The Word of God must be living and vibrant
SCRANTON – Having successfully completed their second year of formation for ordination to the permanent diaconate, nine men were installed in the Ministry of Lector at the Cathedral of Saint Peter on Oct. 3, 2020.
The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as principal celebrant and homilist for the 12:10 p.m. Mass.
The men installed are: John F. Bankus, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Swoyersville; John F. Bubb, Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Williamsport; Martin J. Castaldi, Sr., Divine Mercy Parish, Scranton; Matthew R. Eisley, Saint Joseph the Worker Parish, Williamsport; William D. Flowers, Saint Nicholas Parish, Wilkes-Barre; Thomas A. Kostic, SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Hazleton; Steven J. Miller, Our Lady of Victory Parish, Tannersville; Nicholas M. Rocco, Saint Eulalia Parish, Roaring Brook Township; and Frank H. Zeranski, Saint Catherine of Siena Parish, Moscow.
As lectors, the men will proclaim the Word of God in liturgies and will continue their formation toward ordination as permanent deacons.
“I’m just trusting that He will lead the way and keep me on the path. I’m trusting in Him,” Steven J. Miller said following the Mass.
When asked to describe his feelings, Miller replied, “energized, happy and a little scared. It is a large responsibility but it is something we will grow into as well. I trust that the spirit will be with us.”
Nicholas M. Rocco expressed not only excitement but gratefulness.
“It’s such a great honor to be bestowed this ministry and to be able to serve the Church in the Diocese of Scranton,” he explained.
During the first two years of their diaconate program, the nine men have grown close.
“We have such a great class. We’re very close and very tight. Just like Jesus chose a group of disciples to follow Him, we are a group as well. We are going through this process together, bonding closer and learning from each other as well,” Rocco added.
During his homily, Bishop Bambera told the men this moment is not merely a stepping stone in their diaconal formation.
“You are being called to a special recognition of the Word of God in your lives that is essential to the life of the Church,” the bishop explained. “You are being given a responsibility in the service of our faith, namely, to proclaim the Word of Life in the liturgical assembly, to instruct children and adults in the ways of the Gospel and to bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet received it.”
As he reflected on the bishop’s message, William D. Flowers came to appreciate the gravity of the moment.
“It’s bringing the Gospel closer to people, getting people closer to the Gospel,” Flowers said. “It makes me feel good and I’m hoping that it makes them feel better, receiving the Word and I’m just glad that I’m able to do that.”
Flowers said he has felt called to the diaconate for quite some time.
“I feel that it was meant to be,” he added.
During the Mass, Bishop Bambera reminded the men that Pope Francis often reflects upon the centrality of the Word of God in Christian Life.
In fact, just three days before the Mass, in a letter commemorating the 1600th anniversary of the death of Saint Jerome, the Holy Father emphasized the need for those who can exercise diaconal functions.
“I pray that this understanding of the vital role of the Word of God in our lives as Christians impresses upon you the urgency of caring for the treasure that is being handed on to you this day,” the bishop said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance at the Mass was limited to family members but it was broadcast live on CTV: Catholic Television and shared on the Diocese of Scranton social media platforms.
Rocco expressed the importance of his family and friends who have supported, encouraged and prayed for him along this journey.
“I could not have gone through this process or gotten so far into this process without the support of my wife and my four daughters, my mother and my family as well, to have their support is necessary to complete this task,” Rocco explained. “Whenever you feel like you’re having a struggle trying to complete things or life gets in the way, they’re always there to support you and encourage you.”