Nine men from throughout the 19-county Toledo Catholic Diocese will be ordained as deacons Saturday by Bishop Leonard Blair in a Mass at Rosary Cathedral.
Msgr. William Kubacki, director of formation for the permanent diaconate, said this is the diocese's first class of deacons since 2008 because the program was placed on hiatus after the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops enacted new rules in 2008.
"This will be the first class to be ordained under these new guidelines," Monsignor Kubacki said, adding the next class of deacon candidates will be ordained in 2013.
Deacon candidates undergo a five-year training process, or formation, starting with a year of inquiry, a year as an aspirant, and three years of candidacy.
Their training focuses on four pillars of formation established by the USCCB: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions.
The importance of the deacons' role in the church is evident by the fact they hold one of only three positions in the church that receives the sacrament of Holy Orders, along with priests and bishops, Monsignor Kubacki said.
Deacons can perform baptisms and officiate at marriages, assist the bishop and priests with the celebration of the Eucharist including the proclamation of the Gospel and giving homilies, and preside at funerals. Deacons cannot celebrate Mass, hear confessions, or anoint people.
How much a deacon does in a parish or other setting depends largely on the pastor, Monsignor Kubacki said.
"I would think the pastor would use them quite regularly in parish life," he said.
The nine diaconate candidates, who range from their 40s to their 60s, and the parishes to which Bishop Blair has appointed them are: Robert Fedynich, Blessed Sacrament Church in Toledo; Gerald Galernik, All Saints, Rossford; Armando Gonzales, St. Michael, Findlay; Jon Gottron, St. Augustine, Napoleon; Donald Inkrott, St. John the Baptist, Glandorf; Edward Maher, St. Thomas More, Bowling Green; John Reef, St. Peter, Mansfield; Melvin Shell, St. Joseph, Fremont, and John Walter, SS. Patrick & Andrew, Bascom.
Permanent deacons can be single, married, or widowed. If they are single when ordained they take a vow of celibacy. If they are married at ordination, they promise not to remarry if their spouse dies.
All nine of the diocese's deacon candidates have full-time jobs outside of the church, Monsignor Kubacki said.
With Saturday's ordination, the total number of deacons in the Toledo diocese will be 198, according to the Catholic Chronicle, the Toledo diocese's official newspaper.
For married deacons working full time, it is important to determine how much time and energy they need to devote to family, to their ministry as a deacon, and to their secular jobs.
"I think the balancing of that is very important, and I know most wives keep their husband grounded," Monsignor Kubacki said.
The ordination Mass begins at 11 a.m. at Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd.