New deacons to be ordained for archdiocese

By Chicago Catholic
Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Deacons lie prostrate in front of the altar in this photo from the May 11, 2019, diaconate ordination.

Twenty-seven men will be ordained as permanent deacons to serve in the Archdiocese of Chicago in two Masses on Sept. 26 at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, 7740 S. Western Ave. Two men were ordained in August.

The group includes permanent deacons who completed four years of formation. Married men may be ordained permanent deacons; single men who become permanent deacons must make a commitment to celibacy. Permanent deacons often work outside the church in addition to their diaconal ministry.

The men being ordained are:

Carlos Alvarado

St. Turibius, Chicago

Carlos Alvarado, 61, is a truck driver who has one child, Benjamin, 24. Following ordination he plans to work with the parish’s RCIA program. The highlight of formation for Alvarado was, “developing a prayer life and learning from fellow students and teachers by sharing our faith experiences.”

John Benz

St. Julie Billiart, Tinley Park

John Benz, 61, is an attorney and lives in Orland Park with his wife, Kathy. They have four children: John, 28; Mary, 27; Danny, 27; and Mike, 24.

“I began my vocational formation 47 years ago at Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, graduating in 1977,” Benz said. He graduated from both Niles College Seminary and Loyola University with a bachelor’s in theology. “I owe my diaconal vocation to the faith of my wife and family, teachers, friends and priests who lovingly encouraged me to discern and follow the call of the Holy Spirit in my life.” 

Deacon Brent Bertke

St. Paul the Apostle, Gurnee

Brent Bertke, 66, is retired and lives in Grayslake with his wife, Kathryn. They have three children: Emerson, 40; Regan, 37; and Elizabeth, 35.

Deacon Brent Bertke said he plans to focus his ministry wherever the Lord leads him. He was ordained on Aug. 12 at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

Peter Brown

St. Mary, Riverside

Peter Brown, 54, is a school administrator. He and his wife, Michelle, have three children: Christina, 29; Matthew, 25; and Alyssa, 19.

Following ordination, Brown plans to work in education.

“I humbly look forward to receiving this sacrament and serving the church in a new capacity,” he said.

Timothy Callahan

Sts. Alphonsus and Patrick, Lemont

Timothy Callahan, 60, lives in Orland Park and is retired. He has one daughter: Megan, 33.

The time for prayer and reflection during the formation process was a highlight for Callahan. He plans to work in the ministry for the sick following ordination.

Angelo Cordoba Jr.

St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Chicago

Angelo Cordoba Jr., 47, is a paramedic officer with the Chicago Fire Department. He and his wife, Marisa, have three children: Jasmine, 25; Isabella, 15; and Micaelangelo, 14.

“I never imagined the Institute for Diaconal Studies would be such a beautiful experience,” Cordoba said. “It has guided me closer to the Lord and strengthened my faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Thomas Dombai

St. Juliana, Chicago

Thomas Dombai, 60, is an attorney. He and his wife, Marie, have six children: Therese, 32; Will, 30; Tim, 28; Julie, 26; Bob, 23; and Peter, 22. They also have two grandchildren. 

“I am looking forward to serving my parish in any way needed, but I hope to focus on the needs of welcoming and assisting young families to join the life of our parish,” he said.

Brian Fisher

St. Gilbert, Grayslake

Brian Fisher, 54, is an information technology business leader. He and his wife, Angela, have four children: Erica Zuber, 26; Ben Zuber, 27; Jeremy Fisher, 24; and Kyle Fisher, 22.

The theological reflection group was the highlight of Fisher’s formation. “Angie and I are humbled to have journeyed with this very special group of couples,” he said.

Michael Foggie

Holy Angels, Chicago

Michael Foggie, 63, is a safety director.

He said the highlight of his formation was going through it with his wife, Eileen. Following ordination he plans to work in children’s catechesis.


José González    

Holy Cross Immaculate Heart of Mary, Chicago

José González is an engineer. He and his wife, Maria, have three children.  He found his diaconate formation to be a total transformation which has completely changed  his life.

“I plan on  ministering to the sick. I feel blessed to be able to bring them something they need. Companionship and someone to listen to them. That’s why we’re here.  To be instruments of God.”

Martín Horta

St. Paul, Chicago Heights

Martin Horta is a construction worker. He and his wife, María, have five children. He found his final year of formation challenging, but he completed it with great joy.

“I’m not sure in which specific ministry  I will serve, but I am open to serving where it is I am most needed.”

Tomas Mackevicius

St. John Cantius, Chicago

Tomas Mackevicius, 44, lives in La Grange and works as an information officer at a clinical cancer research organization. He and his wife, Asta Mackeviciene, have three children: Skaiste, 7; Elija, 5; and Rojus, 1.

“I would like to thank God for giving me the gift of this vocation,” Mackevicius said.

Miguel Ángel Martínez

St. Clare of Montefalco, Chicago

Miguel Ángel Martínez works in the manufacturing of packaging materials. He and his wife, Carolina Edith López, have three children.

For him, the diaconate is a calling to evangelization and service. He says it has also strengthened his relationship with his wife and daughters.

“Looking forward to ministering  in adult catechesis and also to minister to married people.”

Salvador Martínez

Holy Trinity, Waukegan

Salvador Martínez is an industrial mechanic. He and his wife, María, have four children.

During his formation, having the opportunity to learn the history of the church, becoming more a part of it and having the chance to contribute was  like a dream come true.

“At Holy Trinity, we have over 40 ministries, so it’s not easy to say which one I will serve. I would like to minister to young people and married couples.”

