COLUMBIA—Three men have started their summer as seminarians and will finish it up as deacons.
S. Matthew Gray, William S. Hearne and David D. Nerbun were ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone July 16 in St. Joseph Church.
The seminarians have completed their fourth year of theology studies and will begin a year of work before they receive the sacrament of orders in 2011. Candidates for the priesthood must serve at least six months as a deacon before they can be ordained as a priest.
A deacon may proclaim the Gospel, give homilies, baptize, assist at the liturgy and witness a marriage outside of Mass. The deacons will work in other capacities at parishes around the diocese to gain as much knowledge and practical experience as possible. Their supervising pastors will delegate their specific duties.
Gray, 31, was born in Texarcana, Texas, a son of Larry and Karen Gray. He has one brother, Adam. Ministry may come naturally to the new deacon as his father was a Presbyterian minister. Gray was received into the Catholic Church in 2002. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in French. He is currently assigned to St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville but will return in the fall to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., to complete his final year of studies.
Hearne, 57, is in his fourth year of theology at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Mass. He is assigned to St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Summerville for the summer. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force in 2002. He is originally from River Forest, Ill., and has lived in northern New Jersey, where he attended Seton Hall Preparatory School. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and majored in Middle Eastern history and economics. He also earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Arizona. He originally began his seminary studies for the Diocese of Arlington, Va., but transferred to the Diocese of Charleston two years ago.
Nerbun, 27, is a native of the Palmetto State. He was born in Lexington, one of seven children of Robert and Ann Nerbun. He is a 2001 graduate of Cardinal Newman High School and graduated from Catholic University of America in 2005. He attended pre-theology at Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. He is in his fourth year of theology at Pontifical North American College in Vatican City State, and is assigned to St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton. He will return to college next year before being ordained in 2011.
Read about the ordination in the Aug. 5 print edition of The Catholic Miscellany.