Members of the Diocese of Nashville’s deacon ordination class of 2006 quietly marked their 10 year anniversary of ordained ministry on Thursday, June 9.
|Members of the Diocese of Nashville’s deacon ordination class of 2006 celebrated their 10 year anniversary with a Mass and dinner at Holy Family Church in Brentwood on June 9. Of the 17 men ordained permanent deacons in 2006, 13 are still active in the diocese; 10 attended the anniversary Mass: (front row, L-R) Bill Hill, Marty Mulloy, Ed Jayme, Pete Semich, Thales Finchum; (back row) José Pineda, John Calzavara, Henry Harrington, Jr., Ron Deal, Gregory Meinhart. Photos by Theresa Laurence|
Ten of the 17 men who were ordained deacons together in June 2006 gathered in the chapel at Holy Family Church in Brentwood with their wives for a Mass celebrated by Bishop David Choby.
“You witness God’s mercy by giving to others the gifts you yourselves have received,” Bishop Choby told the deacons, thanking them for their service.
The deacons have manifested their gifts in various ways over the last 10 years, serving their parishes by teaching religious education classes, preaching homilies, witnessing weddings, sharing their musical talent, and much more.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Deacon Henry Harrington, Jr., who has worked as a youth minister, campus minister and “whatever the pastor needs” at his parish, St. Vincent de Paul Church in Nashville.
Deacon Harrington is employed as a school counselor, but said he is looking forward to retirement when he can devote all his energy to his diaconate ministry. “I really enjoy ministering to the people of the diocese,” he said, and always “with the attitude of a servant.”
Out of the 17 men ordained to the diaconate in 2006, 13 are still active in the diocese and are among the almost 100 permanent deacons in the diocese.
Deacon Ron Deal, director of the permanent diaconate, said he never expected to be in his current position when he was ordained 10 years ago. “I’ve been blessed,” he said.
After his ordination, he served at his home parish of St. Matthew. Within two years, he was asked to help establish a new parish, Church of the Nativity in Spring Hill, and was employed as the project development manager for the Diocese of Nashville. For the last six years, he has served at Holy Family Church.
Holy Family enjoys the service of three permanent deacons, who take on many parish roles; in fact, deacons can do everything a priest does except consecrate the Eucharist and hear confessions. In addition to Deacon Deal, his 2006 classmate Deacon John Calzavara serves at Holy Family, as well as Deacon James Booth, who was ordained in 2014. “It’s really wonderful being here with them,” Deacon Deal said. “We all have different ministries.”
|Jee Jayme, center, wife of Deacon Ed Jayme, along with Alice Semich, wife of Deacon Pete Semich, bring forward the offertory gifts to Bishop David Choby during the anniversary Mass. Deacons’ wives play an important role in their husbands’ ministry.|
In his role as director of the permanent diaconate, Deacon Deal serves as a liaison between the deacons in the parishes and Bishop Choby. He is also involved with the deacon education classes, helping recruit and teach new deacons.
A new deacon class could be forming within a year, Deacon Deal said. Those considering the diaconate, Deacon Deal said, should talk to their pastors, any deacons they know, and meet with a spiritual director. He also suggests making a Cursillo retreat. “You have to discern God’s will,” he said, with priorities on God, family, job and service.
Making the decision to become a deacon is a major commitment, not just for the deacon, but also for his entire family. Deacons’ wives are very much included in the formation process. “It’s been an exciting journey for all of us,” said Jackie Calzavara, wife of Deacon John Calzavara. “We walk with him.”
While the Calzavaras were attending the 10th anniversary Mass at Holy Family, their 16-year-old daughter was helping set up the reception and serve the food. “It definitely keeps our family together,” Mrs. Calzavara said.
Members of the Diocese of Nashville’s deacon ordination class of 2006: