Fr. Mike Biewend helps Rev. Mr. Francisco Bringuela with deacon vestments.
At the start of the ordination rite for deacons Saturday at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland, worshipers showed their enthusiasm for four candidates with a loud and sustained round of applause.
"It sounds like they really want you to be deacons," said a smiling Archbishop Alexander Sample.
The new deacons, who now bear the title Rev. Mr., are Francisco Bringuela, Martin Tavares, Moises Leal, and Julio Torres. Rev. Mr. Bringuela was born in The Philippines. Rev. Mr. Tavares was born in Mexico, as were Rev. Mr. Leal and Rev. Mr. Torres. All four will continue their studies in theology working toward ordination to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Portland. They will serve a local church that is increasingly diverse and which has a growing number of Spanish speakers.
"We are all asked to be servants — servants of the Lord, servants to one another. That is what is emphasized in this holy order," Archbishop Sample said during his homily.
"It's not about an honor being bestowed on you," he told the candidates. "It's not about us. It's about the Lord Jesus Christ and the people we have been called to serve."
The archbishop told the men they would by ordination be "sacramentally configured" to Jesus the suffering servant, "who lays down his life for his sheep." When those ordained lie prostrate before the altar, he said, that is a symbol of total self-offering.
The candidates made promises of celibacy, a witness the archbishop said is all the more vital in a world that tells us we need to stay with the times. They also vowed obedience to the archbishop, who asked them to accept that God somehow makes his will known through superiors.
The archbishop asked the new deacons to thank their families.
He told the whole church that, when they see deacons at Mass, they should remember that everyone is called to serve. The church has a special need to serve those who are poor, abandoned and outcast, the archbishop said, just as an emergency vehicle with siren blaring roared past the cathedral.
A large contingent from The Madeleine Parish came to support Rev. Mr. Bringuela, who served at the parish as a seminarian. Parishioners take pride in helping form the men and find hope in the ordinations. "It's exciting to see the transformation they go through," said Tom Johnson.
"It revitalizes evangelizing and shows the young spirit of the church," said Heather Lindaman, a Madeleine choir director who attended the ordination.
"These ordinations are very beautiful," said Paula Cramer, visiting from Rainier. Her husband, Paul, is a permanent deacon. "You have someone who has been chosen," Paula explained. "They've been asked to serve."