Sunday Assembly

Eleven permanent deacons ordained

Now serving in parishes around the archdiocese

By Dan Russo

Witness Editor

DUBUQUE — Brad Zeman smiled wide­ly and pumped his fist in the air at times, hardly containing his excitement as he watched his brother Brian ordained a permanent deacon July 20, one of 11 to receive the sacrament that day at the Cathedral of St. Raphael in Dubuque.

“When they came out, it was like the Green Bay Packers coming out of the tunnel,” said the proud sibling as he reflected on watching his brother at the Mass. “The symphony was playing; the trumpets were going; you had the incense flowing. It was just the beautiful pomp and circumstance with everything culminating with him becoming a deacon. I am overjoyed with emotion.”

Deacon Brian Zeman, a native of Wisconsin, and his wife, Jennifer, are members of St. Anthony Parish in Dubuque. He is part of the 18th class of permanent deacons to receive holy orders in the archdiocese.

Photo at right: Deacon Brian Zeman of St. Anthony Parish in Dubuque (left) poses with his brother Brad Zeman of Wisconsin after he was ordained to the permanent diac­o­nate with 10 others. (Photo by Deacon Jim Pfaffly)

“There were many moments throughout the ordination where I felt the Holy Spirit,” said Deacon Zeman. “When hands were laid on me it really hit me when I went back to my spot and said to myself, ‘I am now Deacon Brian.’”

The members of Class XVIII underwent over four years of formation before the recent ordination.

Permanent deacons are members of the clergy who focus their service in three areas — assisting priests in the liturgy, spreading the Gospel, and engaging in charity. Archbishop Michael Jackels presided over the ordination, concelebrating the Mass with a large group of priests of the archdiocese and with assistance at the altar by many deacons.

In his homily, the archbishop reflected on the Christian call to evangelization and charitable action, reminding the new deacons of their duty to reach out to those who are suffering.

“You are loved by God,” said the archbishop. “You are loved with a love that is without bound and without strings attached. There are people today, maybe in this assembly, among our family members and friends, in our parishes, people like those in the Gospel who are troubled and abandoned. … And we no less than Jesus are meant to have pity for them. … Feeling that fuels the proclamation of the Gospel, which is accompanied and confirmed by our efforts to cure and to heal all others — the balm of Jesus’ love.”   

At the conclusion of the liturgy, Archbishop Jackels thanked Deacon Tom Lang, director of the permanent diaconate in the archdiocese, for “many years of dedicated service.” Deacon Lang retired shortly after the ordination.

Cover photo: The newest permanent deacons in the archdiocese pose with their wives and Archbishop Michael Jackels following the sacrament of ordination that took place at a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Raphael. (Photo by Deacon Jim Pfaffly)