Deacon Michael Cihak, as well as the other newly ordained deacons, Deacon Larry Loumena and Deacon José Montoya, served as a Eucharistic Minister after their ordination.
Deacon Michael Cihak, as well as the other newly ordained deacons, Deacon Larry Loumena and Deacon José Montoya, served as a Eucharistic Minister after their ordination.

At October’s ordination to the permanent diaconate at St. Mary’s Cathedral, the front pews were filled with the wives, children and grandchildren of the three men being ordained — a lively and attentive group.

On the altar, among the priests, was yet another son of one of the men: Msgr. John Cihak, who had flown back from his post at the Vatican, at Pope Francis’ side, in order to see his father, now Deacon Michael Cihak, be ordained.

“It was moving,” Msgr. Cihak said. “I was proud, very proud. And it’s also meaningful to have that further connection with my father — because as a priest I’m still part of the diaconate.”

A crowd filled the cathedral to witness — and applaud — the ordinations of Michael Raymond Cihak, Larry Alan Loumena and José Arturo Montoya.

They also heard a lesson from Archbishop Alexander Sample, who explained the role of deacons. There are three holy orders in the Church: the episcopacy, the priesthood and the diaconate, the order of holy servers, as was described in the second reading, Acts 6:1-7: “… the Twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.”

The archbishop asked the men to hold the image from the Gospel reading, John 12:24-26: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

Archbishop Sample asked the three men to hold that image of laying down their lives, dying to themselves so that their ministry can bear the fruit of the Kingdom of God.

“You are being put to the service of the people from whom you’ve been called,” he said.

That service, he taught, was service to the Word of God, service to the altar and service to charity.

Regarding the Word of God, their challenge would be to preach with truth and conviction, to communicate in new ways that will reach people’s hearts.

At the altar, their duty will be to serve the sacraments that the Church allows them.

Archbishop Sample said that their service to charity was often overlooked, despite the fact that it was why the first deacons were chosen.

After the homily, the archbishop called forward the men, who each promised to respect and obey him. They then prostrated themselves as the Cathedral choir led the ancient litany of supplication to the saints.

Then came the laying on of hands, the moment that each man became a deacon.

Deacons Cihak, Loumena and Montoya were then vested in their new robes and given the book of the Gospels. The archbishop and all the brother deacons present then gave each man a brotherly kiss.

The men’s wives were presented with a bouquet of yellow roses, with Archbishop Sample noting the sacrifices that the women had made in supporting their husbands’ journeys to the diaconate.

Including Deacons Cihac, Loumena and Montoya, the Archdiocese of Portland now has 68 deacons actively serving, 89 deacons in total.