8th Class Journey to Ordination

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Sixteen men aspiring to become permanent deacons were admitted to candidacy at a Mass held on June 1, 2010 in St. Mary's Church, in New Bedford, MA.

Bishop George W. Coleman celebrated the Mass during which the admission ceremony took place. 

Assisting Bishop Coleman was Msgr. John J. Oliveira, diocesan director of the Permanent Diaconate program.

Deacon Frank Fantasia, assistant director for candidate formation, and Deacon David Boucher, assistant director for continuing formation, served as deacons of the Mass. 

The candidates are the eighth class for the permanent diaconate in the diocese and have been in the formation program for two years. 

Admission to candidacy occurs when the prospective candidate have reached maturity of purpose and have demonstrated the necessary qualifications along with their completion of the required preparatory steps. 

During the ceremony, candidates publicly expressed their desire to be ordained as deacons and the Bishop accepted their declaration.

These men have completed three years of preparation. They continue with two more years of academic and pastoral formation before ordination as deacons.

Those admitted to Candidacy are Bruce John Baxter, Eduardo Moniz Borges, Brendan William Brides, Robert MacLeod Craig, Timothy Edward Flaherty, Ralph Joseph Guerra, Paul Joseph Harney, Dennis James Hickey, Gary Michael John, Paul Raymond Levesque, Frank Ralph Lucca,  Thomas John McMahon, David Charles Murphy, Gary Alan Porter,  Lawrence David St. Pierre, Wilfred Ricky Varieur.

Admission to Candidacy - June 1, 2010

Admission to Candidacy - June 1, 2010

The Significance of the Rite of Admission


Admission to Candidacy for Ordination as a deacon, comes about by a means of a special rite, "by which one who aspires to the diaconate...publicly manifests his will to offer himself to God and the Church, so that he may exercise sacred orders. The Church in accepting his offering, chooses and calls him to prepare himself to receive a sacred order, and in this way he is rightly numbered among candidates for the diaconate."  - Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Ad Pascendum

2011 Retreat and Blessing of Albs

2011 Retreat and Blessing of Albs
Permanent Diaconate Candidates Attend Retreat and Receive Albs
 
 
“You are being called, not asked, to the ministry of Reader,” Father Andrew Johnson stated as he began the morning session of the Diaconate candidate retreat held last week at St Mary’s Parish, New Bedford, for the sixteen men who are in formation for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Fall River.“ This is personal call and you must make that personal individual response to the call,” he continued, “This vocational call is one that goes back to the Apostles.”
 
For the sixteen men in formation, this retreat day was an opportunity to participate in several sessions as they prepare for the institution of the ministry of Reader. These men had time to reflect on, not only the Word of God (Jesus Christ) and his call to them, but to also spend some time reflecting on the word of God as contained in the book of scriptures which these men will soon be called to proclaim in their parish liturgies and other experiences of prayer.
 
Fr. Johnson explained the history and the significance of what once known as the Minor Orders. Before Vatican II, there were four minor orders; lector, exorcist,  acolyte and porter. There was also subdiaconate.   These were required before one could receive the Sacrament of Orders as a deacon or priest.   Vatican II called for the revision of sacraments and liturgy.  The revisions came about because almost no one performed the ministries of porter, exorcist, and indeed, even lector.  Pope Paul VI issued the defining document in the Motu Proprio, entitled Ministeria Quaedam.   This eliminated minor orders completely, eliminated tonsure and subdiaconate. He established two “offices” of reader and acolyte, which will include the functions of the subdiaconate. The men, in this formation class, will be instituted as Readers by Bishop George Coleman at St Mary’s parish in New Bedford, on June 8, 2011.
 
