SCRANTON – Just minutes before his Ordination Mass, William A. Asinari was so overwhelmed with gratitude he started to cry.

“It’s inexplicable. I was sitting up in the chapel and I was just in tears thanking God for the blessing of service,” Deacon Asinari said.

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, lays his hands on the head of William A. Asinari during the Rite of Ordination of Deacons on May 27, 2023, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Scranton. (Photo/Mike Melisky)

Less than an hour later, the 24 year old became a transitional deacon through the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate, which includes the presentation of the candidate, election by the bishop, promise of the elect, litany of supplication and laying on of hands.

“I think one of the most beautiful moments was just hearing from the Church, we have found this man to be worthy,” Deacon Asinari explained. “I think every seminarian, to some degree, goes through the struggle that God is giving me this gift and I don’t deserve this. It is immensely beautiful and it’s beyond what I could ever deserve. You fight that feeling of unworthiness and when you finally get there in that moment and hear it, it hits home!”

Asinari, a native of Honesdale, is the son of Robert and Cathleen Asinari and is a parishioner of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Honesdale. Several friends and fellow parishioners from Wayne County made the trip to the Cathedral for the Ordination Mass.

“These are the people that have seen me since I was one or two (years old). I remember them saying, ‘Have you thought about the priesthood’ or ‘You look like you’d make a good priest,’” Deacon Asinari added. “To have them sitting there as I’m ordained a deacon was beautiful.”

The Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, served as ordaining prelate and principal celebrant for the Ordination Mass.

“What a blessing this day is for Bill and for his family, our Diocese and particularly for all those who have helped him to arrive at this faith-filled moment,” Bishop Bambera said during his homily.

Bishop Bambera reminded Asinari that service to the People of God must lie at the heart of his vocation.

“For as meaningful and significant as this moment may be for you personally, the ministry that you will embrace is not yours alone,” Bishop Bambera continued. “It comes from – and is rooted in the life of the Lord Jesus – who came to save us from sin and the brokenness of our world.”

Deacon Asinari will serve for the next year as a transitional deacon, the ordination serving as the last major step before ordination to the priesthood, which typically occurs a year later after additional pastoral, liturgical and educational preparation.

As a deacon, he will assist the bishop and his priests in ministries of the Word, Liturgy and Charity. This includes proclaiming the Gospel, leading intercessions, preaching, preparing the altar, celebrating baptisms, leading the faithful in prayer, distributing holy communion, witnessing marriages and conducting wake and funeral services. Deacons also identify the needs of poor and underserved, and shepherd the Church’s resources to meet those needs.

“I think I’m most looking forward to baptisms,” Deacon Asinari said. “I know over my summer assignment there are a couple scheduled. There is just something so beautiful about getting a family together and by my hands, blessing the water and baptizing a child. It is overwhelming.”

This summer, Asinari will be serving the Saint Rose of Lima and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parishes in the city of Carbondale.

“While you have been given tremendous gifts and talents, we pray that you will always rely upon the grace of God to fill up whatever may be lacking in you to carry out fully the ministry entrusted to you this day,” Bishop Bambera stated as he finished his homily.