A new crop of candidates prepares to study for the diaconate

COLUMBIA—The future continues to be bright for the permanent diaconate program in the Diocese of Charles­ton as more men progress further in their studies.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated a Rite of Admission Mass at Our Lady of the Hills Church on Sept. 16, acknowledging milestones for many of those currently studying to become deacons. The process usually takes about five-and-a-half years.

Twelve men were admitted to candidacy as part of the class of 2021. Students receive admission after completing one year of study for the program.

Seventeen from the class of 2019 received the ministry of acolyte, which allows them to serve at the altar and assist during Mass, includ­ing preparation of the sacred vessels; and act as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.

One person from the class of 2019 received the ministry of lector, which allows him to deliver the readings.

As each man’s name was called, he knelt before the bishop and received a blessing.

During his homily, Bishop Gug­lielmone said those studying to be deacons are obeying God’s call to love and serve Him.

“Today we are sealing these men to the ministry of God,” he said. “They will build up the Christian com­munities where they will be sent and day by day they will learn to live the life of the Gos­pel. They are declaring in public their desire to bind themselves to service in Christ.”

Receiving admis­sion to candidacy were Samuel Aguilar, James Baker, Timothy Baker, Peter Brown, James Chin, Scott Hart, Mi­chael Heidkamp, Brian Justice, David Kahn, Edward Kelly and Mark Thompson.

Receiving the ministry of acolyte were Pelagio Caoile, Daniel Ca­marena, Theodore Bryan Clement, Andrew Da Silva, Briach Durocher, Karl Eimers, Thaddeus Harden, James Hinnerschitz, Joseph Keat­ing, John Leininger, Edward Long, Carlos Najera, Joseph Mauriello Jr., Timothy Papa, Gustavo Suarez and George Wilson Jr.

Stephen Goodman from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Camden was admitted to candidacy, plus re­ceived the ministry of lector as well as acolyte. He was able to do all three at once because he already com­pleted a master’s degree in theology and will be able to complete his stud­ies for the diaconate in two years, according to Deacon André Guillet, director of the permanent diaconate program.

During Mass, Bishop Guglielmone thanked the candidates’ wives for their support.

Peter Brown, who attends St. Paul the Apostle Church in Spartanburg, said the Mass offered him a real sense of encouragement for the long road of study ahead.

His wife, Laura, said she is proud that her husband reached this mile­stone in his path to the diaconate.

“Watching him pursue this has made me realize that every person has a vocation, and we’ll all grow closer to God if we pursue what He has chosen for us to do,” Mrs. Brown said.

Photo, Miscellany/Christina Lee Knauss: Stephen Goodman, James Chin, Peter Brown and Timothy Baker sing during the Rite of Admission Mass held Sept. 16 at Our Lady of the Hills in Columbia. All four men were admitted to candidacy for the permanent diaconate.