At the start of the liturgy, the 14 deacon couples processed down the aisle of the Cathedral, and after the Gospel were called forth to the sanctuary where they stood around the altar facing the assembly, which applauded in acknowledgement. The newly-ordained are Deacons Chris Amantea, American Martyrs (Manhattan Beach); Wilfredo Arban, St. Dominic Savio (Bellflower); Francisco Brenes, St. Finbar (Burbank); Andrew Taejun Cho, St. Christopher (West Covina); Shane Cuda, St. Joseph (Long Beach); Jes√∫s Fernández, Santa Rosa (San Fernando); Rogelio Garcia, St. Thomas More (Alhambra); José Guadamuz, Holy Name of Mary (San Dimas); John Hull, St. Rita (Sierra Madre); Carlos Ortega, St. Basil (Los Angeles); Rogelio Ramírez, St. Helen (South Gate); Alberto Reyes, St. Rose of Lima (Maywood); Guillermo Rodríguez, St. Paschal Baylon (Thousand Oaks); and Richard Williams, American Martyrs (Manhattan Beach).In his homily, Archbishop Gomez spoke of the first deacons and how the Apostles “prayed and laid hands over” Stephen, Philip and others who were to assist in the ministry. The new deacons, the archbishop said, are “servants of God” whose ministry is “a service of love.”Following the homily the candidates declared their promises by saying “I promise” or “Prometo” as a sign of obedience to the archbishop. Then followed the litany of saints, the laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination.Finally the new deacons stood around the altar as their wives and pastors vested them with the symbol of their ordination, the stole hanging from shoulder to side, and were dressed in their dalmatic robes. Each new deacon was prayed over before he received a book of Gospels and the sign of peace from Archbishop Gomez.As moving as these moments were, a particularly emotional moment came near the end of the Mass, when each of the 14 wives of the deacons was called forth to the sanctuary to receive their certificates of completion of the deaconate program. They were joined by Michelle Bradshaw, who with her husband Bill had completed four years of the five-year formation process when he suddenly fell ill and passed away. The Bradshaws had been married for 41 years and Bill’s dream, as long as Michelle could remember, was to be a deacon. After Bill’s death Michelle made the decision to complete the program and to continue in both of their ministries. Thus at the Cathedral last Saturday, Michelle stood with the wives of the deacons in their husbands’ places around the altar. Archbishop Gomez congratulated each of the wives individually and embraced Michelle as he gave her the certificate. After the liturgy Michelle commented on Bill’s love of the Church, how well he treated others, and how the deaconate class of 2011 has continued to include her in their group. And she was especially taken with the archbishop’s comments. “Now that Bill is a saint,” he told her, “he has raised the bar for all of us.”Following the liturgy the newly ordained deacons and their wives proceeded to the Cathedral Plaza where the deacons gave their first blessings to fellow parishioners, family and friends. It was a very emotional day for many. When Dennis Cuda approached his son, newly ordained Deacon Shane Cuda, it was a time when no words could be found for either father or son. A teary blessing followed a long embrace.  Likewise, Maryann Williams, mother of Deacon Richard Williams, could not find words to describe the moment for her. Having traveled from Evanston, Illinois, for the ordination, she looked at her son; again, no words were spoken, and none were necessary.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0617/deacons/{/gallery}