Bishop to Deacon Aspirants: ‘Hear His Voice, See His Deeds of Mercy’


PROVIDENCE — On Sunday, March 3, seven aspirants to the permanent diaconate from the Diocese of Providence publicly expressed their intention of receiving Holy Orders before the Most Rev. Richard G. Henning, Bishop of Providence, at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
The candidates for diaconal ordination were Jimmy Aybar, Enmanuel Cabrara, Leo Fontaine, Aquilino Luna, Sean Magiera, Felix Rodriguez, and Javier Perez.
“I’m very excited and motivated to keep going forward,” said Aybar, a parishioner of St. Michael’s parish in Providence, who noted that what moved him to become a deacon was a desire to serve the Church in a more intense manner.
“I want to be a servant to the Lord, to be a servant and a true disciple.”
“It’s just very humbling, and important to begin this process of serving the Lord,” said Leo Fontaine. Fontaine, a parishioner of Holy Trinity parish in Woonsocket, stated that the vocation of a deacon is both a gift and mystery. “Certainly, I’m just very blessed to be able to pursue formation for the permanent diaconate.”
Fontaine said that his choice to become a deacon was the culmination of a series of factors resulting from his family life and his life in the Church, noting the influence of his closely-knit family whose life was deeply rooted in the faith and his frequent involvement in his local parish as the two things that planted the seeds for his vocation.
“I’m feeling excited about this new path I am about to start,” said Javier Perez, a parishioner of SS. John and James parish in West Warwick. “I ask for the prayers of the whole community.”
In his homily, Bishop Richard G. Henning emphasized how the office of deacon is to be situated within the broader context of the spiritual journey of the faithful, something which can only be understood within the framework of an encounter with God’s liberating action.
Commenting on the first reading, taken from the Book of Exodus, Bishop Henning described the events surrounding  the revelation of the Ten Commandments as an “encounter between the Lord and His People.”
With this in mind, the escape of the People of Israel from their slavery in Egypt is “not just [a travel through] the wilderness of Sinai, but also through the wilderness that is the human heart.”
Because God’s commandments are meant to serve as a means by which God instructs us, Bishop Henning said, “At the heart of the Commandments, you see that what’s at issue is relationship.”
The Divine commandments are meant to bring about a radical reorientation of human life towards God, and in establishing right relations with God, the foundation is laid for right relations with our fellow humans.
The bishop further stated that while this applies to all the faithful, it applies to the clergy to a particular degree.
Turning to the diaconal candidates, Bishop Henning concludes, “I would say to you, our candidates…that the most important thing you can do is to turn towards the Lord, to hear his voice, to see his deeds of mercy. It’s this relationship that will make you a holy deacon of the Church.”