Eleven men raised to the Order of the Diaconate

As they prepare to be ordained permanent deacons June 9, the 11 candidates listen prayerfully as Bishop Johnston reminds them of their calling, their duty to serve, not be served and prays over them. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — In an age-old rite, 11 men were ordained permanent deacons June 9 as the hundreds who filled the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception watched.

The men were formally accepted as candidates to the diaconate in June 2015 by Vicar General Father Charles Rowe, acting on behalf of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, then-apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Once accepted, Brian Buckner, Robert Falke, Joshua Fultz, James Koger, Michael Koile, Fred Lange, Paul Nguyen, Victor Quiason, Davide Rennicke, Shane Voyles and Joseph Zagar continued formation and discernment for four more years.

Father Rowe had reminded the candidates that “God told the young tongue-tied Jeremiah to set aside his worries. God would be with him. Have no fear … In the years ahead, you will have Jeremiah moments … human limitations and sinful inclinations … reminders of the constant need for God’s unfailing grace. Trust the Lord, turn to him in prayer and he will be with you.”

A deacon is in sacred orders, a man of the church, serving as a bridge between the sacred and the secular realms, Father Rowe had explained.

Four years passed and the men were ready to bridge that gap, to serve, not to be served.

Three of the newly ordained deacons shared their call to the ministry. Deacon Falke recalled, “Our parish started weekly adoration and confessions on Wednesday evenings about six years ago. I attended every week and used it as a time to pray and decompress. It was during one of these Holy Hours that God put into my heart to inquire about the permanent diaconate. I happened to be on a bowling team with one of our deacons, Ken Albers, and I started to ask questions. I prayed about it for a while and became more active in my parish and serving at adoration. Soon I had other people telling me I should become a deacon. The rest is history.”

Deacon Fultz remembered it well. “My Call was really nurtured by Deacon Steve Welsh and his wife Catherine. They were both on the RCIA team when (my wife) Mandy Jo and I joined the Church. When I was confirmed at the Easter Vigil, I said a silent prayer inviting the Holy Spirit to change my life, and well, be careful what you pray for! Immediately Mandy Jo and I were put to ‘work’ at the Co-Cathedral, first as ushers, then as RCIA team members, then confirmation coordinators and on and on.  This love of service was modeled to us by Deacon Steve and Catherine and soon the whisper began that I should consider the road to the diaconate. I tried ignoring the whisper, but the more I ignored it, the more people, including my wife, started asking me if I had thought about applying. Finally, one Sunday, Father Joe Powers asked when I was going to start the application process, and I gave in. I asked for the Holy Spirit to change my life and he truly has! I’ve grown so much closer to my faith, my wife and this invigorated life of service these last five years during formation. I’m so glad I was open to asking for that gift at my confirmation and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for me moving forward!“

Deacon Michael Koile also clearly remembered the call. “The Holy Spirit presented Himself to me through Deacon Winn Powell at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Golden, Co. in the spring of 1986.  I, my wife (Chris) and our two children at the time (5 & 3) along with our unborn child were leaving church, when the deacon approached us to chat.  I was busy holding my son (the 3-year-old) and after chatting with us – asked if he could say a prayer.  My son was being a handful and the deacon held onto my arm to provide support. When he did this, I felt something strange entered my body – I now assume that was the Holy Spirit.  After the prayer, I asked Chris about the deacon and tried my best to explain what I had felt.  I know I didn’t do it justice but went home and started doing my research.

“I have been discerning ever since that beautiful day and the Holy Spirit never left me.  Even though I, and my family, endured 12 job transfers in 8 different states, I continued to pursue the diaconate.

I thank the Lord for keeping the call alive in me and having the opportunity after 32-years to be ordained for His service.”

Just before the ordination rite commenced, Bishop James V. Johnston Jr., spoke to the candidates during his homily. He shared a memory of his own, working as an assistant on an electrical company line crew one summer. He was a “grunt,” a beginner, doing pre- and post- chores to enable the skilled linemen to do their work. Much of what he did involved digging holes. He reminded the men that they were, in a sense, to be ordained to do a lot of grunt work for God and his people. Their ministry would be one of service, of sharing the Word of God, of conducting weddings and funeral services, and planting new seeds of faith in their parishes. As his personal thoughts concluded, the bishop said, “… before seeds can be planted, someone has to dig the hole.”

The rite of ordination — prostration before the altar, receiving the Book of the Gospels, the laying of the bishop’s hands on the heads of the men, and the vesting of the new deacons proceeded. They then joined the many deacons and priests in attendance, while deacons Brian Buckner and Joshua Fultz dressed the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Following the Mass, there was a reception at the Catholic Center a few blocks away.

The newly ordained deacons have been appointed to ministry at different parishes in the diocese by Bishop Johnston:

Deacon Brian Buckner is appointed to diaconal ministry at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish.

Deacon Robert Falke is appointed to diaconal ministry at St. John Francis Regis Parish.

Deacon Joshua Fultz is appointed to diaconal ministry at the Cathedral of St. Joseph and St. Mary Parish, St. Joseph.

Deacon James Koger is appointed to diaconal ministry at St. Patrick Parish, Kansas City.

Deacon Michael Koile is appointed to diaconal ministry at Good Shepherd Parish.

Deacon Fred Lange is appointed to diaconal ministry at Holy Spirit Parish.

Deacon Paul Nguyen is appointed to diaconal ministry at Church of the Holy Martyrs Parish.

Deacon Victor Quiason is appointed to diaconal ministry at St. Charles Borromeo Parish.

Deacon David Rennicke is appointed to diaconal ministry at St. Margaret of Scotland Parish.

Deacon Shane Voyles is appointed to diaconal ministry at St. John LaLande Parish.

Deacon Joseph Zagar is appointed to diaconal ministry at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raytown.

The newly ordained deacons surround Bishop Johnston for a photo following the ordination rite. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

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Saturday
September 22, 2018
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph