SCRANTON – As they celebrated the Rite of Ordination, eight men who became permanent deacons in the Diocese of Scranton on Nov. 28, 2020, were reminded of the need to put others before themselves.

During his homily, Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, reminded the men that they have opened their lives to the Lord’s love and because of it, they seek to love him in return through service to His people.

“To be a disciple of Jesus means to put ourselves in the humble, demanding role of servant to others, to intentionally seek the happiness and fulfillment of those entrusted to our care, regardless of the cost to ourselves,” Bishop Bambera said.

The newly ordained deacons will join the ranks of clergy who minister to the faithful in parishes and other settings throughout the diocese. Their diaconal ministry is threefold: service to the Word of God, service at the altar of the Lord and service to the poor.

As deacons, the men will proclaim the Gospel, preach homilies, prepare the altar for the banquet of Christ’s sacrifice, distribute Holy Communion, baptize, preside at weddings, funerals and other prayer services and be the living and working expression of the charity of the Church.

“Your ministry, to be fully diaconal and unified, must include some form of direct service to the poor and to those most in need,” the bishop explained.

The men accepting the diaconal call and responsibilities include Eugene N. Blockus, Joseph J. Chmiola, John C. Jorda, Peter J. Lemoncelli, Joseph R. Marcellus, Gerard P. Pernot, Angel Luis Rivera and Joseph Sudano.

“My brothers, God has called you to serve the Gospel in an authentic and vital way. While your ministry will not always be easy, set aside your fears and embrace your call with deep trust in Jesus’ promise to walk with you always. Follow Jesus’ example of selfless love and mercy. And serve God’s people generously as you would serve the Lord himself,” the bishop ended his homily by saying.

Look for additional coverage of the Rite of Ordination in the December 17 edition of The Catholic Light.