When asked how the ministry of reader is different than a lector at Mass, Fr. Johnson took some time to explain that their call is not only a call to proclaim the word of God as ordinary ministers, but the grace to instruct others in the faith to prepare for the sacraments and to bring the message of salvation to those that have not heard it. Pope Paul VI stated in the Norms regarding the Holy order of Deacons  (1972), “It is especially fitting that the ministries of reader and acolyte should be entrusted to those who, as candidates for sacred orders, desire to devote themselves to God and to the Church in a special way.  …Both by study and by gradual exercise of the ministry of the word and of the altar, candidates for sacred orders should through intimate contact understand and reflect upon the double aspect of the priestly office…  In this way, candidates are to approach holy orders fully aware of their vocation, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, constant in prayer, and aware of the needs of the faithful.” Using the Rite of Institution of Reader, Fr. Johnson, led the group through the significance and meaning of the words and the actions of this beautiful Roman Catholic rite.
 
He continued the retreat phase with a review of Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation entitled Verbum Domini (The Word of the Lord) and concluded with a prayerful challenge for each of the men to cherish the scriptures, to proclaim them, to internalize them, to live them and to pass that gift of faith on. 
 
Monsignor John Oliveira, Diocesan Director of the Permanent Diaconate, and Deacon Frank Fantasia, Assistant Director of Deacon Formation also participated in the full day retreat. After an opportunity to formally request of the Bishop in writing, their intent to be instituted to the ministry of Reader, the men enjoyed fellowship and a luncheon prepared by the parish and the Office of the Permanent Diaconate.
 
The wives joined their husbands for a Holy Hour and Benediction and then all joined the parish family of St Mary’s for liturgy. 
 
During the liturgy, Monsignor Oliveira noted the relevance of the day’s first reading which coincidently was the passage from Acts 6:1-7 which spoke of the institution of the diaconate by the Apostles. Following the homily, Monsignor blessed the albs, which the men will wear in their ministry as readers and then called forward each candidate and his wife. Deacon Fantasia presented their wife the alb and she then assisted her husband in robing for the first time.
 
Deacon candidate, Paul Levesque of St Bernard’s in Assonet, felt that, “Fr. Andrew provided great insight into the Ministry of Reader and the meaning of the words that will be used by the Bishop and the candidates at our installation. Monsignor Oliveira's blessing of the albs was a beautiful ceremony.  It was great having our wives attend and having the albs presented to them and then having them assist us with robing as our wives are a source of great support to our ministry.”
 
The sixteen men who are to be instituted to the ministry of reader on June 8, 2011 are Bruce John Baxter, Eduardo Moniz Borges, Brendan William Brides
Robert MacLeod Craig, Timothy Edward Flaherty, Ralph Joseph Guerra, Paul Joseph Harney, Dennis James Hickey, Gary Michael John, Paul Raymond Levesque, Frank Ralph Lucca,  Thomas John McMahon, David Charles Murphy, Gary Alan Porter,  Lawrence David St. Pierre, Wilfred Ricky Varieur.
 
 
 

Ministry of Reader Installation - June 8, 2011


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History of this Ministry:    

Before Vatican II, there were FOUR MINOR ORDERS,. 

lector,  exorcist,  acolyte and porter. There was also subdiaconate.   These were required before one could receive the Sacrament of Orders as a deacon or priest.   Vatican II called for the revision of sacraments and liturgy.  The revisions came about because almost no one performed the ministries of  porter, exorcist, and indeed, even lector.  Pope Paul VI  issued the defining document in  972, the Motu Proprio  entitled Ministeria Quaedam.   This eliminated minor orders completely, eliminated tonsure and subdiaconate. He established two “offices”  of reader and acolyte, which will include the functions of the subdiaconate.


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Paul VI – Norms regarding the Holy order of Deacons.  1972

“It is especially fitting that the ministries of reader and acolyte should be entrusted to those who, as candidates for sacred orders, desire to devote themselves to God and to the Church in a special way.  …Both by study and by gradual exercise of the ministry of the word and of the altar, candidates for sacred orders should through intimate contact understand and reflect upon the double aspect of the priestly office…  In this way, candidates are to approach holy orders fully aware of their vocation, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, constant in prayer, and aware of the needs of the faithful.”

