A packed St Patrick’s Cathedral witnessed the ordination of four new permanent deacons on Friday, 22 February 2019.
John Cinya, Roque Dias, Thong Nguyen and Roderick Pirotta were ordained to the permanent diaconate on the feast of The Chair of St Peter in a historic event for the Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
View images from the ordination here.
Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, was the principal celebrant and ordaining prelate for the Mass. Concelebrating priests included Fr John McSweeney, Episcopal Vicar for Deacons, Very Rev Peter G Williams, Vicar General, Fr Wim Hoekstra, Episcopal Vicar for Priests, diocesan clergy and visiting clergy from other dioceses. Also attending were other permanent deacons of the Diocese and those in the diaconate formation program.
At the beginning of the ordination rite, Deacon Tony Hoban, Director of Diaconate Formation and Pastoral Director of St Luke’s Faith Community, Marsden Park, presented the candidates to the Bishop.
RELATED: John Cinya’s diaconate profile
RELATED: Roque Dias’s diaconate profile
RELATED: Thong Nguyen’s diaconate profile
RELATED: Roderick Pirotta’s diaconate profile
In his homily, Bishop Vincent said he was proud of the diversity of the permanent deacons across the diocese and that he hopes that the newly ordained’s call to service will guide their new ministry.
“This evening, we have come to pray for these men who are to be ordained as married deacons.
“They have discerned the call to serve in the second half of life and responded generously in tandem with their spouses and children.
“I am proud to say that our diocese is now home to one of the most diverse and dynamic groups of permanent deacons in Australia. They are drawn from vastly different backgrounds and greatly enrich the life of the Church in Parramatta. I am convinced that this is the sign of the times when Christian ministries are increasingly reimagined and revitalised by way of relational maturity, mutuality, collaboration and accountability rather than privilege, elitism and individualism.
“We celibate clergy have a lot to learn from these men as they seek to embody the ideal of Christian service not only in how they minister but also in how they nurture their relationships.
“‘The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give his life for many’. Let these words, John, Roderick, Thong and Roque be your motto of life especially as deacons. Let it guide your ministry and form you as ministers of the Gospel. May you not be afraid to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body the Church, and in this way become true servants in the manner of the suffering Servant of God.”
Members of the ordinands’ families were involved in the ceremony. Roderick’s brother James Pirotta and Roque’s son Gerard Dias proclaimed the readings. Members of the Sudanese community David Lagu and Celina Asiandzo and Thong’s sons Anh and Don Kim presented the gifts at the Offertory.
Deacon Roderick Pirotta in his Note of Gratitude, on behalf of the ordained, thanked Bishop Vincent, members of the diaconate formation team and their families who have been on their journey.
“Thank you Most Reverend Bishop Vincent Long for laying your hands on us: a sign of the special bond between the Bishop and his deacons in serving the Church of the Diocese of Parramatta by reaching out to those most in need. Thank you for all the clergy present, including all the ordained deacons, for your support by word and example. A special thanks to the Episcopal Vicar for Deacons, Very Rev John McSweeney in listening and responding to our needs during our formation.
“Thanks to all our human, spiritual, academic and pastoral formators in our lives especially those of the diaconate formation team, including Fr John Hogan (human formation), Very Rev Paul Roberts (spiritual formation), Very Rev Wim Hoekstra (academic formation) and Deacon Owen Rogers (pastoral formation): for sharing your wisdom generously with us.
“We thank especially our previous directors: Fr John Hogan, Fr Jolly and the current director Deacon Tony Hoban. We thank Ann O’Connor for supporting our wives in her gentle and generous manner.
“Special thanks to our spiritual directors who walked with us throughout our discernment process and to Br. Robert O’Connor (Marist) for leading us during our 5-day retreat prior to our Ordination. You have been instruments in leading us to stand on ‘sacred ground’ and encounter the Lord God in our heart, mind and soul.
“Thanks to our families, relatives, and friends, especially our parents, those alive and those who are already in the joy of Eternal Life. Big thanks to our wives, Gemma, Margaret, Chi and Kathryn: for your generosity, continuous support, encouragement and patience.
“Our journey as ordained deacons have begun. Please continue to pray for us, so that we continue to be at the service of the Word, Liturgy and Charity.”
Refreshments were served in the Cathedral Hall following Mass, where each ordinand gave his own thanks.
For more information on the permanent diaconate, visit the Diocese of Parramatta’s Permanent Diaconate web page.
View images from the ordination below or here.