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With Awe and Joy, Newly Ordained Deacons Embrace Road Ahead
Chris Sheridan
Deacon John McCormack kneels as Cardinal Dolan silently lays his hands upon his head in the rite of ordination.

Eleven men arrived at a common junction June 23 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Each lay prostrate on the altar while their families prayed for them. Rising, they took their final steps together before each would depart again on a separate road to a common destination. But each would now travel forward, in Cardinal Dolan’s words, “as an ordained minister of the Church. ”

“Every journey in life has a beginning and an end,” Cardinal Dolan said in his homily just before each man knelt before him to promise their respect and obedience. “Now my brother deacons, soon to be, we celebrate with you, where you come from and where you are going. He called you and designated you on this journey and now he seals this today in the sacrament of holy orders.”

“You are made a deacon to continue that journey,” the cardinal explained. “You come from God and you are going back to him as a deacon. And you are going to remind us through your vocation that we come from God and we are destined to return to him for all eternity.”

Cardinal Dolan then invited the congregation to pray as the 11 men prostrated themselves before the altar in a sign of service while the Litany of Saints was song. Following the laying on of hands signifying ordination, the deacons were vested with their stole and dalmatic, which symbolizes Christ on the cross.

More than 50 deacons processed and assisted at the Mass and then welcomed the new deacons into their midst. Cardinal Dolan thanked the families of the newly created deacons, especially their wives for sharing their husbands with the archdiocese.

“When we were prostrated on the altar and the Litany of Saints was being sung behind us, I was trembling,” acknowledged Deacon John McCormack, a corporate vice president of sales and marketing. “It just filled me, I just felt so powerfully the Holy Spirit through the voices of the people. It was incredible for me.”

The cardinal’s homily had particular resonance for Deacon Paul Smith, a retired high school English teacher in the Katonah-Lewisboro School District.

“The journey to this point has been wonderful,” he said. “It is the journey ahead that is mysterious, that I don’t know where it’s going to bring me. But I do feel like I’ve been prepared for it, especially with the witnesses in my life, my parents, the priests of this diocese, the people that I met in formation. I am learning so much from them and hopefully that will help me on my way.”

His wife, Sarah, shared his wonder. “I’m just in awe of the entire process and what we’ve been through together already,” she said, “and I’m not fearful, I don’t have any trepidation. I am excited about what comes next.”

Deacon Donald Prendergast, a mental health technician at Bon Secours Hospital in Port Jervis, told CNY he too was ready for the journey ahead. “Words cannot adequately explain the feelings I have. What a tremendous gift, a tremendous honor that the Lord Jesus has offered me to serve him in his Church,” he said. “With the power of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit I believe that I am prepared.”

Deacon Appointments

The Cardinal’s Office has announced the following parish appointments for the newly ordained deacons effective June 23.

Deacon Thomas Barbagallo

St. Paul the Apostle, Yonkers

Deacon Scott Bierbaum

St. James the Apostle, Carmel

Deacon Thomas Finnerty

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Staten Island

Deacon Alexander Gapay

St. Joseph, Middletown

Deacon Dennis J. Hogan

Our Lady Queen of Peace, Staten Island

Deacon John McCormack

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Lagrangeville

Deacon Christopher Mendoza

St. Columbanus, Cortlandt Manor

Deacon Rommel Pampolina

St. Mary, Mother of the Church, Fishkill

Deacon Donald Prendergast

Holy Cross, Middletown

Deacon Paul Smith

St. Mary, Mother of the Church, Fishkill

Deacon James Suchy

St. Augustine, New City


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