FALL RIVER — On Saturday, May 20, at 11 a.m. in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., will ordain 15 men to the Permanent Diaconate and one man to the Transitional Diaconate for the Diocese of Fall River.
The Ordination to Diaconate will be livestreamed on the Diocesan Facebook page at facebook.com/fallriverdiocese.
In the Catholic Church, the diaconate is the first of three ranks in ordained ministry. Deacons preparing for the priesthood are transitional deacons. Those not planning to be ordained priests are called permanent deacons. Functionally, there is no difference between a permanent deacon and a transitional deacon. They share the same diaconal roles and responsibilities.
Those to be ordained Permanent Deacons are James “Gus” Adams, St. Joseph, Guardian of the Holy Family Parish, Falmouth; Jeremias Carranza, Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Parish, New Bedford; Richard Fish, Christ the King Parish, Mashpee; David “Dave” Gaspar, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Swansea; Tyrone Gonsalves, Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich; Leonard Guyette, Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich; Philip Koch, St. Joan of Arc Parish, Orleans; David Laird, Christ the King Parish, Mashpee; Thomas Martin, Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich; Joseph Martino, St. John Neumann Parish, East Freetown; Americo Miranda, Our Lady of Grace Parish, Westport; John O’Brien, St. Mary Parish, Mansfield; David Roderick, Corpus Christi Parish, East Sandwich; Shawn Seybert, St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish, Attleboro; and Scott Taveira, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, New Bedford.
These men are members of the tenth class to be ordained as permanent deacons in the Diocese of Fall River. Fourteen of the men are married and many have children; one is single. They work or have worked in a variety of occupations.
To be ordained a transitional deacon is Bryan Bangs, a member of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. This spring, he is completing his third year of theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary in New Jersey.
By virtue of their ordination, transitional deacons and permanent deacons assist the priests and bishops in the celebration of the Mass as ordinary ministers of Holy Communion, in proclaiming the Gospel, and by preaching. They also assist at and bless marriages, can preside over funerals and wake services, and are dedicated to various ministries and works of charity in living out their call to service.
“Fifteen men began what seemed to them at the time a long and seemingly impossible journey, the road to permanent diaconate,” said Father Robert A. Oliveira, who along with Deacon Frank R. Lucca is a co-director of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese.
“How could they possibly fulfill all the expectations and requirements of a five-year process of formation? Balancing family life, work obligations and now evening classes, workshops, evaluations, ministerial service projects and the added challenge of confronting a worldwide pandemic, climbing the mountain of diaconate service seemed just impossible! But these faithful men have climbed the mountain. Soon as permanent deacons they will be asked to return to the valley of service and face new demands as ordained ministers of word, liturgy, and charity.
“Their journey was more than an individual effort but was an adventure of companionship. Open to God’s spirit, living a faith filled friendship with the Lord, they listened and have boldly said: ‘I will follow you, Lord!’”
Deacon Lucca added, “It has been a wonderful experience to witness the growth, joy and enthusiasm of the men in diaconate formation over the past five years despite having several years of their formation moved totally online due to the COVID – 19 pandemic. ”
The diaconate ordination on May 20 will be in the context of Mass, following the Gospel. It will include the rites of Calling and Presentation of Candidates for Ordination.
After ordination, accomplished by the laying of the bishop’s hands on the head of each candidate and a prayer of consecration, a member of each of the ordinand’s family will bring his vestments to the altar. At the altar, the vestments will be handed to assisting priests or deacons, who will then vest the new deacons.
Tickets have been distributed for the event; open seating space will be limited.
The Second Vatican Council recommended that the diaconate be restored as a permanent order in the modern Church. Shortly after, Pope Paul IV declared that he would restore the diaconate in those countries that wished it, and in August of 1968, at the request of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he approved the Permanent Diaconate in this country. There are currently 66 active permanent deacons in the Diocese of Fall River and an additional 21 who though officially retired are involved in some ministry.
Brief biographical information on the candidates follows below:
For the Permanent Diaconate
James “Gus” Adams is a parishioner of St. Joseph Guardian of the Holy Family Parish in Falmouth. He and his wife, Lisa, reside in Falmouth. They have two daughters and one son. He is a teacher at St. John Paul II School in Hyannis.
Jeremias Carranza is a parishioner of Our Lady of Guadalupe at James Parish in New Bedford. He and his wife, Hisella Claribel, live in New Bedford and have three daughters and one son. He is employed at Atkore International System.
Richard Fish is a parishioner of Christ the King Parish in Mashpee. He and his wife, Laureen Nicole, live in Sandwich. They have two daughters and one son. He is the Director of Performing Arts at St. John Paul II School in Hyannis.
David “Dave” Gaspar is a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Swansea. He and his wife, Allison, have two daughters and one son. They reside in Swansea. He works for Global Medical Device Quality Management.
Tyrone Gonsalves is a parishioner of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. He and his wife, Suzanne, have one daughter and reside in Plymouth. He is a school psychologist for Falmouth Public Schools.
Leonard Guyette is a parishioner of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. He is married to Lynette, and they live in East Sandwich. He is a social worker for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Philip Koch is a parishioner of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Orleans and a resident of Eastham. He and his wife, Susan, have three daughters. He is retired.
David Laird is a parishioner of Christ the King Parish in Mashpee. He and his wife, Kathleen, live in Sandwich. They are the parents of two daughters and one son. He is a senior program manager at Emcore Corporation.
Thomas Martin is a parishioner of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. He and his wife, Daneane, reside in Sandwich and they have two sons. He is a corporate pilot.
Joseph Martino is a parishioner of St. John Neumann Parish in East Freetown. He and his wife, Anne, live in Lakeville and have one daughter. He is a youth minister at St. Julie Billiart Parish in Dartmouth.
Americo Miranda is a parishioner of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Westport. He is married to Tina Marie and they live in Fall River. They are the parents of two daughters. He is vice principal and a teacher at Espirito Santo School in Fall River.
John O’Brien is a parishioner of St. Mary Parish in Mansfield. He and his wife, Janis, live in Mansfield, and they have two daughters. He is retired.
David Roderick is a parishioner of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. He and his wife, Joanne, have one daughter. They live in Sandwich. He is a motor coach bus driver for the Plymouth and Brockton Bus Company.
Shawn Seybert is a parishioner of St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Parish in Attleboro. He and his wife, Sylvia, have three sons and reside in Attleboro. He is a school psychologist.
Scott Taveira is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish in New Bedford and a resident of Mattapoisett. He is a staff representative for AFSCME and a licensed funeral assistant at Aubertine-Lopes Funeral Home in New Bedford.
For the Transitional Diaconate
Bryan Bangs, 26, is the son of Robert and Joanne (Dellamorte) Bangs and a member of Corpus Christi Parish in East Sandwich. He holds an associate degree from Cape Cod Community College and a bachelor’s from Seton Hall University, New Jersey. It is anticipated that he will be ordained a priest next spring upon completion of his studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary.