By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — Continue to live lives worthy of deacons, Bishop Robert W. Finn told 13 men as they took a major step toward ordination as permanent deacons.
The 13 candidates were installed into the formal ministry of Acolyte as Bishop Finn celebrated Mass June 29 at St. Thomas More Parish, home parish of deacon candidate Tyrone Gutierrez.
Two candidates are in formation for service with the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. They are James Dougherty of St. Louis Parish in Kansas City and John Purk of St. Agnes Parish in Roeland Park, Kan.
Their remaining 10 classmates are:
Rick Boyle and John Wichmann, Good Shepherd Parish, Smithville.
Daniel Brink and Jim Olshefski, St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Kansas City.
Marcelino Canchola and John Nash, St. Patrick Parish, St. Joseph.
Richard Gross, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raytown.
Keith Hoffman, Holy Spirit Parish, Lee’s Summit.
Dien Nguyen, Church of the Holy Martyrs, Kansas City.
Doug Warrens, Visitation Parish, Kansas City.
Thanking the families, the pastors and the instructors of one of the largest diaconate classes in the diocese’s history, Bishop Finn told them that installation into the ministry of Acolyte for service at the alter is a solemn step.
“Through the ministry of Acolyte, they will be instituted as stewards for the distribution of Holy Communion,” he said.
“At the same time, they are designated to be ministers of the Eucharistic ministry, to be teachers, both by what they say and also by the way their conduct their lives, living examples of the self-sacrifice of Jesus,” Bishop Finn said.
“We hand on to them a share in that which is most precious in the church’s life,” he said. “They must safeguard it and transmit it as a gift received from the very hands of Christ at the Last Supper.”
Bishop Finn made note that the Mass also celebrated the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
Both saints were far from perfect, but both became powerful examples of God’s plan.
“Each would give his life for the Gospel,” Bishop Finn said.
“Peter was the acknowledged head of the apostolic church. He, who once shrunk back in fear denying that he even knew Jesus, now becomes a strong and fearless preacher and a rallying point for the early church,” the bishop said.
“Paul, in today’s second reading, recounts in unambiguous language his own wayward life in persecution of the church,” he said. “But he hears Jesus call, he learns the way of the church in the apostolic tradition, and becomes perhaps the most powerful itinerant missionary the church has ever seen.”
God continues to call the imperfect to do the extraordinary, Bishop Finn said.
“God does not pick us as pristine and perfect saints,” he said. “He calls you and me, unworthy though we are, and he asks, ‘Do you love me?’ If so, then ‘Feed my sheep,’ take care of the flock.
“Today, you are here because you wish to profess your love for Jesus Christ and your dedication to his flock, the church,” Bishop Finn said.
“May God who knows our human frailties well fill up in you what is lacking, strengthen you for the work ahead and help you persevere in your remaining formation, all in accord with his divine will,” he said.