Two New Deacons Ordained


WINONA--On June 23, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Bishop John M. Quinn ordained seminarians Thé Hoang and Brian Mulligan to the Order of Deacon. The ordination--attended by priests, deacons, religious, and lay parishioners from across the Diocese of Winona--was the diocese's first ordination to the transitional diaconate in three years.

"You know, it's been three years since I've been able to ordain anyone," said Bishop Quinn at the beginning of his homily. "Boy, these hands are warm!"

Bishop Quinn's repeated advice to the two candidates was to "access the grace of your vocation." In his homily, he alluded to Georges Seurat's famous pointillistic painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, encouraging Thé and Brian to step back from the isolated "dots" in their own lives to see the larger "story of grace" God was painting through them.

"Today, we're stepping back," Bishop Quinn said, "because God has been at work in your lives from the moment of your conception, and God has been calling you. Moment by moment, it just seems like, 'Yeah, I went to school, then I came to the seminary, then I got my degree,' and all those little points, but you've got to step back to see that this has been God's plan for you from all eternity. Remember, you are not news to God. God is news to you. ...He's already seen this moment, and has yearned for this moment, for you to become His deacons, and He is calling you beyond that to Sacred Orders and to the priesthood. You've got to step back, and to see not just a lot of isolated moments but a story of grace. ...Don't ever forget your part in the salvation story of all of those to whom you're going to minister."

"All of us get caught up in immediate problems," Bishop Quinn later added. "We get caught up in problems of our state, moments of our Church. Yet, look to the bigger picture and to the sign of hope that you are to us, your brothers in the presbytery. If there would be any time you'd think we'd have no vocations, it would be now. And yet, I'm ordaining two to the diaconate and more after them, and more keep coming. ... We have to step back to see just how committed Christ is to us through His Heart and an unconditional love. Access the grace of your vocation and see the picture of grace in your life and in the Church. And may our gracious God, who's begun this good work for you, one day bring it to completion."

After the ordination, the new deacons thanked their teachers, families, and others who assisted in their formation, Deacon Brian speaking in English and Deacon Thé in Vietnamese and Spanish.

This summer, Deacon Brian is serving St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Mankato under the supervision of Fr. Tim Reker, and Deacon Thé is serving St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Rochester under the supervision of Msgr. Thomas Cook. Both will return to Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit this fall to complete their preparation for priestly ordination, which is currently planned for Friday, June 8, 2018, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

"I can tell you the joy deep in my heart when it's time to ordain deacons," Bishop Quinn told the candidates at the June 23 ordination. "The only greater joy will be a year from now, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, when I'll be able to elevate you again, as deacons, to the Order of Presbyter."