Ordination of two Hispanic deacons reflects growing community
On June 1, 2013, seven permanent deacons and one transitional deacon were ordained. On that Saturday morning our cathedral was full of family and friends of these eight men. The two-hour Mass was beautiful and full of special rituals that you don't see or hear at our ordinary Sunday worship. Participants knew that they were at a special Mass.
All these eight men, two are Hispanic. This is significant because, with the growing Hispanic Catholic population across the United States, our diocese and these men are responding to the call of service to this population. In our dioceses we presently have 17 Masses in Spanish and three bilingual Masses on Saturday and Sunday. Now there will be more help for those priests and laity that are working with this population in parishes across the diocese.
All the deacons have been educated on how to be of service to the Hispanic population, and they will surely serve with open hearts. The difference with Deacon Arredondo and Deacon Serrano is that they are bilingual and bicultural. They and/or their families have gone through some of the experiences that our immigrant families and their children are experiencing presently. They are men of faith who are familiar with some of the programs of integrating into our parish life. They are bilingual, and through their years of experience growing up here and committing to a faith-filled Catholic life, can share their life experience.
All dioceses and archdioceses across this country are not willing to have diaconate programs to integrate laity to this level of responsibility and commitment. We are fortunate to have a visionary bishop who believes laity should have the fullest opportunities to serve in whatever capacity they feel they are called to.
I hope that you can all see the importance of these men and their work for our Church and pray for all of them. We also need to pray for more men to understand and respond to the call to the deaconate. There is much work to be done.
Adeline Torres is director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry. Her column appears in Spanish in the Northwest Indiana Catholic print edition of June 23, 2013.