Archdiocese to ordain nine men to diaconate: Deacon ministry includes caring for poor, performing baptisms and marriages, conducting funerals

By Catholic New World
Sunday, May 6, 2012

Nine men will join the archdiocese’s diaconate community when Cardinal George ordains them permanent deacons May 25 at Holy Name Cathedral.

The newly ordained deacons will have completed a four-year program at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary that included classes in theology, pastoral ministry, spiritual formation and communication and collaboration.

They are clergy, along with priests and bishops. The ministries that deacons perform include the teaching mission of the church, caring for the poor, performing baptisms and marriages, conducting funeral liturgies, presiding at wake services and assisting the priest at Mass by proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, leading intercessions, preparing the altar and intoning the dismissal.

The new deacons and their wives are:

Jack and Catherine Herrmann, St. Mary Parish, Lake Forest

Herrmann, 56, is an attorney. After ordination, he says he’s looking forward to baptizing children.

“I also want to spend much of the coming year attending parish events that I was not able to attend when I was in the formation program, being alert for opportunities to be of service to our parishioners,” he said. The couple has one daughter, Patricia.

During formation, Herrmann said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of deacons who shared their time and advice when he had to shadow them doing their liturgical duties.

Another highlight for him was the Old Testament course taught by Pauline Viviano.

Catherine Herrmann said while she expected her husband to grow spiritually during his journey of formation, she was surprised that she also developed an enriched prayer life.

“This was the result of the theological reflection groups and the Women of Witness meetings I attended, and was influenced by the many faith-filled people I met in the program,” she said.

Stuart and Marlene Heyes, St. Cletus Parish in LaGrange

Heyes, 63, is semiretired and lives with his wife in Burr Ridge. They have two children, Haydon and Ruth, and two grandchildren.

Heyes wants to get involved in pastoral care ministry as the ministry of care coordinator dealing with the local hospital, nursing homes and the homebound, the compassionate care ministry coordinator for funerals, vigil prayer services and follow-up and with youth ministry as a chaperone and aide.

During formation, he especially enjoyed the after-aspirancy internships with the Learning Center in North Lawndale and working with Hope’s on the Way refurbishing a rectory of a poor parish on Chicago’s South Side.

Marlene Heyes said she has grown in her faith and her involvement in the parish. She also became involved in Kolbe House Jail Ministry.

“I feel this was my calling — visiting feels like God’s work and of course it is, but I’m filled with such a desire to bring a caring presence and to understand and help that I wonder if I’m getting more out of this than the detainees,” she said.

Michael Madison and Mary Catherine McBride, Our Lady of the Wayside Parish, Arlington Heights

Madison works as business development director for his wife’s civil engineering and land surveying consulting firm. The couple has four children: Meagan, Daniel, Erin and David, and two granddaughters.

After ordination, Madison, 54, would like to get involved in baptism and marriage preparation, wake ministry, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and a ministry for charity and justice.

Madison said the highlights during formation included an enriched relationship with his wife as they took the classes together and discussed the material; a fellowship with his classmates and a “new awareness of the meaning and purpose for various liturgies and assisting at the baptism of my first granddaughter.”

Madison said he appreciated the caliber of the instructors in the program and also feels that his prayer life has deepened.

“Through it all, I have embraced my call from God to be a better servant to his people,” Madison said.

McBride said while the years of formation have been challenging at times, the experience was also enriching.

“I feel so very blessed to have been given such a privilege to have this time to study and grow in faith and knowledge and love of our Lord. I am confident the formation process has prepared us for the ministry experiences to come.”

Michael and Helen McManus, St. Thecla Parish, 6725 W. Devon Ave.

McManus, 51, works as a senior financial analyst. The couple has three children: Jeffrey, David and Siobhan.

McManus said after ordination he hopes “to serve the bishop to best meet the needs of the archdiocese, to foster a ministry of service to the poor and those in need. to maintain a balance of service to the liturgy, word and charity.”

There were many highlights during formation for McManus, but he especially enjoyed the time he spent with his wife, Helen, assisting in his ministry to residents of the Washington Park neighborhood.

