the voice of Jesus.”

Before their ordination, the seminarians completed extensive studies in both philosophy and theology. In addition to studying at the university, they were given thorough spiritual and pastoral formation, according to a press release sent by the college.

Now that they are ordained deacons, they are commissioned by the church to preach the word of God, minister at the altar, and assist the bishops and priests in ministering to the needs of the community they serve.

The rite of ordination of deacons exhorts the candidates to “receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”

The Pontifical North American College was founded in 1859 and is the American house of studies in Rome. Hundreds of priests have been formed near the heart of the church for service in dioceses around the United States and Australia.