The four men who were ordained to the permanent diaconate on Oct. 20 in Christ Our Light Church in Cherry Hill are called to live a threefold ministry of service.
— Service to the Word of God, teaching, preaching and catechizing.
— Service to the Eucharist, presiding at a number of liturgical services, including the baptism of infants, witnessing marriages, conducting funeral services, leading exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and assisting at the Eucharist.
— Service on behalf of Justice, Charity and Peace, serving as Christ’s heralds of hope and love to the poor, disabled, needy, lonely, young, forgotten and society’s outcasts.
The Camden Diocese’s new clergymen:
Deacon Michael G. Bortnowski, 61, whose home parish is the Catholic Community of Christ our Light, Cherry Hill, works as the business manager at another parish, Saint Charles Borromeo in Sicklerville.
Deacon Pedro J. Espinal, 51, of Saint Joseph Pro-Cathedral, Camden, is a factory supervisor, Burlington Coat Factory.
Deacon Joseph Farro, 56, of Saint Clare of Assisi, Gibbstown, is a retired First Sergeant, New Jersey State Police.
Deacon Anthony J. Petillo, 66, of Saint Clare of Assisi, Gibbstown, is a self-employed pharmaceutical representative.
In the early church, deacons had an important ministry in the service of their local bishop. In the fifth century, the diaconate faded into a transition step to the priesthood. The Council of Trent (16th century) recommended its restoration. Following the directives of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI restored the order of the diaconate as a permanent ministry in the Western Church on June 18, 1967. The following year the bishops of the United States were granted permission to have permanent deacons in America. On Oct. 4, 1976, the Diocese of Camden ordained its first class of permanent deacons.