Photo: Chao Wang
Brothers James (left) and Kenneth intend to become ordained to the priesthood this year.
Deacon Ken Dos Santos, MIC, places his hand on the Gospel during the profession of vows.
Deacon James McCormack, MIC, kneels before the celebrant and homilist for the Mass for the Ordination of Deacons, the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, for the laying on of hands.
The Marians' new deacons, at the reception following the Mass for the Ordination of Deacons on Jan. 9, 2010.
Two Marian brothers — James McCormack, MIC, and Kenneth Dos Santos, MIC — were ordained deacons before family, friends, and loved ones on Jan. 9, 2010, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C.
Both men expect to be called to become ordained to the priesthood this year. Plans call for Deacon Jim to be ordained in July, possibly at his home parish in Burlington, Conn. Brother Ken looks forward to ordination to the priesthood later in December of 2010 or January of 2011 at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.
Inspired by the zeal of the Marians' founder, Bl. Stanislaus Papczynski (1631-1701), and the renovator of the Marians, Bl. George Matulaitis (1871-1927), and also by devotion to Mary Immaculate and promotion of the message of The Divine Mercy, which the Marians have been entrusted to spread throughout the world, both deacons see themselves as soldiers for Christ for the salvation of souls.
'Exorcise the World'
The celebrant and homilist for the Mass for the Ordination of Deacons, the Most Rev. Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, D.C., echoed the Gospel reading from Luke 10:1-9, which discusses how "the harvest is rich but the laborers are few."
Both quoting and paraphrasing from Pope Benedict XVI's book Jesus of Nazareth, specifically on the call of the 12 disciples, Bishop Holley said, "Jesus appoints the 12 to be with Him, and to be sent out to preach. They must be with Him in order to get to know Him; in order to attain the intimate acquaintance with Him that could not be given to the people.
"They must be with Him so as to recognize His oneness with the Father and thus become witnesses to His mystery," Bishop Holley continued. "Being with Jesus and being sent by Him is important. They belong together because they have to learn to be with Him in a way that enables them, even when they go to the ends of the earth, to be with Him still. ... The first task is to preaching; to give people the light of the word, the message of Jesus. To preach the Kingdom."
"Because the world is ruled by the powers of evil, this preaching is at the same time a struggle with those powers," he said. "In following Jesus, His herald has to exorcise the world, to establish a new form of life in the Holy Spirit that brings release to those possessed."
Incidentally, the responsorial Psalm was, "Go out to all the world and tell the good news" (96:1-3,10).
Six other brothers from other congregations — Br. Stephen Fernandes, OFM Cap., Br. Joseph Lamartine Eliscar, MS, Br. Hyacinth Marie Cordell, OP, Br. Ignatius John Schweitzer, OP, Br. Ezra Sullivan, OP, and Br. Austin Dominic Litke, OP — were also ordained deacons during the ceremony, which took place in the Basilica's Crypt Church.
The diaconate has a long history in the Church, going back to Apostolic times. A deacon (from the Greek diakonos, meaning minister or servant) can proclaim the Gospel during Mass, give blessings, and can preach and teach. Deacons also serve as ministers of sacraments. As clerics, deacons are required to recite the Liturgy of the Hours.
Deacon Jim joined the Marians five years ago. Deacon Ken joined nearly eight years ago.
"As I look forward to my ordination," said Deacon Jim, in a recent story on this website, "I greatly desire to give my life entirely to God through a life of hard work in my priestly ministry. I especially look forward to the sacrifice of the Mass, in which the priest unites to Christ's one perfect sacrifice his own offering — his prayers and intentions and his very life — along with the prayers and intentions of all his people.
"The Mass is, therefore, the most perfect expression of priestly self-sacrifice," Deacon Jim continued. "For me, this dimension of self-sacrifice fits perfectly with my Marian vocation, which calls me to work hard for the greater glory of God, the salvation of souls, and the good of the Church."
Deacon Ken says, "Each of us have been called to a special vocation. All of us, if we wish to follow in the footsteps of our Lord, must within these particular vocations love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves."
Both deacons live at the Marian House of Studies on the campus of The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. It's a full house, in fact, due to so many recent vocations.
'For Christ and His Church'
One of their housemates and fellow Marian, Br. Angelo Casimiro, MIC, says that, spiritually and emotionally, he has "grown up with both Deacon Jim and Deacon Ken."
"They are two men filled with abundant zeal for Christ and His Church and who also have a tender love and devotion to Our Lady under the title of the Immaculate Conception," Br. Angelo says. "In the spirit of Bl. George Matulaitis and the late Fr. Mark Garrow, MIC, [the Marians' former Superior General, who died in 2007] Deacon Jim is one of the most gentle souls I have ever known. He also has in his personality this wondrous combination of spiritual wisdom and a dry sense of humor. You can always count on Deacon Jim for sound spiritual advice and an occasional pun.
"With Deacon Ken," Br. Angelo continues, "I have never seen anyone as diligent in his studies. He is very much a man of the heart but also knows how to joke around. When he was still Brother Ken, we all called him BK. He's been known to produce funny slide shows for people's birthdays. I felt like a proud brother as I watched Deacon Jim and Deacon Ken ordained to the diaconate. Watch out as they are going to be both terrific priests one day."
Following the ordination, a reception was held for Deacon Jim and Deacon Ken as well as their family, friends, and fellow Marians at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, near the Marians' House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
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