Diaconate and priestly ordinations celebrated

Originally Appeared in : 9912-6/6/19

In the midmorning on two consecutive Saturdays ordination ceremonies took place in the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist for the Catholic Diocese of Savannah. First on May 25 two seminarians, Carlos Rivero  and Nathanael Swann were ordained by Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., as transitional deacons – that is to say deacons on a path to the priesthood. On June 1, Deacon Patrick May was ordained a priest after completing seven years of seminary studies including a pastoral year as a transitional deacon.


Family, friends, classmates, and supporters from throughout the diocese were in attendance for both the diaconate ceremony and the Sacrament of Holy Orders.


Speaking in his homily at Father Patrick May’s ordination Bishop Hartmayer said, “Patrick, my son, and brother, has responded to the call that Jesus gave to him. You will minister with authority and power but remember Patrick, as Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel: ‘Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant.’”


He continued, “Every priest and bishop knows the truth: That it is God who has chosen us. For we know our own weakness, we know our own sinfulness, and yet, just as Jesus spoke to the twelve …..the words ‘Come, follow me’, so too, does Patrick hear those words in his own heart. In sanctifying the People of God, you will be called to make them holy through the sacraments of the Church. You are to embrace the celebration of every sacrament with great humility. You will anoint the sick, you will hear confessions, and most importantly, you will celebrate the Eucharist.”


“[Patrick] Jesus desires you to have Joy, but always remember it is on his terms, not yours. Only in your surrender to him will you be led to that joy, to the joy of the priesthood no matter where you serve, whether it is the rural areas of our diocese or the city or in the missions. Every priest is to be that joy of Christ and will be that joy if he recognizes he is exercising the ministry of Christ no matter where he is.”


In his homily, before ordaining Rivero and Swann, Bishop Hartmayer noted the traditional establishment of the order of deacons, “Nathanael and Carlos, the Apostles, assured the first deacons that when they act out of love, the Spirit of God will be with them in their struggles to find the words and the courage to confront evil and hurt, to challenge those who threaten to harm them and those they loved.” Outlining a portion of a deacon’s charge he said, “The deacon, the servant of Jesus, is the one who, like his master, goes out to the poor, the lowly, the rejected, and those in the shadow of death. As a deacon, you are to carry, to those on the periphery of society, the Father’s infinite and unconditional love. Moreover, you are to do so, not at a distance but through identification: you are to become poor with the poor; you are to suffer from those who suffer; you are to enter into the hopelessness of the desperate in order to convince them that ‘nothing can ever come between us and the love of Jesus Christ.’ ’’

See more photographs from both ordinations on our online gallery.

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