Four seminarians studying for Archdiocese of Detroit, two studying for local religious orders will be ordained deacons April 15
DETROIT — St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, once said that a priest, as the steward of the sacraments, “holds the key to God’s heavenly treasures.”
“The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you,” the great Curé of Ars said. “Where there is no longer any priest, there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice, there is no religion."
As the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Year of Prayer for Priestly Vocations nears its close, six men will accept God’s call to holy orders and take the final step toward priesthood April 15, when Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Fisher ordains them as transitional deacons.
Of the six seminarians, all currently studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, four will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Detroit, while two will be ordained as members of religious orders.
The ordination Mass will take place at 10 a.m. in Sacred Heart Major Seminary's chapel. It will be livestreamed on the Archdiocese of Detroit's Facebook page.
The four Detroit seminarians include Nicholas Brown of St. John Neumann Parish in Canton; Matthew Kurt of St. Thomas a’Becket Parish in Canton; Stephen Moening of St. Kenneth Parish in Plymouth; and Tommy Ngo of St. Anthony Parish in Belleville.
Following ordination, the four new deacons will serve in parish internships — which will be announced following the Mass — and if all goes well, will be ordained to the priesthood next year.
Bishop Fisher also will ordain Bro. Elijah DeLello, of the Franciscan Friars of the Holy Spirit, and Bro. Joseph Spears, of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), for their respective religious communities. Bro. DeLello is serving at St. Mary of Redford Parish in Detroit, while Bro. Spears is serving at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit.
“I am looking forward to serving God's people through the ministry of the Church, especially within baptisms and serving at the altar,” Bro. Spears said in an interview with Mosaic, the magazine of Sacred Heart Major Seminary. “I'm excited to share in the joy of families as they bring their kids to be cleansed in the waters of baptism.”
Moening also said he’s most looking forward to baptizing, especially children being brought forth by their parents to share in the Church’s life.
“There is so much joy and excitement surrounding the sacrament of baptism, both from the family and the Church as a whole,” said Moening, who entered the seminary after a year of studying at Michigan State University. “To claim someone for Jesus, to destroy sin in their life, and give them the gift of grace is an amazing gift of ministry.”
The seminarians shared their appreciation for the formation they’ve received at Sacred Heart, where they’ve been studying philosophy and theology for the last several years.
“Sacred Heart has formed us to adapt quickly to new environments by having a daily schedule that is structured to help us to be more rooted in Christ,” said Ngo, who was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States in 2007. “As long as we stay faithful and trust in Christ, I think we will do well in this upcoming year of ministry.”
Brown, likewise, said his experience at Sacred Heart “has pushed me to live a holier life and continues to inspire me to live better.”
“I look forward to blessing people in both ordinary and extraordinary ways, and I especially look forward to baptizing people,” said Brown, who began his career as a software engineer after studying at St. Louis University, a Jesuit-sponsored institution. “I also look forward to the small daily changes being a deacon will bring, such as being able to bless food or rosaries.”
In addition to the six seminarians who will be ordained deacons April 15, separate ordination Masses will take place for Sacred Heart seminarians studying for the Diocese of Lansing (May 13), the Diocese of Kalamazoo (May 20), the Archdiocese of Hartford (May 20), and the Diocese of Gary, Ind. (June 3), in their home dioceses.
Later in the spring, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron will ordain five current transitional deacons to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Detroit on the vigil of Pentecost, May 27, at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.
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