Chicagoland

Meet the archdiocese’s newest deacons

By Chicago Catholic
June 12, 2016

Meet the archdiocese’s newest deacons

Archbishop Cupich ordained 13 men at Holy Name Cathedral on June 4 to serve parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago as permanent deacons. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich ordained 13 men at Holy Name Cathedral on June 4 to serve parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago as permanent deacons. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich lays his hands on Valdemar Silva at St. Philomena Parish, 1921 North Kedvale Ave., on May 29. Silva was one of five pernanet deacons the archbishop ordained that day to serve parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago as permanent deacons. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Deacon candidates Valdemar Silva, Cornelio Tecruceno and Juan Valadez are called at the beginning of Mass at St. Philomena Parish, 1921 North Kedvale Ave., on May 29. Theye were among five permanent deacons ordained that day. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
The five deacon candidates lie prostrate as Archbishop Cupish and the congregation pray for them at St. Philomena Parish on May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich shares the kiss of peace with newly ordained Deacon Juan Valadez May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Newly ordained deacons Cornelio Trecuceño and Juan Valadez get congratulatory hugs from clergy May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Deacon Benito Gallegos prepares to present flowers to his wife, Martha, at the end of the ordination Mass May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Newly ordained Deacon Benito Gallegos presents flowers to his wife, Martha, May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Deacon Valdemar Silva and his wife, Maria Guadalupe, hold hands during the final procession of the diaconate ordination Mass May 29 as Archbishop Cupich applauds. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich lays his hands on Leonel Segura during the ordination Mass for five permanent deacons at St. Philomena Parish, 1921 North Kedvale Ave., on May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Deacon Leonel Segura prepares to present flowers to his wife, Reyna, on May 29. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich blesses the hands of Herbert Johnson during a Mass in which he ordained 13 to the permanent diaconate at Holy Name Cathedral on June 4. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich ordained 13 men at Holy Name Cathedral on June 4 to serve parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago as permanent deacons. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Archbishop Cupich ordains 13 men to the permanent diaconate at Holy Name Cathedral on June 4. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)
Priests help the 13 new deacons ordained June 4 vest while the deacons' wives look on. (Karen Callaway/Catholic New World)

Archbishop Cupich has ordained 18 men to the permanent diaconate over the past month. Five men who studied in the Spanish-language program were ordained May 29 at St. Philomena Church and 13 men who studied in the English-language program were ordained at Holy Name Cathedral on June 4.

All of them will serve their parishes and the wider church as ministers of the word, of sacrament and of charity. Join the Catholic New World in congratulating and welcoming our new deacons.

Ordained May 29 were:

Deacon Benito Gallegos, 45, has been married to his wife, Martha, for over 20 years.

Born in Mexico, he immigrated to the United States when he was 10 years old. His three children are 26, 25 and 23 years old.

He is a supervisor in a construction company, and has been a parishioner at Our Lady of the Mount for over 15 years. His involvement in the parish has developed gradually. Gallegos is a catechist and is in charge of the baptismal preparation team.

Deacon Leonel Segura was born and raised in Guerrero, Mexico, and has been married to his wife, Reyna, for more than 20 years. Their children are 21, 16, 13 and 7 years old.

He is a supervisor at Ampco System Parking and has been a parishioner at St. Genevieve for more than 10 years.

Segura is committed to service in the church and has a strong willingness to do whatever is asked of him. At St. Genevieve, he has served as a lector and member of the liturgy committee, on the parish council and financial committee and as a retreat organizer.

Deacon Valdemar Silva, 43, was born and raised in Mexico. He and his wife, Adriana, have been married for over 20 years and have five children.

He is general manager at Sbarro Pizza.

Silva is well known at St. Cecilia because of his compassion and empathy when others are in need and distress. Silva has been involved in liturgy and the immigration committee.

Deacon Cornelio Trecuceño, 53, and his wife, Reyna, have been married since 1985 and have three children.

