On Aug. 13, nine transitional deacons were ordained at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by Bishop David G. O’Connell of the San Gabriel Region.

As transitional deacons, the nine men will spend the next 10 months completing this required canonical step to the priesthood with parish duties that include preaching at Mass, celebrating baptisms, witnessing marriages, presiding at funeral services and other catechetical and service ministries.

The deacons will also be completing their final year of theology studies and will spend their weekends and religious holidays serving at their home parishes. 

Father Samuel W. Ward, associate director of vocations, said the heart of a deacon or priest’s ministry is “to love and serve God’s people, but always with our gaze toward heaven.” (Read more on page 21.)

Two of the nine newly ordained deacons — Charles Balamaze and Deusdedit Najja — are from the Diocese of Kampala, Uganda, and are studying at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, but will be ordained to the priesthood in Uganda, where they will also serve.

The seven other deacons — José Guadalupe Castaneda, Juan Martín Barajas, Joseph Choi, Ron Clark, Martin Gonzalez, Timothy Grumbach and Robert McGowan — are from the greater Los Angeles area where they will be ordained as priests next year.