Frank Mattison

St. Alphonsus Liguori, Prospect Heights

Frank Mattison, 56, is a masonry contractor. He and his wife, Wendy, have two children: Andrew 25, and Mareena, 18.

“I truly enjoyed the interaction and experience of learning about the church from the amazing staff of teachers,” Mattison said of the formation process. “The Holy Spirit has brought together an amazing group of able-bodied men, who are eager to do the work of the church for our beloved city.”

James Maslanka

Sts. Peter and Paul, Chicago

James Maslanka, 57, lives in Crestwood and is a supervisor. He and his wife, Jonalee, have six children: Vivianna, 31; Gerard, 29; Jerome, 27; Gloria, 24; Theresa, 23; and Jacinta, 20.

After ordination, he said, he will help develop catechetical programs, assist with liturgical celebrations and “go wherever the Holy Spirit wants me to be.”

Timothy McCormick

St. Francis of Assisi, Orland Park

Timothy McCormick, 61, is senior director for global security at PepsiCo. He and his wife, Linda, have four children: John, 26; Hannah, 23; Ally, 22; and Ethan, 18.

The camaraderie that developed between he and his wife and the other couples in their cohort was the highlight of his formation experience, he said. “We had a very large class of men from all walks of life. This was a very humbling experience and we feel blessed to have journeyed down this path with so many faith-filled disciples in Christ.”

Gabriel Nevárez   

Sacred Heart, Melrose Park

Gabriel Nevárez is a machinist and has one child. For him, diaconate formation was a rich experience that he completed with the help of God.

He is involved in many ministries but looks most forward to caring for the sick. “For me, being a deacon means serving the community.”

Michael O’Neill

St. Alphonsus & St. Patrick, Lemont

Michael O’Neill, 63, is a retired food industry executive. He and his wife, Dianne McLaughlin, have three children: Michael, 31; Chrissy, 29; and Megan Marie, 23.

He said the highlight of his formation was, “growing in my knowledge and understanding of our beautiful and awesome Catholic faith and church. All of our instructors were great.”

Allan Origenes

Our Lady of Mercy, Chicago

Allan Origenes, 56, is a compliance officer and lives in Des Plaines with his wife, Avelina.

The liturgy internship was the highlight of his formation and he plans to work in adult faith formation following ordination.


Christopher Parker

St. Barnabas, Chicago

Christopher Parker, 57, lives in Oak Lawn and works in facility management. He and his wife, Eileen, have three children: Sarah, 30; Emily, 28; and Allison, 25.

“The Service to the Liturgy internship gave me great practical experience in the wide range of ministries deacons are involved with. The deacons whom I served with and learned from were very helpful and cared about my formation,” Parker said.

Deacon Thomas Purtell

St. Francis de Sales, Lake Zurich

Deacon Thomas Purtell, 57, is retired and with his wife, Jocelyn, has two children: Joseph, 27, and Margaret, 23.

The theological reflection groups were the highlight of Deacon Purtell’s formation process.

He was ordained on Aug. 30 at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

José Carlos Quiroz

Misión San Juan Diego, Palatine

José Carlos Quiroz is a  tax preparer and a certified nursing assistant. He and his wife, Débora Ramos, have two children.

“The permanent diaconate is the choice the Lord gives us in order to seek holiness, beginning with obedience to his call,” he said.

His intention is to serve in the liturgy and in formation of the community.

Curt Robey

Sts. Joseph and Francis Xavier, Wilmette

Curt Robey, 64, is a private banker with Bank of America. He and his wife, Sarah, have four children: Gavin, 32; Ryan, 27; Brendan, 24; and Elizabeth, 18.

The highlight of his formation was the ministry of the sick, where he was “touched by the commitment to faith shown by people who are very ill or in hospice.”

Sergio E. Robles

St. Nicholas of Tolentine, Chicago

Sergio E. Robles works in furniture restoration. He and his wife, Edith, have two children.

His diaconate formation was a process of dedication and a lot of discipline, time and perseverance.

“I hope to continue to support the catechesis of children and adults, accompany and prepare families who have older  children who have not been baptized; accompany and guide couples, who have not received the sacrament of marriage.”

Edward Sajdak

St. Bruno, Chicago

Edward Sajdak, 57, is a campus minister and credits his formation time with deepening his faith life.



Edward Schipp

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, Park Ridge

Edward Schipp, 59, is vice president of information technology for Sagent Pharmaceuticals. He and his wife, Mary, have three children: Richard, 33; Matthew, 30; and Jacqueline, 27.

One highlight of his formation was the Service to the Liturgy internship. “Within the Institute for Diaconal Studies program, the Service to the Liturgy internship was challenging and yet so rewarding an opportunity to put into practice the culmination of our formation experience.”  

Larry Sorce     

Our Lady of the Holy Family, Chicago

Larry Sorce, 68, is an air emissions testing project supervisor. He and his wife, Laura, have three children: Andrew, 32; Anthony, 31; and Angelo, 28.

Sorce will minister at a new parish formed out of Renew My Church, and said, “There is much to be done and the to-do-list seems to keep growing.  This is an exciting time.”

Miguel Ángel Vega

Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Des Plaines

Miguel Ángel Vega is a quartermaster He is married to María Eugenia López.

He describes his diaconate formation as a “long process of discernment where I have worked in my person in all four dimensions: human, pastoral, intellectual and spiritual, walking with my wife, my teachers, my community and my spiritual director, to be leading me to God’s will and see the signs that close and open to correspond to God’s call to me with my limitations and virtues so that I can communicate the good news to others.”

“I will be available to my bishop and priest, and my desire is to continue visiting the sick.”



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