By Dan Russo
HIAWATHA — The Gospel message that true leadership requires humility and a willingness to serve others was the central theme in Archbishop Michael Jackels’ homily during the liturgy in which he ordained 11 men to the permanent diaconate July 15.
“I believe …. when a disciple of Jesus, when someone in the kingdom of God is raised in rank, to the rank of deacon, that it becomes spiritually necessary to go last, and correspondingly low in humble service and to do so willfully, happily,” he reflected
The archbishop cautioned the newly ordained deacons to be wary of the temptation of pride that comes with an elevated position and explained that “to be raised to that rank is fruitful only when it is for others.”
Family, friends, clergy and religious packed into St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Hiawatha to attend the ordination.
“I thought it was inspirational and beautiful,” said Annie Dolash, sister of Deacon Mark Dolash of St. Henry Parish in Marshalltown.
Key moments included the laying on of hands by the archbishop, the prostration of the candidates for ordination before the altar, the singing of the Litany of the Saints augmented by the choir, and the first time the deacons put on their vestments with the help of wives and other loved ones.
“The power of the community is here,” said Deacon Dolash afterwards. “I could feel the Holy Spirit moving through all the prayers. I’ve got my spiritual bags packed. I’m ready to go out into the world and be a representative of the church.”
Once the sacrament of holy orders was performed, the newly ordained shared hugs and handshakes with a procession of the deacons of the diocese as part of the ceremonies.
The following men were ordained: Charles Bernhard, Tom Blome, Mark Dolash, Christopher Evans, Travis King, Matt Miller, Dan O’Brien, Robert Pailthorpe, Michal Schemmel, Stan Upah and Scott Zogg.
Attending the ordination reminded Deacon Matt Berry of Epiphany Parish in Mason City of his own in 1994. He said it was an honor to witness the event, especially since next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the diaconate program in the archdiocese.
“What a great gift God has given the church in calling faithful deacons to serve,” said Deacon Berry. “Hopefully hundreds of years from now, we’ll still have deacons to serve in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.”
The full class of 11 newly ordained deacons is pictured with Archbishop Michael Jackels (back row, center) at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Hiawatha after receiving the sacrament of holy orders. (Photo by Deacon James Pfaffly)