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placeholder December 16, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 21   •   Oakland, CA

The new deacons posed with Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, after the Mass.
all: josÉ luis aguirre/The Catholic Voice

Fifteen men ordained as permanent deacons

Rev. George Alengadan directed the formation of the deacons who were ordained Nov. 16 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

With a call to service, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, ordained his first class of deacons, 15 men he sent into the world to serve in parishes, ethnic ministry and service ministry in jails, veteran hospitals and agencies that serve the poor.

Each new deacon has received an assignment in a parish; some have received additional service duties. These are the first assignments of deacons at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in San Leandro, St. Ambrose Parish in Berkeley and Our Lady Queen of the World Parish in Bay Point.

The new deacons completed their near-five-year journey to ordination at the Nov. 16 Mass, which spanned almost three hours, at the Cathedral of Christ the Light. The bishop noted that his was his first opportunity to bestow Holy Orders.

It was standing-room-only in the cathedral, which seats 1,100. Families and friends surrounded each of the candidates.

Jimmy Macalinao is the only unmarried man among the deacons, and young people were part of his entourage. Among them was the women's basketball team from St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, where he is campus minister and teaches theology. As well as a fan of the basketball team.

"He's one of our favorite teachers," said Ayesa Kearns, the center, a member of the Class of 2016. "He's very dear to our hearts."

The young women were scheduled to play a game later in the day.

As the new deacons processed out of the cathedral later in the day, a group of high school students, dressed in their Sunday best, held up a sign, on butcher paper: "Congratulations Mr. Mac," it read.

As each man was called, he left his family in the pews, he stood, answered present, moving to the aisle, bowed at the altar and took a place in a semicircle around the altar. After the last name was called, then to the foot of the altar. When all had been called by name, 15 men, from age 40 to 68, stood in a semicircle at the foot of the altar.

They were presented by Rev. George Alengadan, who directed their formation over these past five years. He attested to their readiness for ordination.

In his homily, Bishop Barber told the deacons that they are ordained at the "bishop's hands, but Christ's touch."

The roots of the diaconate are in the early church, he said. As the apostles were needed to carry the Word of God, they chose "some strong and reliable men to carry on the church's charitable work."

Bishop Barber recalled his recent visit to the Federal Correctional Facility for Women in Dublin, where he baptized and confirmed some of the residents.

"Who is there every Sunday?" he asked, who has been there for their faith formation, their preparation for the sacraments.

"Our deacons," he said.

As bishop, he said, "You can't do it all yourself. You are my right-hand men."

He noted the deacons' work in Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Worker and other ministries of service.

He recalled his own time as a deacon, at the inner-city cathedral parish in Toronto, when an usher came to him and said a young man in the back of the church appeared to need help.

The visitor held up two vials of pills he said he taken. "I came to your church to say goodbye to God," the young man said.

After getting him medical help, the bishop noted that the young man had a place to stay with some nearby brothers as he recovered.

After the homily, each deacon promised loyalty and obedience to the bishop and his successors.

Deacon assignments

• Richard Bayless to St. Joseph Parish, Old Mission San Jose, Fremont

• Gustavo Escruceria to St. Bonaventure Parish, Concord and Deanery Ministry to the Hispanic Community

• Robert Federle to St. Michael Parish, Livermore and Deanery Ministry to the Portuguese and St. Vincent de Paul of St. Michael Parish

• Joseph Gourley to Catholic Community of Pleasanton

• William Henderson to St. Michael Parish, Livermore and Veterans Home

• Stephen Lewellyn to Holy Spirit Parish, Fremont and Deacon Community Bereavement Committee

• Bernard Liwanag to St. Anne Parish, Union City

• Jimmy Macalinao to St. Joseph Basilica Parish, Alameda

• Thomas Martin to Our Lady of Good Counsel, San Leandro*

• Timothy Meyers to St. Felicitas Parish, San Leandro

• John Mignano to Our Lady of Grace Parish, Castro Valley

• Ralph Nagel to St. Ambrose Parish, Berkeley*

• Loc Nguyen to Our Lady Queen of the World Parish, Bay Point*

• Timothy Roberto to Holy Spirit Parish, Fremont

• Loc Sekona to St. John the Baptist Parish, El Cerrito and the Tongan Community of the diocese

* Denotes the first-ever deacon assigned to parish

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