Ministry of Acolyte Installation - June 6, 2012

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Fifteen candidates who are studying for the Fall River Permanent Diaconate have been installed as acolytes at a Mass celebrated by Most Reverend George W. Coleman, Bishop of Fall River, on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, at 7:00 p.m., at St. Mary Church, in New Bedford.


Assisting Bishop Coleman, was Reverend Monsignor John J. Oliveira, Director of the Permanent Diaconate Program.  Deacon Frank Fantasia, Assistant Director for Candidate Formation, and Deacon Arthur LaChance, Assistant Director for Continuing Formation served as Deacons.  


The ministry of acolyte is the second of two ministries which candidates must receive and exercise as part of their preparation for ordination as a permanent deacon. 


These candidates are the eighth class for the Permanent Diaconate of the Diocese and have been in the formation program for three years.  They will continue in one more year of academic and pastoral formation before ordination as deacons:


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Bruce J. Baxter, Corpus Christi, East Sandwich; Eduardo M. Borges, St. Anthony of Padua, New Bedford; Brendan W. Brides, Christ the King, Mashpee; Robert M. Craig, Holy Family, East Taunton; Timothy E. Flaherty, St. Stanislaus, Fall River; Ralph J. Guerra, St. Margaret, Buzzards Bay; Paul J. Harney, Christ the King, Mashpee; Gary M. John, Holy Trinity, Fall River; Paul R. Levesque, St. Bernard, Assonet; Frank R. Lucca, St. Dominic, Swansea; Thomas J. McMahon, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Seekonk; David C. Murphy, St. Patrick, Wareham; Gary A. Porter, St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro; Lawrence D. St. Pierre, St. Joseph, Attleboro; Wilfred R. Varieur, St. Theresa, South Attleboro   

PERMANENT DEACON CANDIDATES ADVANCE TOWARD FALL ORDINATION

[Reprinted from The Anchor ]


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — On June 4, during evening prayer and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, the candidates of the Fall River Diocese permanent diaconate program took one of the final steps before approaching Holy Orders this coming fall. 


These men, preparing for ordination to the diaconate, made the Profession of Faith and took the Oath of Fidelity in preparation for ordination as deacons. 


Msgr. John J. Oliveira, director of the Permanent Diaconate Program for the diocese, explained to the candidates the meaning and importance of the oaths. Each candidate was then asked to place his hand on the Bible while standing in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament to take the oaths. 

Canonical law of the Church requires that all candidates take such oaths prior to reception of Holy Orders. The taking of these oaths is the most profound witness that one can make to one’s belief and dedication to the state of life to which the candidate is being called.


These candidates are the eighth class for the permanent diaconate of the diocese. The 15 candidates began formation for the permanent diaconate nearly five years ago. After a year of discernment and aspirancy, the admitted candidates began a four-year formal program of spiritual, theological and pastoral formation, which was completed in May. 

Eighth Diaconate Class Ordained

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The eighth Diaconate class for the Diocese of Fall River was ordained by Bishop George Coleman on October 12, 2013 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Fall River. 

Ordinandi ~ Deacon Bruce Baxter, Deacon Eduardo Borges, Deacon Brendan Brides, Deacon Robert Craig, Deacon Timothy Flaherty, Deacon Ralph Guerra, Deacon Paul Harney, Deacon Gary Michael, Deacon Paul Levesque, Deacon Frank Lucca, Deacon Thomas McMahon, Deacon Davis Murphy,Deacon Gary Porter, Deacon Lawrence St. Pierre, Deacon Wilfred Varieur.


Video of the ordination ceremony may be found below: 


Part I of 2 Election of Candidates ~ Promise of the Elect ~ Litany of Supplication ~ Laying of Hands and Prayer of Ordination

Part 2 of 2 -   Investiture with Stole & Dalmatic ~ Handing on the Book of the Gospels ~ Sign of Peace ~ Preparation of the Gifts ~ Prayer over the Gifts


Photo-gallery of the 8th Class Ordination


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