Trecuceño was born and raised in Mexico, coming to Chicago after finishing his associate’s degree.

Trecuceño participates in different ministries at St. Philomena: liturgy, parish council and catechesis. He said he is aware that a deacon is at service of all the groups and people in the parish, and he feels a strong call to social justice.

Deacon Juan Valadez was born and raised in Mexico and has been married to his wife, Maria, for more than 25 years. They have three grown children.

He has worked primarily as sales representative of Arizona Beverage. Valadez has a quiet and sensitive nature and he enjoys silence and to simply be in the presence of the Lord, he said. At the same time, he is active, enthusiastic and prefers to be around people most of the time. His wife is a partner in his ministerial service and supportive in his call to the permanent diaconate.

Ordained June 4 were:

Deacon David Babczak, 58, has been married to his wife, Monica, for 35 years and the couple has three sons, ages 27, 25 and 18.

Deacon Babczak, a funeral director by profession, said he intends to help with baptismal preparation and baptisms, marriage preparation and bereavement ministry. He also would like to look into starting a young adult ministry group in his parish.

“I am excited to embrace this ministry and share the celebrations and walk through the challenges with the faithful,” he said.

Deacon Kevin Blindauer, 55, and his wife, Gysel, have two adult children, Terrence, 29, and Elyse, 23.

He is a vice president and client service manager at FM Global.

The pastoral staff at Mary, Seat of Wisdom has welcomed him warmly, he said.

“A deacon has not served the parish for over 25 years. I am excited about bringing the three-fold ministry of the diaconate to the parishioners and, of course, the remainder of the Park Ridge community and archdiocese,” he said.

He most enjoyed the internships the diaconate formation community engaged in during their three years together.

“We were blessed in a variety of activities related to charity, liturgy and word,” he said.

Deacon Robert Conlin, 57, and his wife, Maria, are the parents of James, 23, and Maura, 20.

Conlin is an operations manager.

Now that he has been ordained, he plans to work with the parish youth ministry, lectors and the liturgical committee.

He most enjoyed the community that his class and their wives formed.

“The highlight of the formation process was the strong bonds of fellowship and support that developed between all of my classmates and our wives,” he said. “Everyone was always willing to assist whenever and however needed.”

Deacon Robert Cyran, 56, and his wife, Renata, have five children: Mateusz, 29; Łukasz, 28; Jan, 26; Maria, 22; and Marta, 16.

Cyran, a financial manager, was born in Warsaw, Poland, and graduated from Warsaw University of Technology. He has been a financial and quality manager.

While in Warsaw, he volunteered to serve the pastoral needs of Solidarity members and ministered to communities of faith and parishes in Warsaw. He has been a member of pastoral and financial parish councils and business manager for the parish and school.

Deacon Michael Fekete, 47, and his wife, Mary Jo, have one son, Justin, 17.

Fekete is director of international services at Lewis University.

He plans to provide a pastoral presence and teach in St. Gerald’s religious education program and help with RCIA, and the parish school and youth group, while continuing to work with the bereavement outreach program and the sick and dying.

He credited Deacon Andy Neu and his wife, Cindy, for providing the highlight of the formation process. The Neus offered a monthly theological reflection group for the formation group.

Deacon Richard Holevoet, 40, and his wife, Jennifer, are the parents of Lily, 15.

He works in sales for Helix Professional Tools and is discerning in which area to focus his ministry.

“The program is really filled with excellent instructors and directors who challenged us, guided us and inevitably formed us into who we have become,” he said. “The highlight for me has been in the blessings we received in each step of the program.”

Deacon Herbert Johnson, 62, and his wife, Tina Marie, have three adult children: Darrell, 39; Christopher, 31; and Jessica, 28.

He is manager of the Chicago Assessment Center for the State of Illinois.

He plans to start his parish ministry with a focus on the family, with marriage preparation and marriage enrichment.

