This past June 15 was a special evening for the Archdiocese of Regina and for nine men newly ordained to the permanent diaconate.
“I know there’s something different but I can’t put my finger on it,” said Arron Polk, one of the nine ordained, as he struggled to describe what he was feeling after the ceremony. “I think an inner sense of joy and peace. I know it’s something different, but I can’t put it into words. It’s sort of a peaceful elation.” Others expressed similar feelings of joy and happiness that their four-year formation program had brought them to ordination.
Individual profiles of the nine are featured here.
Archbishop Donald Bolen, in addressing the candidates prior to the ordination ceremony, recognized his predecessor, the late Archbishop Daniel Bohan, who had the foresight to establish a permanent diaconate in the Regina Archdiocese. “He hoped for a long-term program that would transform our diocese, focusing on service.” The Archbishop also thanked Dr. Brett Salkeld, hired by Bohan as Archdiocesan theologian to build and direct the formation program.
“Thanks to Brett for leading the program with an enthusiasm and a rigour that has been contagious and defining,” said the archbishop. He also thanked Reverend Mr. Barry Wood and his wife, Sheila.Wood is a permanent deacon and the Archdiocesan financial officer. “They were a major support for the candidates, available to help them with almost anything.”He continued with thanks to the many others who were involved in the formation of the candidates.
Archbishop Bolen acknowledged there were some in the archdiocese who thought the permanent diaconate program was not a good idea and he told the new deacons, “You will need to point us to the Word, to service and the relationship between them in new ways. You will need to show the Church through your actions that deacons don’t usurp the role of laity in the church but affirm all of us in our baptismal calling.”
In his homily, Bolen referred to three chapters in Deuteronomy - 30, 11 and 32 - to illustrate how deeply the Word has to be in their lives. “It is clear,” said Bolen, “we are to be grounded in the Word and of course as Christians the first and central mystery of our faith is that this Word takes flesh in Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Divine Word who comes in search of us, who comes in unfathomable nearness, to show us the way.”
The ordination ceremony began with Brett Salkeld calling each candidate by name and with each answering “here.” Father Rick Krofchek, a member of the Archdiocese Personnel Committee then confirmed Archbishop Bolen’s query with “they are worthy.”
The ceremony was live streamed and recorded and can be viewed here.
Deacon Eric Gurash, one of the nine, in his words of thanks after the ordination, called it a community affair. “So we are here today offering our lives up because of a call that has been expressed to us through the voices of friends and families, of priests and neighbors and countless men and women who touched our lives. You believed us gifted and capable and perhaps even needy ourselves of living lives that expressed Christ’s heart of mercy within a world that is starving for mercy, so saying thank you doesn’t do justice for all of that.”
Dr. Brett Salkeld said he was feeling overwhelmed. “I’m like a proud father sending them out to theworld. I’m very proud of them and I think they are going to be a great blessing for our Archdiocese.”