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Contact: Ray Delisle

Bishop McManus to Ordain Three Permanent Deacons
and One Transitional Deacon for Worcester Diocese

Diaconate Program to resume accepting candidates this year

May 28, 2013 WORCESTER, MA – On Saturday, June 1 at 10:00 am at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Worcester, Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, S.T.D., will ordain three men to the permanent diaconate and one man to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Worcester. All are welcome to the ordination Mass and the ceremony will be delay broadcast on Charter TV 3 on Sunday, June 2 at 1:00 pm and Wednesday, June 5 at 10:00 am.

The three men to be permanent deacons are William A. Bilow, Jr., William G. Ferrarone, and John F. LeDoux. James Boland will be ordained a transitional deacon, in preparation for the priesthood.
Ordination is also referred to as Holy Orders and has three grades. The first grade is deacon, or the diaconal order. Ordination to the diaconate confers the clerical state upon the ordinand, or one who is ordained. At that time he is also incardinated into (belonging to) the particular diocese or religious institute, according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

Transitional deacons are those men preparing for the priesthood, (the presbyteral order). Men who are later ordained bishops (episcopal order), are ordained “in the fullness of orders” of the priesthood according to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and share in the apostolic mission going back to the first apostles.

Permanent deacons share the same diaconal functions as transitional deacons but may be married or not. They do not continue on to priesthood. It was restored in 1968 by the Bishops in the United States following a reestablishment of the Order by Vatican Council II the previous year. For centuries prior to that time, the Order of Deacon had been reserved to a temporary status on the road to priesthood.
Diaconate comes from the Greek word diakonia or service. Since all Catholics are called by Baptism to be of service to their brothers and sisters, why have an ordained ministry of service? Though this is a very complex question, which has generated much discussion, two important points must be stressed. Service to the community is the primary role of the deacon and by bearing witness to the ministry of service in a parish, he assists the whole community in becoming more aware of that aspect of their faith. Secondly, the order of deacon sacramentalizes service. The deacon as an ordained servant of the community is more than a functionary but bears witness to that aspect of Jesus and his ministry in apostolic times.

Shared Ministry as Deacons
By virtue of their ordination, transitional deacons and permanent deacons assist the priests and bishops in the celebration of the Mass as ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, in proclaiming the Gospel, and by preaching. They also assist at and bless marriages, can preside over funerals and wake services, and are dedicated to various works of charity in living out their call to service.

William A. Bilow, Jr. resides in Lancaster and is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in the same town. He attended Nashoba Valley Regional High School and Assumption College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and foreign languages. He is Vice President for Enterprise Program Services at Hanover Insurance in Worcester. Since he is not married, Mr. Bilow will also take a vow of celibacy at ordination. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at 8 am on Sunday, June 2 at Immaculate Conception Parish with Rev. Edward Lettic, pastor, as celebrant.

William G. Ferrarone resides in Barre with him wife, Karen Sharfenberg-Ferrarone. They have three children and are members of St. Thomas-A-Becket Parish in South Barre. He attended Classical High School in Springfield and the College of the Holy Cross, has a Masters in Social Work from Simmons College and a doctorate in clinical psychology from what is now known as Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. He is a clinical psychologist at UMass Memorial Medical Center and an associate faculty member at UMass Medical School, as well as a practitioner at the Barre Family Health Center. A Mass of Thanksgiving will take place at 8:30 am on June 9 at St. Thomas-a-Becket Church with Rev. Michael Lavallee as principal celebrant, who will be joined by other priests who have known or worked with Mr. Ferrarone.

A member of St. Stephen Parish, John Francis Domenic LeDoux resides in Worcester with his wife Allison, who is the director of the Respect Life Office and the Marriage and Family Office in the Diocese of Worcester. They have eight children. He attended Burncoat High School and Boston University. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Anna Maria College. He has been a liturgical musician for 32 years in the Diocese of Worcester, including five years at Ascension Parish as director of music. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be held on June 2 at 11:45 at St. Stephen Church with Rev. Edward Chalmers, pastor, as celebrant.

James M. Boland attended Algonquin Regional High School, Northborough, and has a bachelor’s degree from Springfield College. He has been studying for the priesthood at St. John Seminary, Brighton. His summer assignments have included St. Paul Cathedral, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Fitchburg, The Institute of Priestly Formation at Creighton University, Nebraska, and Immaculate Conception Parish, Worcester. A Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at St. Bernadette Parish, Northborough, on Saturday, June 1 at 5 pm with Rev. Stephen Gemme as celebrant.

Other Information
Last year’s diocesan directory indicated that there are 90 permanent deacons actively serving in the Diocese of Worcester. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reports 17,436 permanent deacons in the U.S.

The diocesan diaconate program will resume accepting new applicants after having suspended the program for two years to evaluate placement opportunities. The study period confirmed there are pastoral needs in the diocese which can be filled by additional deacons.

The Office for Vocations to the Priesthood and the Office of the Diaconate are both funded by the annual Partners in Charity appeal.

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