October 28, 2013 | Volume 88, Number 26
Deacon Edward J. Handel, of St. John the Evangelist, Waynesboro, receives the Laying on of Hands from Bishop DiLorenzo.
New Deacons likened to ‘Superheroes’
I n his exuberance of welcoming 19 men who were presenting themselves to be ordained deacons for the Diocese of Richmond, Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo compared them to “superheroes” comic strip lore and early TV.
Among those he mentioned was Superman, alias Clark Kent, who fought for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”
Others included Steve Rogers and, “Let’s not forget, ladies, Wonder Woman,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.
Deacon Philip P. Wilkinson, of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Yorktown, receives the Book of the Gospels from Bishop DiLorenzo.
The bishop made his remarks during the homily at the ordination liturgy, Oct. 19, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.
“Dare I suggest that there are elements of a superhero among those of you who are presenting yourself today?” the bishop asked rhetorically.
“You’ve got to be a special kind of person,” he said. “You are willing to get out there and present yourself as a servant leader.
“You certainly are intelligent and you are role models,” Bishop DiLorenzo continued.
Deacon William E. “Eddie” Craig, of Holy Name of Mary, Bedford, makes the promise of obedience.
“Young people look at you and the very fact that you are a public person makes you—in their eyes—a curiosity.”
While acknowledging that the new deacons have goals for their future, he encouraged them to pursue one in particular.
“It’s to be first and foremost in a deep relationship with Jesus Christ,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.
“We’re here as a church, as a community with the lay faithful, your friends and your fellow parishioners.”
In addition to preaching the Word of God and proclaiming the Gospel, deacons are expected to visit the sick and those in nursing homes, and give baptismal instruction to parents of new babies.
“You’ll probably be the first contact with the Church many have had in a long time,” Bishop DiLorenzo said.
Wives assisted in the Investiture with Stole and Dalmatic. At the left are Deacon Stanley J. Stefanowicz, of St. John the Evangelist, Marion, and Christ the King, Abingdon, with his wife, Patricia.
He also addressed the deacon’s role in marriage preparation where they could expect challenges.
“Sometimes it doesn’t fit the nice and neat categories you and I were raised in,” he said.
He spoke of other ways in which a deacon might serve in parish ministry, depending on his skills.
“Our parishes need deacons who have a sense of finance and some could be business managers,” Bishop DiLorenzo suggested.
Others could provide outreach to the poor and to persons with disabilities.
“This is the exciting work and challenge of being a deacon,” he said and concluded, “For that, we thank you for coming forward. We thank your wives, your families.
“I thank the priests who will be working with you."