The Diocese of Montreal takes great joy in announcing the ordination of five new permanent deacons in the course of this fall. The five will be preparing for ordination in separate parishes. Their fine testimonies inspire us to hearken to Christ and to follow Him, whichever way that leads!
For François Gobeille, this ordination is the ‘culmination’ of a call he received several years ago: ‘I have always been drawn to the Lord, like a magnet.’ One day at church, he volunteered as minister of the Eucharist and, while standing next to the altar, ‘Suddenly, that was the day I felt closest to Jesus and the Blessed Virgin. I even said to my wife when I went back, ‘You can’t imagine the feeling I just had! My insides went all warm!’ Following this intense experience, he met a first deacon, which led him to a discernment in that path.
Being a constant witness to his family’s generosity and helpfulness towards others growing up, he felt the desire to serve early in his youth: ‘My vocation is going to be helping others, and in the diaconate I can make this happen.’ He provides a presence for alcoholics anonymous at the parish, visits the prison and has a ministry as a pastoral worker at the Cimetière Côte-des-Neiges.
François will be ordained as a permanent deacon on October 30 at 7:30 p.m. for the Notre-Dame-de-la-Consolata Parish.
The diaconate as a path:
While Anthony Rettino feels that his diaconal ordination will be a‘unique and special’ moment, he considers that it will above all ‘mark a path.’ Says Anthony, ‘You learn to become a deacon through your faith. When you have a call like this, the moment of ordination doesn’t make you suddenly become the person. You become that person beforehand, during the preparation. You have received a call, a summons from Christ in your life that makes you say, I want to give my life to Christ in a special way.’
‘It’s a joyful moment, like a marriage! I’ve been married for 31 years, and it’s not over when you get married, it’s the beginning! It’s the beginning of a choice, choosing something that is not always easy to choose,’ he says, ‘and it is loving.’
He heard the call ‘in the silence of a slight breeze, like Eli,’ and decided to answer by walking in the diaconal path, which appeared as ‘a progressive and natural thing’ in his life. ‘My understanding with God was, if you close the door, I will accept that; otherwise, I’m going to go forward, in spite of any doubts.’
Anthony will be ordained as a permanent deacon November 6 at 7:30 p.m. for St. Luke Parish.
In the service of the Church in society and society in the Church:
‘The diaconate is a service,’ Jean-Job Casimir begins. If there is a call to the diaconal way, there is also a call to ordination. ‘After six years, I asked myself if I would carry on or stop.’ He prayed often, seeking help, and talked with his wife about the potential commitment, since the diaconate is a ministry in which time is freely given, and this must be compatible with family life, with the person’s wife and their young children. Today, the answer comes automatically, ‘I’m absolutely ready!’ he exclaims joyfully.
‘Basically, we are men working in the world who understand worldly needs, and at the same time we know the Church’s needs. So our service is twofold: serving the Church in society and serving society in the Church.’ Thanks to this awareness of the suffering that exists in society, he believes it is possible to orient the pastoral approach towards finding reaponses to those needs within the Church.
In Jean-Job’s eyes, to be a permanent deacon is also to represent his ministry every day, even in ‘how I speak to people.’ Jean-Job will be ordained November 27 at 7:30 p.m.
At the table of charity:
The sense of service is what resonated most with Daniel Joseph Duong: ‘In the permanent diaconate, there are three tables of service: the altar, the Liturgy of the Word and charity. I very much like the aspect of charity, the idea of serving our brothers and sisters in the Church and being a missionary of that charity,’ he explains enthusiastically.
He experienced his call with the full backing of his wife, Cecilia, as the diaconate is also a commitment for the couple: ‘When my wife learned about my intention to take on the diaconate, she was surprised and very happy. She supported me unconditionally. Her support is indispensable!’ Cecilia got through cancer while Daniel Joseph was following the diaconal path. She recounts that she never stopped praying and asking God to let her remain on earth so she could serve beside her husband. At the moment, her cancer is almost cured, and she feels infinitely grateful to be able to work for ‘le Bon Dieu.’
Daniel Joseph’s ordination will take place December 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Saint-Esprit-de-Rosemont Parish.
Hearing the call
Becoming a deacon ‘is more a call than a decision,’ suggests Quinnton Zorzes. ‘The Lord calls us to a ministry, to share the good news with his people. It is a call you can accept, a call to serve the people of the community.’
In talking about his call, Quinnton goes back in his past to when he started to serve the Church. Throughout his varied experiences in serving, Quinnton heard ‘Christ speaking to me more and more. Showing me His love and how I could serve Him.’
When he started on this path, his wife gave him a great deal of support. ‘We devoted time to praying and discerning, and that made our marriage stronger,’ Quinnton explains, referring to their marriage of 16 years. ‘We are both very excited. I’m especially happy to be able to share the good news of Christ with those who perhaps have not heard about Him, with those who are questioning or struggling.’
‘It’s not a short adventure,’ he says, ‘it’s a journey, and every day is a new mission.’ Quintonn’s ordination as a deacon will take place January 15 2021 in St. Kevin Parish.
To read the prayer for deacons to the Virgin Mary, please click here.