Two men ordained deacons at Our Lady of Hope Ordinariate Community

Bishop Steven J. Lopes, first bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, lays his hands on the head of Scott McKellar, during the Rite of Ordination of Deacons at Our Lady of Hope Ordinariate Community at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, July 5. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — As many friends and family members watched, two men were ordained to the Diaconate at Our Lady of Hope Ordinariate Community at Our Lady of Sorrows Church July 5. Scott Gordon McKellar was ordained a permanent Deacon, and William Edward (Ed) Wills was ordained to the transitional Diaconate. Ordination was conferred by the Most Reverend Steven J. Lopes, First Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was created by the Vatican on Jan. 1, 2012, to provide a path for groups of Anglicans to become fully Roman Catholic, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage in their union with the Catholic Church. It is one of three Ordinariates – Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom, Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia and the Personal Chair of St. Peter, headquartered in Houston, Texas.

An Ordinariate is like a non-geographic diocese. There are 43 parishes and communities across the U.S. and Canada, under the leadership of Bishop Steven J. Lopes. Bishop Lopes was ordained the first bishop of the Ordinariate in November, 2015.

Several priests from the Ordinariate Chancery were present, including Very Reverend Timothy Perkins, Vicar General of the Ordinariate and Very Reverend Chuck Hough IV, Director of Worship, Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston.

Both Scott McKellar and Ed Wills, raised as non-Catholic Christians, embraced the Catholic faith and doctrine as adults.

Scott G. McKellar

Scott, a native Canadian, wrote that he grew up in the United Church of Canada, a mainline Methodist denomination. After being involved in a vibrant campus ministry during college, Scott attended seminary as a Protestant ministerial candidate. After completing seminary and journeying through several denominations, Scott became Anglican in the early 1990’s. At that time, Scott was discerning a vocation to the Anglican priesthood. After prayer and further discernment, instead Scott and his wife Wendy joined the Catholic Church in 1995.

At first Scott worked as a public-school teacher, eventually working as a Religion professor at a Catholic College near Vancouver, British Columbia. In 2004 Scott, Wendy and their children moved to Ireland where Scott began a doctoral program in Catholic Theology at St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth. Shortly after returning from Ireland Scott accepted a position as the founding director of the Bishop Helmsing Institute in 2006 and moved with his family to Kansas City, Mo. He now serves as the Associate Director of the newly created Office of Discipleship and Faith Formation, which succeeded the Institute.

Scott’s life has also involved suffering. Scott and Wendy have five children. In January of 2014, their oldest son Wesley was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Wesley was a seminarian for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, attending St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Neb., at the time. During this trauma, Scott stepped down as the Director of the Institute and became the Associate Director. Wesley passed away after a two-year battle with cancer in January 2016.

Ed Wills and Scott McKellar lie prostrate during the Litany of the Saints at their diaconal ordination at Our Lady of Sorrows-Kansas City. (Megan Marley/Key photo)

As a former Anglican, Scott was excited to learn that in 2012 Pope Benedict XVI had created a mechanism for other Anglicans (and Episcopalians) to more easily enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

By happy coincidence, one of Scott’s Anglican seminary professors became a Catholic priest through the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Peter. Father Peter Davids, now the vocations director for the Ordinariate; as they became reacquainted, Scott inquired about discerning a vocation to the diaconate through this institution.

In validation of Scott’s previous training, he was accepted as an aspirant to a permanent diaconate program and given a course of training before ordination. Deacon Scott described his journey into the Church as the culmination of a long search over many years.

William E. (Ed) Wills

Born in East Texas and raised in the Southern Evangelical tradition, Ed Wills was licensed to preach by the Grace Gospel Fellowship when he was only 18. While a student at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., he developed an interest in historic Christianity. He recalled that one of his Greek professors challenged him, “If you want to understand the writings of the apostles, you need to read the writings of their students,” leading Ed to study the earliest Church Fathers, especially Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr.

