New Year’s Ordination uncommon in recent years
December 29, 2011, WORCESTER, MA –St. Patrick Church in Whitinsville will be preparing to welcome in the New Year with the ordination of Deacon Juan Herrera on December 31at 10:00 am. Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, S.T.D., Bishop of Worcester, will be the ordaining bishop and Father Michael Broderick, pastor of St. Patrick Parish, will vest him in the stole and chasuble as part of the ordination rite. Deacon Herrera has been serving as a transitional deacon in Whitinsville during his final semester at St. John Seminary, where he also served as deacon last summer.
Ordinarily the Diocese of Worcester celebrates ordinations in June, following the end of the academic year when most seminarians receive their Masters in Divinity. Seminarians who began their studies outside the U.S. and complete studies in this country must receive more than half of the credits towards their Masters in Divinity from the domestic seminary. Since Deacon Herrera completed the requirement at the end of the fall semester, he is ready to be ordained.
Deacon Herrera is a 31 year old native of Medellin, Columbia who received his bachelor of arts in Philosophy from the Pontifical Bolivarian University. In 2007 he transferred to the Diocese of Worcester as part of its seminary studies program at the Holy Name House of Studies on Illinois Street. Following intensive studies in English language and American culture at Clark University and Boston University, he went on to St. John Seminary in Brighton.
His summer assignments included Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, West Boylston, St. Louis Parish in Webster, and St. Patrick Parish, Whitinsville.
On Sunday, January 1 at 10:00 am, which for the Catholic Church is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Deacon Herrera will celebrate his first Mass at St. Patrick Church. Fr. Nelson Rivera, associate pastor of Blessed John Paul II Parish in Southbridge, his best friend and fellow Columbian whom he met at seminary in Bolivia 11 years, will be the homilist.
In a recent interview, Deacon Herrera summed up his understanding of a priest as follows, “The most important thing in my role as a priest is to be humble. A priest is not a superhero. He’s a person who also needs to be saved by God.”