For four years they’ve been praying, studying and reflecting — preparing themselves to serve their church to the fullest. On Friday their training was celebrated when Bishop Blase Cupich, of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane, ordained them into the diaconate.
Eighteen men from Spokane, Brewster, Pullman, Spokane Valley, Colbert, Deer Park, Walla Wall, Twisp and Newport can now officially serve in the ministries of Word, Liturgy and Charity.
“This sacrament is about what’s happening to those being ordained,” Cupich said. “It’s about what’s happening in the church, this church…it’s about what this sacrament keeps alive in this time and in this place.”
In the Catholic Church deacons have the authority to proclaim the Gospel during services and serve as an ordinary minister during Holy Communion. They can also assist in Baptisms, funerals and weddings and can give certain blessings and preside over various services.
Deacon Eric Meisfjord, editor of the Inland Register, wrote that deacons also have, “the special task of interpreting for the rest of the church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the ecclesial and wider communities.” He added much of their time will be devoted to serving the sick, hungry, homeless and educating Catholic youth.
Cupich said deacons are crucial and allow priests to devote more of their time to teaching.
He said deacons, too, need to teach others about Christ and always be a “testament of the risen Lord.” This is done, he said, through hospitality.
Cupich said the deacons will minister to those whose first language isn’t church.
“People are seeking, people are lost…ambivalent, we have so many people like that in our midst, who don’t speak our language, but we need to listen to Christ…reach out to them,” he said.
Friends and family of the newly ordained deacons gathered at McCarthy Center at Gonzaga University to witness the ordination.
The deacons will be serving the following parishes:
Jose Aparicio, 58, Sacred Heart Parish in Brewster
Bonifacio Arebalo, 44, Sacred Heart Parish in Brewster
Craig Blomgren, 57, Assumption Parish in Spokane
H. Rov. Buck, 65, St. Francis Xavier Parish in Spokane
Brian Ernst, 54, Sacred Heart Parish in Spokane
James Evermann, 67, Sacred Heart Parish in Pullman
Dan Glatt, 47, Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Spokane
Thomas Heavey, 53, St. Thomas More Parish in Spokane
James Kestell, 56, St. Joseph Parish in Colbert
Victor Lopez, 57, Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane
Perry Pearman, 59, St. Mary’s Presentation Parish in Deer Park
Allen Peterson, 66, St. Anthony Parish in Spokane
Maclobio Robles, 39, St. Patrick Parish in Walla Walla
Nick Senger, 47, St. Peter Parish in Spokane
Jim Schwarzer, 61, St. Anthony Parish in Spokane
Jose David Torrest, 47, St. Joseph Parish in Spokane
William Wehmeyer, 66, St. Genevieve Parish, Twisp
John Westover, 65, St. Anthony Parish in Newport
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Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Scholarly Assistant Professor at Washington State University.