Local men ordained permanent deacons

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On Oct. 2, 12 gentlemen from the Diocese of Ogdensburg completed their six-year journey when, through the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, The Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley, Bishop of Ogdensburg, ordained them to the Order of Permanent Deacon. 

The group of men, including Constableville resident Michael Lieber and Lowville resident Robert Uttendorfsky, began this process by completing two years of Formation for Ministry. 

Formation for Ministry required two years of weekly classes and a two-day spiritual retreat at Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg each year. Once completed, the prospective deacon candidates went through a screening process with background checks, psychiatric evaluations, and marriage evaluations.

After those had been reviewed and approved, the gentlemen started four years worth of classes. These classes included both in-person instruction at Wadhams Hall one weekend a month and on-line classes through Notre Dame University’s STEPP program. In addition, each candidate was required to have a spiritual director and Deacon mentor. After classes were completed last spring, the men were required to participate in a weeklong silent retreat at Wadhams Hall. 

The two-hour Mass was held at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg and included the Rite of Ordination of the Deacons. The candidates were presented by Deacon Kevin Mastellon and Deacon John Drollette to the Bishop, who then delivered a moving yet humorous homily.

This was followed by each gentleman promising to obey the Bishop and his successors. 

Next, as a sign of humility the men laid down on the floor for the Litany of Saints. Then, the actual ordination process began. Bishop LaValley laid his hands on each man’s head and said the Prayer of Ordination. After that was complete, each man was vested with their Stole and Dalmatic.  

Father Lawerence Marullo, pastor of St. Mary’s in Constableville, vested Deacon Lieber, and Father Christopher Carrara, pastor of St. Peter’s in Lowville, vested Deacon Uttendorfsky.  

Once vested, each new Deacon was presented to the Bishop again. This time, it was for the Handing on of the Book of the Gospel, which allows them to proclaim the Gospel. Lastly, the Bishop and various representatives offered the new Deacons a fraternal kiss of peace, which is a hug. 

The newly ordained Deacons will now be able to help their parish priests by performing baptisms, marriages, and funerals, among other things. 

Unfortunately, during their journey, this class loss several members. The group began with 22, but over time various members dropped out of the program. Sadly, one member, Patrick Jank, passed away from cancer during the second year, as well as the group’s original Deacon formation coordinator, Deacon John White. 

On Oct. 9, Bishop LaValley ordained two additional men, father and son James and Leagon Carlin, in Plattsburgh. Next year, Deacon Leagon will proceed to the Priesthood.

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