Archbishop José H. Gomez ordained eight deacons at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on August 15. Those elected for ordination gathered at the Cathedral with friends and family as the seminarians came one step closer to becoming diocesan priests.
Patti Baker, the mother of newly ordained Deacon Jeffrey Baker, told The Tidings at the end of the ceremony, “God has blessed us so much in giving us a son who is so happy and excited to be a deacon and then a priest.”
The mother of two boys, Baker is also the wife of Deacon Ron Baker, who was ordained in 2012 and serves at Holy Family Parish in Glendale. She said having two deacons in the family made Saturday extra special.
“We are so blessed,” she said. “I can’t even put into words how my heart feels.“
Deacon Jeffrey had expressed an interest in becoming a priest since grade school, Baker says. “When he was young — I’d say about grade school — he spoke about it, but not a lot.”
But then in high school, Deacon Jeffrey spoke more about his interest of becoming a priest.
“Our parish priest said that you should go to college, get your degree and then if you still feel called, to go in,” she said. “As soon as he graduated college he went right to St. John’s Seminary.”
The Bakers sent their kids to Catholic school and attended Sunday Mass at Holy Family Parish.
“It’s a very traditional parish and I think that has a lot to do with his vocation as well.” Baker said that her son’s love of people would make him a great priest. She also mentioned his kindness and patience.
Archbishop Gomez told the congregation during his homily that he felt great joy both because of the newly ordained and because he was also celebrating the anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.
“This beautiful Feast Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother has a special place in my heart,” he said of the day’s liturgical feast. The archbishop was ordained a priest in Spain in 1978.
“I pray that you will know the joy that I have known in my priesthood,” he told the newly ordained deacons. “I thank God and I thank our Blessed Mother every day for the great privilege of the gift of my vocation.”
Archbishop Gomez called every ordination a sign of the Church’s future.
“It is a sign that God is with us and that his Spirit still guides and leads his Church,” he said. “This is a great day for the archdiocese in the city of Los Angeles.”
The archbishop also spoke of the Feast of the Assumption as one of “the most tender and personal mysteries” of the faith.
“In this mystery we can see the gentle love, the human affection that Jesus had for his mother. Our Lord loved his mother so much that he didn’t want to see her suffer the corruption of death. And so he takes her up, body and soul, to be with him in the glory of Heaven.”
He told the deacons that their ministry must reflect the tender love of Jesus.
“You are preparing to be the face of Jesus to the people you serve,” he said, adding, “You are going to be ordained, God willing, in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Your ministry must always be marked by tenderness, by gentleness, by understanding, and mercy.”
He told the deacons to look to Mary as an example of spreading the Gospel.
“We see in Mary the heart of a missionary,” he said. Mary journeyed to bring Jesus to the home of her cousin Elizabeth. “We are called to be missionaries, apostles of God’s love and joy. And our words must flow from our own personal relationship with Jesus.”
Our Lady, the archbishop said, has always been with him in a special way.
“So today, we ask Mary, our Blessed Mother, to continue to show you her love and maternal protection, and to give you a heart that is always open to the words of God and the needs of others.”