His formation helped him appreciate Scripture, he said.

“Although there were many highlights to the formation experience, I would have to point to the opportunity to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word through prayer and preparation,” he said.

Deacon Joseph Krame, 60, and his wife, Karen, have an adult daughter, Tiffany Dawn.

Krame, a heavy equipment mechanic, plans to work with the Kolbe House ministry at Lake County Jail and with his parish’s youth ministry, Christ First.

He said the highlight of his formation experience was the development of strong bonds among the deacon candidates. The cohort has become a brotherhood, he said.

Deacon John Mutnansky, 64, and his wife, Karen, have three adult children and eight grandchildren.

Mutnansky is retired CTA bus maintenance manager and a union plumber.

He plans to focus his ministry on visiting those in the hospital and homebound, as well as working with the bereavement ministry.

He is certain that God has called him to diaconate ministry.

“The highlight of my formation occurred on our five day retreat, when during eucharistic adoration, a calm came over me along with the realization that I am doing what God is calling me to do,” he said.

Neil Rogers, 56, and his wife, Patricia, have six children ranging in age from 20 to 31.

He is director of sales and marketing for a metals distribution company.

Rogers plans to help in the parish sacramental preparation program and the ministry of care.

He said he benefitted most from learning from other deacons during the formation program.

“The highlight of my formation experience was our service to the liturgy internship, which included observing and assisting deacons throughout the archdiocese,” he said. “I witnessed how deacons accept the grace of God in their lives, and how they share that grace through their three-fold ministries of the word, liturgy and charity. It was a joy to see their commitment to Christ’s eternal love expressed in their service to others.”

Deacon Thomas Ruzevich, 49, and his wife, Laura, have three daughters: Sara, 22; Emily, 21; and Natalie, 17.

A senior special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Ruzevich plans to serve his home parish and minister to those in the law enforcement community.

He said that he especially appreciated the opportunity to serve at Port Ministries during his formation. The Port Ministries is a Franciscan-inspired outreach program in the city’s Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood that provides food and other services to the poor.

“Volunteering at the Port provided me with the opportunity to personally experience the needs of those marginalized by society and equipped me with the tools to see Christ in everyone,” he said. “The training for the diaconate was a wonderful and enriching journey. It is my belief that Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Chicago should be educated about the importance of the diaconate and its mission. It is my hope as a deacon, I will have the opportunity to encourage other spiritual men to consider this vital vocation.”

Thomas Schutzius, 58, and his wife, JoAnn, have three adult children.

He is a carpenter.

He plans to be involved St. George’s marriage and baptismal program, especially the follow-up ministry that maintains contact with families after the sacraments.

As both he and his wife come from families of 10 children, he knows something about families.

“In addition to nine brothers and sisters, I have 16 brothers-in-law and 12 sisters-inlaw, and I have 75 nieces and nephews. I also have quite a few great-nephews and great-nieces,” he said. “I am also honored to be able to say I am a life-long member, except for six months, of St. George. All of these people, along with my wife and children, have been a wonderful support system on this journey to the diaconate for the Archdiocese of Chicago.”

Douglas Szarzynski, 41, and his wife, Carolyn, have three children: Rebecca, 15; Timothy, 13; and Joshua, 11.

He is a life-support operator for the Chicago Zoological Society.

“I had the privilege of ministering to my uncle for the last few months of his life as he suffered from terminal cancer,” Szarzynski said. “This corresponded with our last class in formation which included end-of-life issues and Catholic moral teachings. This experience seemed like bridge between formation and diaconal service and reminded me that just as I will always remain connected with my uncle in a different way as he has moved on to eternity, I will always remain connected to the rich knowledge and blessings I received throughout the formation years and apply them for the greater glory of God.”

Congratulations to all the new deacons!

Topics:

  • cardinal cupich
  • religious life
  • ordination
  • holy name cathedral
  • deacons
  • st. philomena

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