He graduated with a degree in Theology, specializing in ancient languages, before joining the Navy. Ed served as a Surface Warfare Officer — his training and primary duties focused on the operation of Navy ships and various shipboard systems management. He attained the rank of Lieutenant.

He and Cheryl have been married 36 years. Their search for truth and the mission to which Christ was calling them led them down several avenues as time passed. Ed worked in the Methodist Church for years while exploring different faith traditions, including conservative Pentecostal expression. He later became a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church.

Over time, he discovered that the Catholic Church maintained a consistent tradition of faith and authority from the apostles to the present day. This led to graduate studies in Theology, philosophy and Greek exegesis and Patristic literature at the University of Dallas. During that time, protestant Ed lived two years with the Discalced Carmelite Fathers. He then taught Greek and Old Testament history at the Carmelite Institute for Christian Spirituality, now the Mount Carmel Center.

In the 1990s, Ed and Cheryl recognized their attraction to the Catholic Church — its history, doctrine and liturgy. Ed, Cheryl and two of their daughters were received into the Church in 2000 at St. Thomas More Church.

Having served for many years as the Social Justice Coordinator for St. Robert Bellarmine Church in Blue Springs, responsible for the Peace and Justice committee and the parish’s social justice program, “Hand Up,” Ed was thrilled to see the fulfillment of his calling to holy orders in the Church under the auspices of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

The Ordination of Deacons in the Ordinariate follows the same ritual and language as other diaconate ordinations.

As the cantor led the assembly in singing “I Bind Unto Myself,” from St. Patrick’s Breastplate (Cecil Frances Alexander, 1889), the two men approached the altar in procession, following priests and deacons of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and followed by Fathers Perkins and Hough and Bishop Lopes. During the Introductory Rites, the Kyrie, the Gloria and the Readings, Scott and Ed joined their wives in the pews.

Following the Liturgy of the Word, the bishop’s chair was moved near the communion rail and, when he was seated, Scott and Ed were called by name, to which they answered “Present.” Each then approached the bishop and made a sign of reverence.

Father Perkins addressed Bishop Lopes, saying, “Most Reverend Father, holy Mother Church asks you to ordain these men, our brothers, to the responsibility of the diaconate.” The prelate asked if they were worthy. Father Perkins said that “After inquiry … and …. recommendation … I testify that they have been found worthy.”

Bishop Lopes: “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the Order of the Diaconate.” And the assembly responded, “Thanks be to God.”

The ordination rite continued after the homily.

Bishop Lopes queried the men about their intentions their resolve to be consecrated, to shape their lives, prayer and acts to the example of Christ, to which they responded, “I do.”

Scott and Ed then knelt before the bishop and placed their joined hands between the bishop’s hands as he asked if they promised to respect and obey him and his successors. Each answered, “I do.”

They prostrated themselves on the floor as the Litany of the Saints was sung in supplication, then rose and one by one approached Bishop Lopes who stood at his chair wearing his miter, and knelt. The bishop laid his hands on first Scott’s head, then on Ed’s head, saying nothing. As he withdrew his hands, Bishop Lopes said the Prayer of Ordination.

The newly ordained deacons were invested with the stole and the dalmatic, outward manifestations of their ministry. Deacon Ed Wills was vested by Deacon Doug Myler of St. John LaLande Parish in Blue Springs. Deacon Scott McKellar was vested by Deacon Ralph Wehner of the Chancery.

Bishop Lopes ceremoniously handed on the Book of the Gospels signifying the deacon’s office to proclaim the Gospel and to preach the Catholic faith in word and in deed. As each new deacon clasped the Book, the bishop admonished them to, “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

The fraternal kiss sealed their admittance into the ministry of the bishop and welcomed them to the common ministry of the diaconal order.
The Mass continued, with Deacons McKellar and Wills assisting at the altar.

A reception following in Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall honored the two newly ordained deacons.

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Tuesday
September 26, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph