Cassidy Stinson and the other four candidates for the diaconate lie prostrate — an act of surrender to God — as the congregation chants the Litany of the Saints. More photos and story, Page 3. (Photo/Mickle Photography)

Brian T. Olszewski, The Catholic Virginian

More than 500 people were in attendance at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Saturday, May 19, as Bishop Barry C. Knestout ordained his first transitional deacons as bishop of the Diocese of Richmond.

The newly ordained are Deacons M. Tochi Iwuji, Christopher Masla, Daniel Molochko, Kyle O’Connor and Cassidy Stinson. All are on track to be ordained to the priesthood in spring 2019.

The congregation applauds, from left, Kyle O’Connor, Cassidy Stinson, Daniel Molochko, Christopher Masla and M. Tochi Iwuji after Bishop Barry C. Knestout judges them to be worthy candidates for the diaconate and elects them for ordination. They are the first transitional deacons the bishop has ordained for the Diocese of Richmond. (Photos/Mickle Photography)

Bishop Knestout addressed the first part of his homily to the congregation and to those about to be ordained.

“To receive the help of the Holy Spirit and proclaim the faith in word and action, to bring to others our faith and reach out in charity to all in need, is a call that every disciple receives in his or her own initiation into the life of the Church,” he said of that “universal call.”

Bishop Knestout noted the way in which the deacon’s ministry is linked to the bishop’s.

“Their primary work is to address the charitable needs of the Church! Yet at the same time they will be called to assist at the altar, to preach and to teach in the name of the Church,” he said.

The bishop spoke to the candidates about the tasks before them — peaching and teaching, leading people to holiness, celebrating sacraments, and being stewards of the Church’s mission.

Speaking about the “daunting task” of New Evangelization in a secular age, Bishop Knestout said, “It is the task of calling all God’s children to the awareness and experience of God’s love – love proclaimed in the Gospel today (Jn 15:9-17). But, also to do this with new ardor, new methods and new expressions suited to the present time and circumstances.”

The bishop said the love of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel changes one’s focus from self toward God and neighbor.

“You, today, are configured to Christ the Servant and, with the grace of ordination, you are to become in a very real sense, in your ongoing efforts to live out this diaconal call, icons of charity, of God’s sacrificial love for each of us in the Paschal Mystery of Christ,” he said.

Christopher Masla stands as he called forward to be presented as a candidate for the Order of Deacons.

Drawing upon words in the Rite of  Ordination, which followed his homily, Bishop Knestout told the candidates to follow Jesus’ example.

“As deacons, that is, as ministers of Jesus Christ, who came among his disciples as one who served, do the will of God from the heart: serve the people in love and joy as you would the Lord,” he said.

The bishop reminded the five men to remain focused on that to which they have been called.

“Never allow yourselves to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel,” he said. “Now you are not only hearers of this Gospel but also its ministers.”

Deacon Daniel Molochko hugs his father after being vested with the stole and dalmatic during the Mass.

More than 500 people were in attendance at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Richmond, Saturday, May 19, to celebrate the ordination of five transitional deacons for the Diocese of Richmond.