Newly ordained deacons eager to serve the people of God

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Newly ordained deacons eager to serve the people of God

Twenty-seven permanent Catholic deacons were ordained at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Masses on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, 7740 S. Western Ave. Cardinal Cupich was the main celebrant at the 9 a.m. ordination. Bishop Robert Casey, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago, presided over the 1 p.m. Mass. The newly ordained deacons will be serve parishes in: Chicago, Chicago Heights, Grayslake, Gurnee, Lake Zurich, Lemont, Melrose Park, Orland Park, Palatine, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Riverside, Tinley Park, Waukegan and Wilmette. Two permanent deacons were ordained in August. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Tomas Mackevicius from St. John Cantius Parish, 825 N. Carpenter St., walks into Mass with his wife Asta Mackeviciene and son Rojus during the opening procession of the afternoon Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Soon to be ordained Martín Horta (center) from St. Paul Parish in Chicago Heights stands with his wife Maria during the morning Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Peter Brown from St. Mary Parish in Riverside listens to Bishop Robert Casey’s homily with his wife Michelle during the afternoon Mass. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
The men lay prostrate during the praying of the Litany of Saints. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Miguel Ángel Vega from the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, prays during the Mass with Cardinal Cupich. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich lays his hands on newly ordained Deacon Gabriel Nevárez from Sacred Heart Parish in Melrose Park. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Honoratus C. Mwageni, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, vests James Maslanka, who will serve at the parish. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained Deacon Brian Fisher from St. Gilbert Parish in Grayslake, shares the kiss of peace with Cardinal Cupich. The kiss of peace is part of the ordination rite and was altered this year to observe social distancing. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Newly ordained José Carlos Quiroz from Misión San Juan Diego Parish in Palatine waves to his family during the sign of peace. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Cardinal Cupich distributes Communion to newly ordained Deacon Allan Origenes from Our Lady of Mercy Parish, 4432 N. Troy St. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

Ordination day on Sept. 26 was doubly special for the Foggie family. Not only was Michael Foggie being ordained a deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago, his 83-year-old father, Deacon Willie Foggie Jr., who has Parkinson’s disease, made the trip from North Carolina to attend the Mass and vest his son in the stole and dalmatic.

“At first I didn’t want to be like my dad,” Deacon Michael Foggie said after Mass. “But now that’s the only person in the world I want to be like.”

Growing up, Deacon Foggie said, he thought his dad was too strict. It wasn’t until he was older that he saw how important his dad was to the family and the type of man his father was.

“I didn’t know the organization and the strictness was love. Wanting to be like him helped me in my decision and thanking God to become a deacon,” said Deacon Foggie, who will serve at Holy Angels Church, 615 E. Oakwood Blvd.

Raised as a Southern Baptist, Foggie’s father converted to Catholicism and was ordained a deacon in 1986.

Seeing her brother ordained a deacon and her father vest him was very special, said Margaret Foggie-Kimber.

“It was even more than fantastic because my mom passed away three years ago and she would have loved to have been here,” Foggie-Kimber said, emotion filling her voice and tears welling in her eyes. “It was beyond phenomenal to see my dad vest my brother.”

Deacon Foggie was one of 27 men ordained on Sept. 26 during two Masses at St. Rita of Cascia Shrine Chapel, 7740 S. Western Ave. Cardinal Cupich celebrated the first Mass at 9 a.m. and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey, archdiocesan vicar general, celebrated the second Mass at 1 p.m.

Two other deacons were ordained in August. The Archdiocese of Chicago has the largest Catholic diaconate in the world, with 506 active deacons involved in 215 parishes and agencies.

Deacons assist bishops and priests in ministries of the Word, liturgy and charity. This includes proclaiming the Gospel, celebrating baptisms, witnessing marriages and conducting wake and funeral services. Deacons also minister to the poor and those on the margins.

In his homily, Cardinal Cupich focused on how deacons can carry out their ministry, especially through the Renew My Church process.

“Three words focus our attention on what your ministry should be like: service, unity and stewardship. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus reminds you that your ministry is one of service. Service is marked by waiting and watching,” the cardinal said. “The focus is always on the other, their needs, their wishes. Service is how you are being called to live out your discipleship.”

In the time of Renew My Church, the deacons’ example of living out service can inspire parishioners to be intentional in their relationship with Christ, he said. They can also unite the people.

“As Renew My Church aims at building community, you as deacons can have a special role in making sure that the unity within your parish always maintains as its point of reference the presence of God,” Cardinal Cupich said. “This is about helping parishioners understand that the church can never be reduced to a social enclave or a group of people who share things in common or who are of the same socio-economic group or background or ethnicity. Rather what unites us, especially in adversity, that has blessed our church, is that God dwells within each of us, calls each of us, in all of the rich differences that we have, to be united by our shared love of God and of others.”

Through stewardship, the deacons have a special call to serve the poor and those on the margins, Cardinal Cupich said.

“Your ministry, especially in this time of Renew My Church, also must be about reaching out to those who suffer want of spirit, who have lost hope or a sense of purpose about their lives. So too we must help them come to an appreciation of the creative capacity to pursue the life that God has intended for them and bring them to share the joy of the Gospel, inspiring them to be subjects of their own history, contributors to the common good,” Cardinal Cupich told the deacons. “This is how you are to be good stewards of the gifts found in the communities where you serve.”

Following the ordination Mass, Deacon Timothy McCormick, who will serve at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Orland Park, said he was excited to start his ministry as a deacon.

Deacon McCormick attended Catholic schools throughout his life including Quigley Seminary and Niles College, and later went into law enforcement.

“I’ve always had a strong faith and always had the desire to serve our fellow man and our community here in the Archdiocese of Chicago,” he said.

Deacon McCormick, who also serves with Kolbe House, the archdiocese’s jail ministry, said he is eager to bring people back to church.

“I think we have a great opportunity during our services of baptisms and weddings and funerals to maybe reach some folks that are not in that practicing Catholic category and maybe they have fallen away a little bit from their faith,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”