After a delay of nearly three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, two transitional deacons will be ordained on Aug. 1 as priests for service in the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.
Deacon Joshua James Cochrac and Deacon Joseph Patrick Robinson will be ordained by Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries. Some adjustments are being made to the traditional ordination celebration because of the health crisis.
As is the case in churches across the eight-county diocese, face masks are to be worn and capacity in the church during the ordination Mass is strictly limited to allow for social distancing. As a result, only invited guests can attend the liturgy. In addition to Bishop Gries and the concelebrants, invited guests include the Saint Mary Seminary faculty, members of the diocesan hierarchy, the pastors of the soon-to-be-ordained priests’ home parishes and the parishes where they will serve as parochial vicars, their spiritual advisors, family members and friends.
Also, in accordance with recommended health and safety guidelines during the pandemic, singing will be limited. A socially distanced vocal quartet will sing in place of the usual choir. Other key parts of the ordination liturgy, including the laying on of hands, will take place, said Father Michael Woost of Saint Mary Seminary.
The two transitional deacons, who have completed five years of formation and study at Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology, received master’s degrees in May and were to have been ordained as priests on May 16. During the delay, both deacons said they have spent time centering themselves and focusing on their upcoming priestly ministry.
As is normally the case, they are spending the week prior to ordination on retreat.
“There’s been plenty of time to pray,” Deacon Robinson said.
Although both admitted they were sad about the delay in their ordination, they are excited now that the big day is nearly here.
“It’s been a unique year,” said Deacon Cochrac. “It’s been a time of unknowns, but also a time to trust in God’s goodness. We are still able to celebrate our ordination, just in a different way and time.”
Deacon Robinson said he used the time of extra silence to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus. “It’s not a time of disappointment. It’s been a chance to have an extra period of formation and reflection,” he added.
Deacon Cochrac is the son of Gwen and the late Raymond Cochrac. His home parish is St. Mary of the Falls in Olmsted Falls.
Deacon Robinson is the son of Timothy and Faith Robinson. His home parish is Mary Queen of the Apostles in Brook Park.
After ordination, Deacon Cochrac will minister as a parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Parma and Deacon Robinson will be a parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish in North Ridgeville.