The ornate Gothic vaults of Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica in Newark, New Jersey, echoed to the Easter hymn “Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise” at a noon Mass on May 17, 2015, as Fra. George Valdivia and ten other men received the Order of Deacon from Archbishop John Joseph Myers. Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the faculty of Immaculate Conception Seminary and a great many priests concelebrated, including Fr. Joseph Gallardo, OAR, Prior Provincial of St. Augustine Province, who also vested Fra. Valdivia, as well as Frs. Fredric Abiera, OAR, Michael Rafferty, OAR, John Gruben, OAR and John Oldfield, OAR. The Cathedral was filled with family members, friends of the deacon candidates, seminarians and members of various religious congregations. Several of our SAR members from the Tagaste Monastery fraternity and a good contingent from the Hispanic Community of Tagaste were also present, as were several members of Fra. Valdivia’s family, including a brother and nephew. After the opening procession and the welcome, the readings in English, Spanish, and Portuguese followed. The Archbishop then called on the candidates to make a commitment to celibacy and a promise of respect and obedience to the bishop. Following the solemn singing of the Litany of the Saints, the Archbishop laid his hands on the head of each of the candidates and then prayed the Prayer of Ordination. After the vesting of the new deacons, the Archbishop handed each the Book of Gospels with the traditional words: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” Some of the current deacons then embraced the newly ordained, and the assembly signified its approval with an animated round of applause. All of the new deacons helped with the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful. Following the recessional, there was time for greetings and picture taking. Deacon Valdivia then had an opportunity to spend some time with his family, and Fr. Provincial invited the community to a very satisfying lunch. Our congratulations to our new Deacon who will be spending the summer exercising his ministry in a parish of the Archdiocese before returning to the seminary in the fall for his final year of theological studies.
- Father John Gruben, OAR
Archbishop Bernard Hebda (c) joins Recollects (l to r) Frs. Michael Rafferty, and Fredric Abiera, Deacon George Valdivia, and Frs. Joseph Gallardo (Prior Provincial), and John Oldfield.
Fr. Joseph Gallardo vests Deacon George Valdivia with stole and dalmatic of his new ministry.
Sacred Heart Cathedral Basilica in Newark, New Jersey