Bishop Michael Duca Ordained Six Local Men to the Diaconate

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Bishop Michael G. Duca of Baton Rouge ordained six local men to the diaconate on August 8 at St. Joseph Cathedral downtown Baton Rouge.

It was a historic ordination because the six men represent the first deacons who received their intellectual formation at the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Baton Rouge.

“This is one of those great moments when we see the Church renewed by the faith of the people and by these men who have felt called and been called to serve the Church as ordained deacons,” Bishop Duca said.

The Order of Deacon is the foundational level in the Church’s Sacrament of Holy Orders, the two higher levels being the presbyterate (priests) and the episcopacy (bishops).

Some men are ordained to the diaconate with the anticipation of becoming priests. These deacons are commonly called “transitional deacons,” but they never lose the character, or mark, of their diaconal ordination as priests or even as bishops.

The six men ordained Saturday are commonly called “permanent deacons” because they do not anticipate ordination to the priesthood. They are all married, and if widowed, they must remain celibate and cannot remarry.

Deacons can proclaim the Gospel, preach, serve at the altar as an Ordinary Minister of Holy Communion and perform works of charity in service to the poor.

Bishop Duca emphasized how important the ministry of service is in the life of a deacon. “You are now the public witness of Christ’s love for the poor and those in need,” he said. “The witness you give can be transformative to everyone you meet. You are called to serve, not to be served. Don’t let it go to your head. Let it go to your heart. Let your heart be a heart for the poor,” he added.

The academic work at FRANU included 20 courses required to earn certificates in Catholic Theology and Catechesis, awarded to the new deacons near the conclusion of Saturday’s liturgy.

Dr. Tina Holland, president of FRANU, said, “As the only Catholic university in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, we have both the privilege and the responsibility to serve the Church. This historic ordination and the awarding of these certificates for the first time are sterling examples of that service.”

In addition to their academic work, the new deacons received formation in the spiritual, human, and pastoral dimensions of their new ministry.

The newly ordained deacons, their home parishes and their parish assignments are listed below.

Deacon Alec Campbell

Home Parish – St. Alphonsus, Greenwell Springs

Assignment – St. Patrick, Baton Rouge

Deacon Chris Landry

Home Parish – Christ the King, Baton Rouge

Assignment – St. Jude, Baton Rouge

Deacon Billy Messenger

Home Parish – Immaculate Conception, Denham Springs

Assignment – Chaplain, The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola

Deacon Ehren Oschwald

Home Parish – St. Jules, Belle Rose & St. Elizabeth, Paincourtville

Assignment – St. Jules, Belle Rose & St. Elizabeth, Paincourtville

Mark Reynaud

Home Parish – St. Alphonsus, Greenwell Springs

Assignment – Most Blessed Sacrament, Baton Rouge

Gabriel Rico

Home Parish – The Hispanic Apostolate

Assignment – St. Theresa, Gonzales

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