Admitted to candidacy for Holy Orders, 21 men form Permanent Deacon Class XI

The 21 men in Permanent Deacon Class XI pose with Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, after being admitted as candidates for Holy Orders during Mass on Aug. 18 at St. Mary's Cathedral in Peoria. Standing behind the bishop are Deacon Ed Mallow, Deacon Gary Koerner, Deacon Todd Weber, and Deacon Joe Knapp, members of the team working with the deacon candidates. Concelebrating with the bishop were Father Donald Levitt (far left) of Christ the King, Moline, and Father Mark DeSutter of Sacred Heart, Moline, the pastors of three of the candidates. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Declaring their resolve to complete their preparation for Holy Orders and assume ministry within the church, 21 men were admitted to candidacy for the permanent diaconate by Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, on Aug. 18.

The Ritual for Candidacy took place during the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. Father Donald Levitt of Christ the King, Moline; Father Mark DeSutter of Sacred Heart, Moline; and Father Alexander Millar of the Heart of Peoria Catholic Community, pastors of four of the deacon candidates, concelebrated the liturgy with Bishop Jenky.

“Once they have been duly tested, we will call and ordain them, marking them with the seal of the Holy Spirit for the ministry of God and the church.” — Bishop Jenky

“Those whom God chooses to be sharers in the ministerial priesthood of Christ, he prompts and helps with his grace,” the bishop said in his homily. “Once they have been duly tested, we will call and ordain them, marking them with the seal of the Holy Spirit for the ministry of God and the church.”

That ministry includes preaching the word and the celebration of the sacraments, Bishop Jenky explained.

The deacon candidates have spent one year as inquirers and another year as aspirants. They have three more years of formation, and the bishop encouraged them to “learn each day to live according to the Gospel and to be strengthened in faith, hope and charity.”

“By practicing these virtues, you will grow in the spirit of prayer and in zeal to win all mankind for Christ,” he said. “On the part of all of us, trusting in the Lord, we will assist you with our love and prayer.”


As the Ritual for Candidacy began, each man was called by name. Standing and bowing to the bishop, they responded, “Present,” and stepped into the cathedral’s main aisle.

Family and friends show their joy as the 21 members of Permanent Deacon Class XI were accepted as candidates for Holy Orders on Aug. 18. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Bishop Jenky questioned them as a group, asking about their intention to complete their preparation “to give faithful service to Christ the Lord and his Body, the Church.”

After accepting them, he said, “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment,” and led an extended round of applause for the new members of Permanent Deacon Class XI.

They are: Jon (Kim) Baker of St. Patrick, Tolono; Jeff (Lynette) Brady, St. Jude, Peoria; Michael (Marie) Burge, Our Lady of the Lake, Mahomet; Mark (Gail) Bursott, Holy Family, Peoria; Terry (Amy) Dixon and Tom (Peggy) Dwyer, both of St. Mark, Peoria; Daniel (Jennifer) Fandel and Richard (Kelly) Flavin, both of St. Mary of Lourdes, Germantown Hills; Don (Lisa) Fox, St. John the Baptist, Rapids City; and Daniel (Debra) Froelich, St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington.

Also accepted as deacon candidates were: Kevin (Susanna) Hernandez of Christ the King, Moline; Matt Martel, Sacred Heart, Moline; Marco (Alba) Martinez, St. Mary, Moline; Tom (Deborah) Mattan, St. Malachy, Geneseo; Michael (Denise) Maynard, Sacred Heart, Moline; Troy (Teresa) Morris, St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington; Brian (Michelle) Reynolds, St. Bernard, Peoria; David (Leanne) Schug, St. Matthew, Champaign; Curtis Theyse, St. Mary, Canton; Robert (Shauna) Thoene, St. Malachy, Geneseo; and Raymond (Cecilia) White, St. Mary, Pontiac.

Msgr. Timothy Nolan, episcopal vicar for the permanent diaconate, said the next step will come in August 2020 when they receive the ministry of lector. The following year they will receive the ministry of acolyte.

“The good Lord willing,” he said, they will be ordained in May 2022.

The deacon candidates and their wives will continue to attend sessions one weekend each month for the next three years. Assisting in their formation are Deacon Joe Knapp of Holy Trinity and Historic St. Patrick in Bloomington and pastoral care at OSF HealthCare Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria; Deacon Gary Koerner of St. Mary, Downs; Deacon Ed Mallow of St. Thomas the Apostle, Peoria Heights; and Deacon Todd Weber of Holy Trinity and Historic St. Patrick, Bloomington, and St. Patrick, Wapella.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops notes that the diaconate is the first of three ranks of ordained ministry in the church. Those preparing for the priesthood are called transitional deacons, while those not planning to be ordained priests are called permanent deacons.

The other two ranks of ordained ministry are priests and bishops.

As ministers of the Word, permanent deacons may proclaim the Gospel and preach. They may also baptize, witness marriages, and lead wake and funeral services. The third area of ministry to which they are called is charity.

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