A capacity crowd at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels June 8 witnessed the ordination of 20 men to the permanent diaconate by Archbishop José Gomez in a solemn and emotional trilingual ceremony reflecting the diverse heritage of the new deacons and their wives.Readings proclaimed in Spanish, Vietnamese and English highlighted the native languages of members of the Oscar Romero formation class of 2013, including Deacons Danny Amos (St. Paul the Apostle, Westwood); Isaac Arias (Our Lady of Guadalupe, L.A.); Martin Clement (St. Lawrence Martyr, Redondo Beach); Juan Corletto (St. Ann, L.A.); Adan Garcia (Our Lady of Guadalupe, El Monte); Jose Garcia (St. John the Baptist, Baldwin Park); Rene Garcia (St. John of God, Norwalk); Anthony Hobbs (St. Francis Xavier, Burbank); and Agustín Jimenez (St. Louis of France, La Puente).Also among those being ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon were Anacleto Mendoza (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Lomita); Ricardo Mora (St. Ferdinand, San Fernando); Augusto Mora (St. Joseph the Worker, Canoga Park); Gaspar Mu√±oz (Holy Trinity, San Pedro); Long Nguyen (St. Catherine Laboure, Torrance); Francisco Padilla (Mother of Sorrows, L.A.); Leovigildo Pinal (St. Phillip Neri, Lynwood); Jim Roope (St. Francis Xavier, Burbank); Orlando Rubio (St. Ferdinand, San Fernando); Jason Schalow (Sacred Heart, Lancaster); and Guido Zamalloa (San Gabriel Mission, San Gabriel). Referring in his bilingual (English/Spanish) homily to the long line of deacons extending back to St. Stephen mentioned in the second reading (Acts 6: 1-7b), Archbishop Gomez said that the deacons about to be ordained were continuing the mission of those first deacons “as coworkers along with my brother bishops and priests in the apostolic ministry in this great archdiocese of Los Angeles.”“But,” he added, “in order to carry out that mission, you need to have the heart of the apostles and those first deacons. You need a servant’s heart, a heart of love.“For your service of love as deacons, you will show our brothers and sisters how much God loves them, [and] you will show them how much God loves to touch each one of us personally with his love, how he loves to wash away our sins, to heal our wounds, to sanctify us and make us holy. Jesus Christ became the servant of all, and that’s what you are called to be: servants of the family of God here in Los Angeles.”Following the homily, the ordination rite continued with the deacons’ promise of obedience; their prostration around the altar for the sung litany of supplication; the laying on of hands ceremony before the prayer of ordination; the investiture with stole and dalmatic aided by each deacon’s wife and pastor; and a presentation of the Book of Gospels by the archbishop to each new deacon.As each deacon received his book, the archbishop recited the words: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.” At the conclusion of the Communion rite, the newly-ordained deacons’ wives were acknowledged for accompanying their husbands on the diaconate journey. “These women brought many gifts into the formation process and continued to develop those gifts and new ones throughout the five years of formation,” said Jenny Ocegueda-Reynosa, formation coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Diaconate Formation, adding that many of the women were now ready to serve the church as professional skilled ministers, such as parish lectors or bereavement ministers.“Today the church community of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles honors you as great women of service,” said Ocegueda-Reynosa, before calling each of the women forward to the altar, where they were individually presented certificates by the archbishop. “I can see that you have more fans than your husbands,” joked Archbishop Gomez, noting the loud applause from the assembly. After the Mass, the new deacons, with their wives by their side, offered first blessings to people from their home parishes lined up on the Cathedral Plaza. Nancy Cooper, parishioner at St. Paul the Apostle standing in line with her husband Chris, told The Tidings that Deacon Danny Amos had an “amazing quality of being able to speak to five-year-olds and 55-year-olds.” Chris noted that both Danny and his wife Stacey “really committed themselves over the last five years to this [formation] process.” In an earlier phone interview with The Tidings, Danny said that the best part of going through diaconate formation was having his wife do it with him. “None of us would be here if not for our wives,” he said.Gracie Mu√±oz, who was passing out Bible bookmarks to people waiting in line to get a blessing from her husband, Deacon Gaspar Mu√±oz, said she felt happy and excited to celebrate the ordination with friends and family members, some of whom came from Texas and San Diego. Among those traveling the farthest was Concepcion Miranda, who came from Peru to see her son, Deacon Guido Zamalloa, become ordained. “My mom was always praying for me to be a deacon, so her dream came true. She’s very happy to be here, very proud and emotional,” said Guido, who will serve at San Gabriel Mission Church. His wife, Violeta, said she also got emotional during the two-hour ordination service. “I cried, especially when he was laying down” prostrate before the altar.Barbara Razzano and her husband, Al, mom and step-father of Deacon Jim Roope who came from Cincinnati for the ordination, also admitted they both cried during the service. “I’m very, very proud,” said Barbara. “Jim has all the qualifications. He’s very kind and very into his faith, and he really wants to help people.”Speaking of Deacon Martin Clement from St. Lawrence Martyr Church in Redondo Beach, Valerie Menker said he also had all the qualities needed to be a good deacon. “He’s just a great guy, and he’s patient and kind and always looking out for other people,” commented Valerie. Her husband, Steve, added with a little levity that besides being a “very calm, reverent man” Deacon Clement plays “excellent” beach volleyball. “He keeps his shirt on. This is a very important quality for a deacon: he doesn’t take his shirt off at the beach to play volleyball,” joked Menker, who first met Clement while playing beach volleyball and later realized that they were fellow parishioners.Providence Sister Teresa White, standing in Deacon Ricardo Mora’s line for a blessing, said she first met Mora at Providence Holy Cross five years ago where he served as a Eucharistic minister and spoke of his ministry with youth in detention. “He told me how much it honored him to serve them, how much it changed him and how much it fed his spirit to be there with those young people,” said Sister White, who has learned that Deacon Mora intends to pursue further certification to work in the archdiocesan Tribunal. “No matter what this man does, he will do a good thing.”Linda Nguyen, 22, youngest of Deacon Long Nguyen’s three daughters who attended the ordination wearing traditional Vietnamese dresses, said her dad becoming a deacon at St. Catherine Laboure in Torrance was a blessing for their family. “It’s really great because we’ll be really involved with the church, and I’m just really proud of him. He’s the perfect man for the job, and he’s the fifth Vietnamese deacon in the county, which is amazing, and the first deacon our parish has ever had,” said Nguyen. Linda’s friend Thinh Luu, 17, holding orchid leis to give to the deacon couple, added: “He’s going to make a good deacon because he has a good sense of humor — that’s what I like about him — and he’s been doing charity work for most of his life.”Commenting on the role of a parish deacon, Dr. William Shaules, associate coordinator of diaconate formation, noted that deacons operate in the three areas of liturgy, proclamation of the Word and charity. “There’s an emphasis on ministries of charity, because the deacon is supposed to be that bridge between the needs of the community and the parish, the marginalized and the parish itself,” said Shaules.Noting this year’s “bigger” deacon class, Shaules said interest continues to grow for this ministry. “The more men who are out there in the parishes, the more visibility they’re getting, and I think that is sparking more interest,” he said. “These men and their wives are slowly transforming the face of the parish.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0614/deacons/{/gallery}