By Kevin Kelly
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — Just one year after ordaining 13 men as permanent deacons, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph saw another 13 men step forward June 20 to be formally accepted as candidates.
With continued formation still to come, the men could be ordained in 2018.
They are: Brian Buckner, Benjamin Ernst, Robert Falke, Joshua Fultz, Kurt Killen, James Koger, Michael Koile, Fred Lange, Paul Nguyen, Victor Quiason, David Rennicke, Shane Voyles, and Joseph Zagar.
Acting on behalf of apostolic administrator Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Vicar General Father Charles Rowe told the deacon candidates and their families gathered at St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, north, that the call to be a permanent deacon is indeed holy.
Father Rowe said they may face self-doubt, as did the prophet Jeremiah.
“Perhaps you too have protested: I am too young, I am too old, or too this, or not enough of that,” he said.
“The protest can be a good sign, a humble acknowledgment of imperfection, but I trust that you have not let the sacred conversation stop there,” Father Rowe said.
“God tells young tongue-tied Jeremiah to set aside his worries. God will be with him. Have no fear,” Father Rowe said.
“Your vocational journey is still in progress,” he said. “In the years ahead, you will have Jeremiah moments where human limitations and sinful inclinations manifest themselves with embarrassing clarity,” he said.
“They are reminders of the constant need for God’s unfailing grace,” the vicar general said. “Trust the Lord. Turn to him in prayer, and he will be with you to supply whatever is required,” he said.
“The resurgence of the permanent diaconate in the western church is one of the remarkable graces of Vatican II,” Father Rowe said.
“Its revival in the past few decades is the fruit of the movement of the Spirit in the contemporary church,” he said.
“This order of sacred ministry fills in a gap in the church’s apostolate. Deacons are in sacred orders. They are men of the church. Yet they also serve as a bridge between the sacred and secular realms,” Father Rowe said.
“They exercise the ministry of the Word and the altar, proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, ministering the Eucharist,” he said.
“But most are engaged full time in the secular sphere as well. Most are married and have children. Many have full time jobs outside the church,” he said.
“This strategically positions deacons to be evangelists, witnesses to Christ amid the hectic and confusing circumstances of modern life,” Father Rowe said.
Deacons are also called to be special ministers of compassion.
“There are too many in our world, even in the affluent ghettos of the United States, who wander about as shepherd-less sheep,” he said.
“There are many, too many, who do not know of the loving Christ who seeks them with holy passion. There are many, too many who cannot hear his gentle voice drowned out in the noisy turmoil of daily life,” Father Rowe said.
“Deacons are called with special urgency to be ministers of Christ’s compassion, to show the suffering souls of today the merciful face of Christ, to let the marginalized know that they too matter, they too have invaluable worth in the eyes of God,” he said.
“May God bless you, my brothers, as you enter into the final stages of formation, that you may be good and holy deacons who manifest the charity of God in the church and in the world,” Father Rowe said.