VATICAN CITY — Two men from the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph were among 35 who received Holy Orders in the transitional diaconate at an Oct. 6 ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica, before the Altar of the Chair.
Among the 1,200 who witnessed the ordinations were Kansas City-St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn and Father Richard Rocha, director of the diocesan Office of Vocations, as well as family and friends.
Deacon Adam Haake is the son of Patrick and Mary Haake of Raytown. He is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
Deacon Adam Johnson is the son of Diane Johnson of Kansas City, north. He is a member of St. Therese Parish.
The two newest deacons who are in the final year of instruction at the Pontifical North American College in Rome were the fifth and sixth seminarians ordained to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph this year. On May 21, Deacons Kevin Drew, Benjamin Kneib, Ian Murphy and Sean McCaffery were ordained by Bishop Finn at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City.
They are all scheduled to be ordained to the diocesan priesthood next spring at Kansas City’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, following their final year of preparation.
In e-mail interviews, both Deacon Haake and Deacon Johnson said they are looking forward to the next step — priestly ordination — but that their first ordination as deacons will never be forgotten.
“It was a great gift to be able to lie prostrate on the holy ground of St. Peter’s Basilica as the entire church interceded for us,” said Deacon Haake. “I was also proud to have so many members from our diocese come all the way to Rome to be at our ordination. I am very eager to serve our local church.”
Deacon Johnson said both he and Deacon Haake were pleased that Bishop Finn could attend.
“It meant a lot to us to have our bishop present as I made vows of obedience to him and his successors,” Deacon Johnson said. “It was also a privilege to have priests from our diocese come to show their support, especially Father Justin Hoye who was the pastor for my summer assignment this year, and my longtime friend Father Robert Cameron.”
“I am looking forward to my final year of studying in Rome,” he said. “I am extremely appreciative for the many prayers and support I have received over my years in the seminary.”
Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and himself an alumnus of the Pontifical North American College, presided over the Oct. 6 ordination ceremony,
“Today is a day of great rejoicing for the whole church,” said Cardinal Levada in his homily.
“Ordained ministry in the church is an expression of this command to love,” the cardinal said. “Indeed, it is the privileged way to encounter the fire of divine love, to be transformed by it, and so impelled to share that same transforming love with the church and the world.”
Cardinal Levada said that future priests first receive Holy Orders as deacons because of the special significance of the diaconate.
“In the diaconate the church grounds all ordained ministry in the threefold structure of the ministry of the Word, of the liturgy and of charity,” the cardinal said.
“These three ministries correspond to revelation and faith, by which the Word of God who is love, is preached and handed on in the church,” he said.
Cardinal Levada told the congregation to continue to pray for the newly ordained deacons “that God’s grace of Holy Orders may make them dedicated servants in ministry to the church.”
“May Mary, Mother of the clergy, intercede for them so that as future priests they may show forth the face of Christ, the face of God’s own love, to a waiting world,” the cardinal said.
The Pontifical North American College was founded in 1859 by Pope Pius IX. It has formed more than 5,000 priests for service in dioceses in the United States, Canada and Australia.
The 35 deacons ordained Oct. 6 came from 29 dioceses in the United States and the Archdiocese of Melbourne in Australia.
The Archdiocese of Mobile, Ala; the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.; the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pa. joined the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in having two new deacons ordained.