Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Archbishop John Vlazny with soon-to-be Deacons José Manuel Campos Garcia, Paolo John Dayto, Rodel de Mesa, James Graham, Joseph Nguyen, Arturo Romero-Bautista, Federico Dundas, Maximo Stock, Peter Rang Nguyen.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Gerry Lewin
Archbishop John Vlazny with soon-to-be Deacons José Manuel Campos Garcia, Paolo John Dayto, Rodel de Mesa, James Graham, Joseph Nguyen, Arturo Romero-Bautista, Federico Dundas, Maximo Stock, Peter Rang Nguyen.
In a back corner of St. Mary Cathedral Saturday, two boys sat with stars in their eyes. Adrian Garcia-Garfias, 13, and Daniel Tapia-Garfias, 11, had come from Cornelius to see their uncle and eight other men ordained as deacons on the way to priesthood.  

Adrian and Daniel know Rev. Mr. José Manuel Campos-Garcia as a "nice guy" and a "good uncle." In a year or so, the boys will know him as "Father," too.

The large cathedral and its stained glass windows — plus the international crowd of almost 1,000 — gave the boys a sense that the Catholic community is much larger than St. Alexander Church, their home parish.

The ordination was a day on which the universality of the church was displayed clearly. Those ordained have family backgrounds from Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Spanish speakers, English speakers, Vietnamese and Filipinos served as liturgical ministers. A long line of clergy — itself a diverse group — processed into the church and worshipers of many nationalities and lined the walls and stood in stairways, straining to see the ancient rite.

The crowd broke into loud and sustained applause when Father Kelly Vandehey, vocations director for the archdiocese, proclaimed the candidates for ordination worthy and Archbishop John Vlazny accepted the report.

The archbishop, a baseball fan, looked out fondly at the nine new deacons and proclaimed them "a team that will definitely be a winner." He said they may strike out some days, or make errors, but predicted that with God's grace and with the support of the people of God, they will succeed.

"These nine men have heard the Lord's call in their hearts, in the church," the archbishop said during his homily. "It is their goal to serve rather than to be served."

Archbishop Vlazny told the nine that this should be their refrain in life: "Here I am. What can I do to help?"

The nine lay prostrate as the congregation sang a litany of saints and then the archbishop ordained them by laying hands on their heads. Family members helped the new deacons into vestments before they knelt before the archbishop again to receive the book of Gospels with these words: "Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach."

The large ordination class — expected to become priests next spring — is a sign of the increasing number of seminarians in the Archdiocese of Portland, a trend that will continue next fall with the entrance of 10-15 young men into formation. The archdiocese's capital campaign in seeking funds to help pay for the increased costs of the education.