Class of 11, Largest in History of Diocese, Accepted Into Permanent Diaconate Formation Program
SAGINAW — Roughly 50 years ago, the Most Rev. Francis Reh, then Bishop of Saginaw, met with over 2800 fellow bishops in Rome for the Second Vatican Council. Together with the Pope, the bishops decided that the permanent diaconate should be restored in the West. Since then, the Catholic Church in the United States has seen an ongoing rise in the number of both married and single men being ordained as permanent deacons.
The history-making continues this month as a class of unprecedented size will begin the initial phase of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program in the Diocese of Saginaw.
“Serving as a deacon requires a generous heart,” said Dr. Dan Osborn, Director of the Center For Ministry. “I am touched by the sincerity of those who applied. The diaconate often involves meaningful, yet unglamorous work such as hospital ministry, service to the poor among us, and the like.” Dr. Dan Osborn also assists Rev. T.J. Fleming, director of the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program. Fleming is also Pastor of St. Anne Parish, Linwood, St. Valentine Parish, Beaver and Sacred Heart Parish, Kawkawlin.
Below are the names of the 11 men approved by the Most. Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, who will begin their one-year aspirancy period this September. Aspirancy is a time to discern the readiness of an individual to be nominated to the bishop for acceptance as a candidate for diaconal ordination. Candidacy lasts three years.
• Daniel Corbat, St. Brigid of Kildare, Midland
• Lawrence Deford, Blessed Sacrament, Midland
• Librado (Larry) Gayton, St. Joseph, Saginaw
• Steven George, Holy Spirit, Shields
• Timothy Hartwig, St. John the Evangelist, Essexville
• Joseph Henige, St. Michael, Maple Grove
• Richard (Todd) Jones, Ave Maria, Lexington
• Kenneth Kochany, St. Mary of the Assumption, Bay City
• Todd Lovas, Nativity of the Lord, Alma
• Stephen Moser, St. Brigid of Kildare, Midland
• Richard Warner, St. John Vianney, Saginaw
Deacons are ordained to be living icons of Christ the Servant. Under the leadership of their bishop, their ministry is meant to complement the evangelizing efforts of priests, religious, lay ministers and all the lay faithful. Some common duties of deacons include: serving the poor, ministering in prisons and hospitals, and proclaiming the Gospel reading at Mass. They can also preside at weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
Bishops in the United States began to ordain permanent deacons in the early ‘1970s. Currently, there are more than 18,000 deacons in the U.S. with about 3,000 of them retired. There are currently 16 permanent deacons in active ministry in the Diocese of Saginaw.
The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was established by Pope Pius XI on Feb. 26, 1938. Today, it includes 6,955 square miles across Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Sanilac, Saginaw and Tuscola counties.
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