Six diocesan seminarians are ordained transitional deacons

By: Text and photo by Jennifer Willems

Six men took up the ministry of the word, of the altar and of charity last Saturday as they were ordained deacons by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. The ritual put them on the path to priestly ordination a year from now.

The applause reverberated off the walls of the cathedral as Joseph Baker, Eric Bolek, Adam Cesarek, Matthew Deptula, Alexander Millar and Jacob Valle were presented by Msgr. Brian Brownsey, director of the diocesan Office of Priestly Vocations, and chosen for the Order of the Diaconate by Bishop Jenky. Before proceeding with the ordination, he urged them never to allow themselves to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel.

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“Now you are not only hearers of this Gospel, but also its ministers. Hold the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. Express by your actions the word of God which your lips proclaim, so that the Christian people brought to life by the Spirit, may be a pure offering accepted by God,” Bishop Jenky said in his homily.

He explained that the newly ordained deacons would preside over public prayer, administer baptism, assist at and bless marriages, bring Viaticum to the dying and conduct funeral rites.

“By the help of God they are to go about all these duties in such a way that you will recognize them as disciples of him who came not to be served, but to serve,” he said.

Each of the candidates knelt before Bishop Jenky and placed their joined hands between his as they promised respect and obedience to him and his successors. After prostrating themselves on the floor of the cathedral sanctuary while the Litany of the Saints was sung, they returned one by one so they could be consecrated for ministry by the laying on of the bishop’s hands and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The ritual included vesting each of the candidates with the dalmatic and stole. Deacon Baker was vested by Father Gary Blake, while Deacon Chase Hilgenbrinck assisted Deacon Bolek, Deacon Matthew Hoelscher assisted Deacon Cesarek, Msgr. Stanley Deptula assisted his brother, Deacon Matthew Deptula, Father George Remm assisted Deacon Millar, and Permanent Deacon Michael Schallmoser assisted Deacon Valle.

Also attending the Mass in support of Deacon Valle was Bishop Robert J. Coyle, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services. Deacon Valle is being co-sponsored by the archdiocese and will serve as an Air Force chaplain after ministering as a priest in the Diocese of Peoria for three years.

As part of the ritual Bishop Jenky presented the Book of the Gospels to each of the new deacons, using a large ceremonial volume that had belonged to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Then he embraced each of them, as did the priests, transitional deacons and permanent deacons present.
Following the Mass there was a light reception at the Spalding Pastoral Center.

“I’m just elated. I’m so proud of him,” Mary Morales of Normal said of her son, Deacon Bolek. “I feel so blessed. He’s made me a better person.”
She added that she was glad she had a year to prepare for his ordination to the priesthood.

“Maybe then I won’t cry so much,” she said, smiling as she wiped her eyes.

Their summer assignments follow:

— Deacon Joseph Baker: Immaculate Conception in Monmouth, St. Theresa in Alexis, St. Patrick in Raritan, and the St. Augustine Newman Center at Monmouth College.

— Deacon Eric Bolek: St. Patrick in Washington and St. Monica in East Peoria.

— Deacon Adam Cesarek: St. Mary in Metamora and St. Elizabeth in Washburn.

— Deacon Matthew Deptula: St. Mary in Pontiac, St. Joseph in Flanagan, St. John in Cullom and St. Paul in Odell.

— Deacon Alex Millar: St. Malachy in Rantoul and St. Elizabeth of Hungary in Thomasboro.

— Deacon Jacob Valle: Summer activities of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, then St. Pius X in Rock Island.

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