Three men in formation to become permanent deacons for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland were instituted to the ministry of acolyte by Archbishop-designate Nelson Perez during the Saturday vigil Mass at St. Bernard Church in downtown Akron on Feb. 8.
Matthew Thomas Grasson from SS. Cosmas & Damian Parish in Twinsburg, Jeno Kiraly from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Lorain and Matthew John Lawler from St. Joseph Parish in Strongsville are the new acolytes. The institution to acolyte is a step in the five-year permanent diaconate formation process, which also includes study, prayer, reflection and service. Their new ministry as acolytes includes assisting the priest and deacon at the altar during Mass. They will serve during liturgies, help distribute holy Communion and purify sacred vessels.
In his homily, Archbishop-designate Perez thanked the wives of the candidates for their willingness to sacrifice their husbands’ time and attention as the deacon candidates exercise their ministry in the Church. He also said that these men were especially blessed to have been called to a deeper service as they live out their Catholic faith more intensely. Reflecting on the Gospel reading from St. Matthew, the archbishop-designate explained how Jesus used the example of salt as a preservative in the ancient world as a metaphor for our lives today as we are “to be missionary disciples called to preserve the sacredness of God in the world by the way we live.”
A reception in the parish hall followed the liturgy.
The permanent diaconate is a distinct ordained ministry of the Church. As sacramental signs of the servant God, fulfilled in Christ, deacons are called to serve the Church and the community in three areas: the ministry of the Word of God, the ministry of the liturgy/worship, and the ministry of charity and justice. Deacons function in all three areas: service in the transmission of the Word, service in the celebration of the sacraments and service in the community’s active love.
For more information on the ministry of deacon in the Diocese of Cleveland, click HERE.