Eleven men were ordained to the permanent diaconate for the archdiocese June 21 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
As ordaining bishop and principal celebrant of the 9 a.m. Mass, Cardinal Dolan shed light on the significance of the conferral of the sacred order of deacon in concurrence with the summer solstice, which signifies the first day of summer and the day of the year that has the most hours of sunlight.
He referenced a simultaneous yet unrelated event in Times Square that Saturday for sun worshippers.
“You could be there, at Times Square, to worship the sun,” the cardinal told the vast cathedral congregation. “You have chosen to be at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to worship the S-o-n, the Son, the only begotten Son of God,” the cardinal continued, which caused the assembly to burst into thunderous applause before he concluded, “who is the deacon of the Eternal Father.”
The 11 new deacons are: Deacon Santos T. Arroyo, 60, of St. Lucy’s parish, the Bronx; Deacon John A. Barbera, 53, St. Augustine’s, Ossining; Deacon Angel J. Camacho, 47, St. Frances de Chantal, the Bronx; Deacon Michael J. Correale, 57, St. Martin de Porres, Poughkeepsie; Deacon John A. Duffy, 63, St. Eugene’s, Yonkers; Deacon Gerald T. Fenton, 65, St. Ann’s, Nyack; Deacon Richard M. Marino, 57, Immaculate Conception-St. Mary’s, Port Jervis; Deacon Samir L. Mobarek, 59, St. Augustine’s, New City; Deacon Daniel Moliterno, 62, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Elmsford; Deacon Jose L. Velasquez, 56, St. Joseph’s, Yonkers, and Deacon Arthur P. Weiner, 65, St. James the Apostle, Carmel.
“The grace of God has overwhelmed me; I’m undeserving of the call,” Deacon Camacho said after the liturgy.
As the wife of a permanent deacon plays an integral role in the diaconal ministry, Deacon Camacho was quick to acknowledge his. “I thank my wife, who has been an unwavering support of love and forgiveness, with Christ in her heart, in our 24 years of marriage,” he said of Ingrid.
The people Deacon Camacho will serve were also on his mind. “I look forward to serving the people of the Archdiocese of New York as a deacon with an open heart.”
The highlight of the rite for Deacon Camacho was the laying on of hands by Cardinal Dolan. “I felt a change in me instantly,” he said. “Something happened in my mind that was a metanoia, a transformation, that I’ve never felt before—to be a disciple of Christ and to serve his people.”
A former intelligence specialist with the U.S. Department of Justice, Deacon Camacho is an adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminial Justice in Manhattan. “I think God is going to use me as an instrument to open up the young minds of future criminal justice professionals so that they may see the world with an open heart and with the heart of Christ,” he said.
Concelebrants were Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh, vicar general and vicar for clergy; episcopal and regional vicars; pastors and archdiocesan and religious priests.
Deacon of the Word was Deacon Francis Orlando, director of diaconate formation in the archdiocesan Permanent Diaconate Office. Deacon of the Eucharist was newly ordained Deacon Moliterno.
“My hope was to form a true fraternity with them,” Deacon Orlando said after the rite. “I hope I’ve done that. I see in them a love for each other and certainly there is a great deal of love coming from me to them.
“We’re getting in the Archdiocese of New York 11 very able, very capable, very loving men who have the hearts of deacon,” he added. “They want to serve God, they want to serve his people. These men will do it; they will make all things new.”
Early in the rite, speaking on behalf of the Church and those in charge of the candidates’ formation, Msgr. Peter Vaccari, rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie where the men received their diaconal instruction, asked the cardinal to ordain the men as deacons. After the rector assured the cardinal all 11 had been properly formed for the ministry, the cardinal announced his intention to accept the rector’s recommendation.
Deacon Arroyo, a construction worker, also planned to apply his diaconal ministry to his trade outside the church walls.
He spoke about that opportunity after the ceremony as he and his classmates took their places at assigned side chapels in the cathedral proper to administer prayers upon family, friends and other well-wishers.
“I’m able to evangelize, surprisingly enough, to a lot of construction workers who are coming back to the faith,” he said. “They ask me for advice and prayers, so I’m more than happy to be there for them. We need Jesus.”
Deacon Arroyo and wife Isabel have been married for 27 years. They have three daughters and five grandchildren.
Ariana Vasquez, Deacon Arroyo’s 10-year-old granddaughter, was delighted that there is now a deacon in her family. “My grandpa has been ordained; it’s a big responsibility to be one. Now he could bless my house. If I see any bad things, he could get rid of it, because he’s a part of God’s home.
“He’s a good grandpa,” added Ariana, who will have a glowing report about her first day of summer when she returns to Visitation School in the Bronx as a fifth-grader next year. “He’s taught me the Ten Commandments, some of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. He’s read to me the Bible and I pray with him at night.”
Isabel Salcedo-Arroyo, Deacon Arroyo’s wife, is proud of her husband and the Church. “Not just this day, but every time there is an ordination in our Catholic faith, it is the fulfillment of what Christ started, and a celebration of what He did,” she said. “The beauty of it rests in the crucified Christ.”
A convert to Catholicism at age 26, Deacon Weiner is retired from a career in the judicial branch of the State of Connecticut Juvenile Probation Services. He and wife Carol have two living children—a daughter and a son—two grandchildren and a deceased son. “I pray that for us and for all the new deacons, and for all the families, that we would serve God faithfully to the last breath of our lives,” he said.