Thursday, May 21, 2015

A sigh of relief

     In the Diocese of Greensburg we have been extremely slow in recognizing and establishing the Order of Permanent Deacon.  When the Permanent Diaconate was reestablished in the Church, our bishop at the time took a cautious approach of "wait and see" how things panned out in other places.  The next bishop took as his focus full support and expansion of the role of the laity in the Church, neglecting this aspect of Holy Orders.  Under Bishop Brandt, we began a program, accepted two good men who were/are teachers, and after their theological preparation and ordination, have been placed in assignments within parishes.  We now have four men who have been preparing for years for ordination to the permanent diaconate in two successive program revisions and establishment of criteria, who have received Candidacy and Ministries and have been called to Orders by Bishop Brandt.  In fact, their date of ordination was set, at long last, for June 13th of this year.

     Then came the acceptance of the resignation of Bishop Brandt at having reached the age limit by Pope Francis and the appointment of Bishop-elect Edward C. Malesic as our new bishop.  Bishop Brandt was elected as Administrator of the Diocese until Bishop-elect Malesic is ordained and installed as the fifth bishop of Greensburg on July 13th.  But here came the rub.  It seems that according to Canon Law when one is ordained they are incardinated into a particular Diocese by making a promise of obedience to the diocesan bishop.  On June 13th we have no diocesan bishop - we have a former one who is an administrator and a soon-to-be one who is not yet ordained a bishop.  Both agree to the Diaconal Ordination, but it seems as if permission had to be received from Rome itself for Bishop Brandt to do the honors.  That permission was received earlier this week, with a great "sigh of relief" from the four men and their families who have planning to do.  One of the men is from our parish, and I kept reassuring his family that an okay would be received.  I am glad that I was right.


     So, with a "sigh of relief" and with God's grace, Stephen Black, Jeff Cieslewicz, Bill Newhouse and Mike Orange will be ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Diocese of Greensburg on the morning of June 13, 2015.  Pray for them and their families and their parishes and this diocese.

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