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“Don’t say that you’re too young!”: Four men ordained to the transitional diaconate

During the diaconate ordination this past Saturday, February 10th, in The Cathedral Basilica of The Immaculate Conception in Denver, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila told the four candidates to not feel too young when responding to the call of God. The new deacons are Julio Cesar Amezcua, Witold Kaczmarazyk, Adam Baradshaw and Mateusz Ratajczak.

The Archbishop referred to the first reading, taken from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, when the Lord told him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you,” to which Jeremiah responded: “Ah Lord God! I know not how to speak; I am too young.”

“Never fear speaking of God, never fear speaking the truth always in charity and with love,” exhorted the archbishop to the four candidates.

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila exchanges the fraternal kiss of peace with Adam Bradshaw (R) during the Mass of Holy Orders Ordination of Deacons at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on February 10, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Denver Catholic)

“You, my beloved sons, as ordained deacons will be entrusted with proclaiming the Word of God, proclaiming the Gospel, preaching and teaching,” he later said. Following this, he told them that in this stage of the diaconate, “Whether you are presiding a wedding or whether you celebrate the rites of the Church, you are called to constantly proclaim Jesus Christ, to proclaim his Word and not your word.”

With respect to the Gospel, the archbishop emphasized that it’s necessary to die in order to give the fruits of eternal life. This death signifies that Jesus “will fulfill also his promises that he will give us the joy of the Gospel, even in the suffering that we may experience, that joy is always there and there is a joy that no one can take.”

Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila lays his hands on Witold Kaczmarzyk and prays the prayer of ordination during the Mass of Holy Orders Ordination of Deacons at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on February 10, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Anya Semenoff/Denver Catholic)

Then, Archbishop Aquila reminded them of the vow of celibacy that they would make a few moments later: “Giving yourselves completely first to the trinity — to the Father, to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, following in the steps of Jesus and in the steps of the apostles who gave up everything, even marriage, to follow Jesus”.

He warned them: “Celibacy is not easy, as marriage is not easy. Ask the married couples. They will tell you”. He continued telling them that celibacy is a gift of the Church and that being faithful to this promise will allow them to have a free, undivided heart for pastoral service. He indicated to them that to support this promise, “Jesus always come first,” and he advised that they “pray for the grace of chastity. Do not depend on yourselves but depend on the Lord and the spirit and trust that he will give you the grace. It is the Eucharist that sustains us.”

At the end of the mass, the Archbishop thanked all of those present who were testaments of this ordination. To the parents that gave them life and the gift of their Catholic faith, to the seminary rectors for their work in formation, and also for the four new deacons; for their “yes” to the Lord’s call and for their open hearts to the Lord as a sign of the power of the love of Jesus Christ.

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