21 permanent deacons ordained; two ceremonies for largest class

Rely on Jesus, particularly in difficult moments.

Archbishop George J. Lucas shared that and other advice with 21 men from rural and urban areas of the archdiocese who were ordained permanent deacons in two ceremonies in Omaha – 10 on April 29, 11 on May 6.

Reflecting on the early years of his own ministry, the archbishop in his homily talked about a friend who was dying of cancer. He asked his friend what he might talk about in the midst of that suffering, and the friend replied, "Talk about Jesus," the archbishop said.

"What I think about now, in particularly hard matters, is to talk about Jesus," Archbishop Lucas said. "Think about dogma second, or third. Think about Jesus, and then people will hunger for more."

It was one of several messages the archbishop shared with the largest class of permanent deacons since the ministry began in the archdiocese in 1973. And it was part of ceremonies permeated by the Holy Spirit, said Deacon Roger Filips of Holy Trinity Parish in Hartington, who was ordained April 29.

"The thing that struck me was the Holy Spirit – while I was walking down the aisle, about five steps in," during the procession into St. Cecilia Cathedral, Deacon Filips said. "It hit me like a physical force."

Deacon Filips said he and the other nine men ordained with him also attended the May 6 ceremony, to be with their classmates in what has become a tight-knit group, and the Holy Spirit was every bit as present there.

Deacon Jeffrey Zurek of St. Francis Borgia Parish in Blair said several deacons ordained years ago but attending the May 6 ceremony and sharing the kiss of peace with the newly ordained assured him of another presence – that of his late father, Deacon John Zurek, who served St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion.

"Quite a few ordained with my father said, ‘Your Dad is very proud of you,’ and ‘Your Dad is here,’" and those assurances meant a great deal, Deacon Zurek said.

The special presence of his late father brought tears of joy to his eyes – and those of his mother, Connie – as they shared an emotional embrace after the ceremony, Deacon Zurek said.

"The graces we received that day also came through – it was everything," Deacon Zurek said of that grace-filled moment.

And now, it is time to step out and serve others, sharing the mercy of Christ, another of Archbishop Lucas’ messages during his homily, Deacon Zurek said.

"He talked about the mission of being mercy to others. That brought us into what we have been taught in formation, to be totally available to Christ’s servant mysteries," he said. "To go out and make disciples of all nations."

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