—Sixteen deacon candidates for the Diocese of Amarillo were installed to the Ministry of Acolyte during a Mass Dec. 4, celebrated by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek in Holy Family Chapel at the Bishop DeFalco Retreat Center.
Adding to the celebration was music provided by the St. Thomas the Apostle Schola.
The class of 2011 began their formation in January 2007, according to Deacon Blaine Westlake, director of the Diaconate Program for the Diocese of Amarillo. There are four liturgical steps in the formation process: Candidate, Lector, Acolyte and finally, Ordination to Permanent Deacon which is tentatively set for Saturday, June 4.
Currently a date for beginning the next Deacon Formation Class has not yet been established, according to Deacon Westlake.
“A deacon is a wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit to help our Church to spread the Good News about Jesus Christ,” said Deacon Westlake. “Deacons have their origin in the New Testament and in particular the books of the Acts of the Apostles and Timothy. Deacons are ordained clergy belonging to one of the three orders of the Sacrament of Holy Orders which are deacon (permanent and transitional), priest and bishop.
“A deacon is not a lay minister; he is an ordained servant of the Church. Lay ministry, diaconate, priesthood and episcopal ministry are four distinct but complimentary gifts in the Church. We need them all to be a complete Church.”
Installed as Acolytes by Bishop Zurek were:
• Louis Artho and his wife, Yvonne, of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Dalhart;
• Joe Beauchamp and his wife, Penny, of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Dumas;
• Bob Birkenfeld and his wife, Theresa, of Holy Family Church, Nazareth;
• Teodoro Chavez and his wife, Julia, of St. Ann’s Church, Bovina;
• Stan Drozell and his wife, Marva, of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Amarillo;
• Andy Gonzales and his wife, LaLa, of St. Laurence Cathedral, Amarillo;
• Jackie Gunnels and his wife, Brenda, of Church of the Holy Spirit, Tulia;
• Paul Herrera and his wife, Olivia, of Immaculate Conception Church, Dimmitt;
• Ricky Mendez and his wife, Jenuive, of San Jose Church, Hereford;
• Pablo Morales and his wife, Delisa, of St. Laurence Cathedral, Amarillo;
• Manuel Moreno and his wife, Lupe, of Immaculate Conception Church, Perryton;
• Renee Jesus Perez and his wife, Graciela, of Blessed Sacrament Church, Amarillo;
• David Rausch and his wife, Mary, of St. Ann’s Church, Canyon;
• Miguel Tovar and his wife, Obdulia, of St. Laurence Cathedral, Amarillo;
• Phil Whitson of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Amarillo; and,
• Henry Wilhelm and his wife, Lori, of Holy Family Church, Nazareth.