“This formative journey has nurtured a greater love of the faith and nurtured a purposeful curiosity to deepen my faith throughout my earthly journey,” McManus said.

Helen McManus said the four-year journey has been a blessing for their family. “We have learned and grown in our faith as a couple,” she said.

Gerald and Patricia Nora, St. Mary of Vernon Parish in Vernon Hills

Nora, 60, is an attorney, a retired prosecutor and a full-time instructor at Loyola University and an adjunct faculty member of Loyola Law School. The couple has four children: Gerald, Thomas, Mary Elizabeth and John Paul, and two grandchildren.

After ordination, Nora would like to be involved with jail and juvenile detention ministry and plans on pursuing graduate work in biblical studies at CTU.

Nora said the highlights of formation were “too many and too diverse.”



Bob and Eileen Pasdiora, St. John the Evangelist Parish, Streamwood

Pasdiora, 50, is a technical architect. He and his wife have a daughter, Jenna.

Following ordination, Pasdiora is hoping to get involved with ministers of care and he led Communion services at several nursing homes for more than a year.

“I have found these people are reaching out in order to remain connected to the world. Talking and praying with the residents brings them the comfort and love of Christ that he brought to many of the sick people he encountered,” Pasdiora said.

He counts the three internships as highlights of his formation.

“They allowed me to experience the role of a deacon inside and outside of parish life,” he said. “It opened my eyes to the many ways God reaches out to people through the diaconate.”

Eileen Pasdiora said she has seen her husband grow through his formation experience.

“I, too, have grown. Formation has provided me the opportunity to develop an adult understanding of the God I learned about as a child,” she said. “This was an experience I shall treasure the rest of my life.”

Daniel and Noelle Altmann Moore, St. Mary of Vernon Parish, Indian Creek

Moore, 42, is a programmer analyst. The Moores have one son, Charlie.

Following ordination, Moore said he wants to “serve where I am needed and useful.”

The strong connection with the men of his class and their wives was a highlight of formation for Moore.

“We have experienced both loss and joy on this journey with the Holy Spirit inviting us along the way,” he said. “We are eager to find our place as servants in the church mediating the grace and peace of our Lord to those who are lost.”

He said he also appreciates the love and support of his wife and son and the families and friends who have been with them on the journey.

Noelle Moore agrees.

“Our family has grown in faith through formation, and we are eager to share the gifts we have received through this program with our parish and the community,” she said.

Robert and Lili Montelongo, St. Bruno Parish, 4751 S. Harding Ave.

Montelongo, 42, is a Chicago police officer and works as a chaplain for the department. He and his wife have two children, Bobby and Emily.

After ordination, Montelongo hopes to focus on youth ministry and will continue to serve as a chaplain at the police department.

While acknowledging that the formation process was challenging, Montelongo said he was grateful because it prepared him to be a better deacon.

“I’m sure it will be a firm foundation for my service to the church as a deacon,” he said.

Lili Montelongo said she is “grateful for the spiritual growth our family has made over these four years. The friendships and support we have received from everyone has been invaluable to our family.”

Ivan and Arleen Siap, St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Gurnee

Siap, 54, works as a senior system analyst. The Siaps live in Waukegan and have three sons: David, Michael and James.

Following ordination, Siap said he wants to be involved with service to the liturgy, international outreach and Knights of Columbus.

The service to the liturgy project was the highlight of formation, Siap said.

“I had the opportunity to build new relationships and strengthening existing ones, which made it possible for me to engage in such activities as leading a communion service, presiding over evening prayer with a short reflection, and being present to a grieving parishioner and making funeral preparations with her,” he said.

Born in the Philippines, Siap said he has often asked himself what to do now that he has achieved the “American Dream.”

“Giving back in service to God and community is my answer,” he said.

Arleen Siap said, “it is a blessing to witness nine men grow closer to God in their prayer life and ministerial works.”

“Most of all I feel a closeness borne out of love for each other. Unique though we all are, our shared laughter and tears strengthened our relationships with our spouses and each other. I hope that in the future more husbands and wives will be inspired to take the journey together.”

Biographies provided by Deacon Dave Brencic.