Br. Juan Elias Medina, Mark Ontiro Gikenyi and O. Bryce McProud enter Mount Angel Abbey Church for their ordination as deacons.
ST. BENEDICT — Archbishop John Vlazny on Feb. 1 ordained three men as transitional deacons. The three, who hope to be ordained priests in the near future, come from diverse ways of life.
Rev. Mr. Mark Gikenyi was born in 1978 in Kenya. One of nine children, he obtained a bachelor's degree from the Salvatorian Institute of Philosophy and Theology in Morogoro, Tanzania in 2005 and entered Mount Angel Seminary in 2006.
Rev. Mr. Bryce McProud was born in 1948 in Moscow, Idaho. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1978 and served in Yakima, Wash., Albany and Eugene.
In 2005, he wrote a book about the Archbishop of Canterbury's efforts to maintain unity in the Anglican Communion, in which members were debating issues such as the blessing of same-sex relationships. He renounced Episcopal Orders in 2008 and became Catholic. He and his wife Deanna have a son and two grandchildren.
Rev. Mr. Juan Medina, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Friars, was born in 1981 in Redwood City, Calif. He entered the seminary in 2004. He has earned a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Mount Angel Seminary and a Sacred Theology bachelor degree from the Pontifical University of Teresianum in Rome.
"All three of you must never allow yourselves, in the face of so many contemporary challenges, to be turned away from the hope offered by the gospel," Archbishop Vlazny said during his homily at the morning ordination Mass, held in the church at Mount Angel Abbey.
The archbishop said the new deacons are to be a sign that Christ came not to be served, but to serve.
"In a particular way they should be leaders in identifying the needs of others and marshalling the church’s resources to meet those needs," the archbishop explained.
He reminded the three and the whole congregation that the essential mission of the church is evangelization — proclaiming the good news, calling people to conversion and building up the kingdom of God on earth. Ordained ministers, the archbishop said, are essentially meant to empower others to take on the tasks.