Four men – Pat Haines, Rod Knight, Dan Kohler and Jeff Mason – were ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Superior by Bishop James P. Powers on Aug. 14 at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior. For more photos from the Mass, see page 7. (Photo by Dan Swanson Photography)

Anita Draper
Catholic Herald staff

On Sunday, Aug. 14, before hundreds of congregants, four men were ordained to the permanent diaconate at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Superior.

Patrick Haines, Jeff Mason, Roderick Knight and Richard Kohler received the Sacrament of Holy Orders during a Mass with Bishop James P. Powers and many concelebrating priests and brother deacons.

The men – who serve at churches in Spooner, Somerset, Rice Lake and Hammond and their cluster parishes – have studied for five years through a joint program with the Diocese of La Crosse.

“They really do look holy and pious,” the bishop joked of the candidates, who were robed in white and prayerfully mannered.

He welcomed the future deacons, their family members and all who gathered to witness the sacrament. He thanked the wives for accompanying their husbands on the journey to the diaconate, “for being that witness to God’s love,” and acknowledged their sacrifices throughout formation and in the future.

The day’s readings illustrated the ancient tradition of selecting deacons to do God’s work of service and care for the people, from the Book of Numbers and the Acts of the Apostles. The Gospel, from Luke, chapter 12, was a conversation between Peter and Jesus about the importance of preparing for the master’s coming.

The Gospel adds a sense of vigilance to the ministry of service and care; that Jesus said, “gird your loins, light your lamp, tells us not to wait,” he said, but “to prepare ourselves and get to work doing God’s will, God’s work, every single day of our lives.”

Bishop Powers spoke of the candidates’ years of formation, of their journey from laity to clergy.

“A deacon is ordained to be that presence of Christ the servant in the world,” he added, “a living icon.” He encouraged them “to draw strength from the gift and power of the Holy Spirit,” and he reviewed their roles as minister of the word, the altar and of charity.

In those roles, they are called upon to work with fellow clergy to bring the Gospel to believers and unbelievers alike; to prepare the sacrifice and give the body and blood of Christ to the community of believers; and to care for those on the margins of society, the neglected and the needy.

The bishop reminded the men to find time for quiet prayer every day, and to draw on the Holy Spirit for support.

“Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach,” he advised. “I pray for each of you that you may open yourself to the grace and strength of this sacrament, that you may truly be able to give yourself to service of God’s people and that the words of the ordination prayer might come true in abundance.

“May God, who has begun this good work in you, bring it to completion,” he concluded, “May you know that the Lord God will bless you and keep you every day of your lives.”