Bishop ordains seminarian to transitional diaconate; final step before priesthood


With joy, Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney ordained Deacon Carlos D. Penagos, a seminarian of the Paterson Diocese, to the transitional diaconate on May 25 during a Mass at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Morristown. It’s Deacon Penagos’s final step before being called to be ordained as a diocesan priest next year.

Before the ordination Deacon Penagos, a native of Colombia, told The Beacon, “I feel a lot of emotions.”

“I’m nervous and also overwhelmed by blessings and goodness. It’s been a journey of many years filled with learning and experiences. It never ends. God always has another page for our lives,” Deacon Penagos said. “As a deacon, I’m excited to preach the word of God. He always has a message of hope for us. The resurrection comes after the Cross.”

The church was filled with well-wishers — family, friends, priests, and religious of the diocese, members of the parishes where the transitional deacons have served, and diocesan faithful. Many priests in attendance concelebrated the liturgy with the bishop, who presided and was the homilist. Family and friends of Deacon Penagos from Colombia, unable to attend, joined the Mass via livestreaming.

“As a Church, we pray in thanksgiving for Carlos’ ‘yes.’ We know he is ready to dedicate his life in service to God and his people and the Church,” said Bishop Sweeney in his homily. He thanked Deacon Penagos’ family and friends in his native Colombia, his seminary community, and priests for inspiring, guiding, and forming him in his vocation journey and the diocesan faithful for acclimating him to the United States. The bishop called each ordination a time for all Catholics to rededicate themselves to their vocation and ask Jesus and the Blessed Mother to help them “live lives of holiness.”

“Never allow yourself to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel,” Bishop Sweeney told Deacon Penagos, during the Celebration of Ordination to the Order of Deacon, steeped in the rich traditions of the early Church. The Mass was celebrated in English and Spanish.

In his homily, Bishop Sweeney listed a deacon’s responsibilities: to proclaim the Gospel, to dispense the Eucharist, to instruct Holy Doctrine, to prepare for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to preside over or assist with baptisms, marriages, funerals, and public prayer. A deacon also carries out acts of charity in the name of the bishop or pastor, he said.

The ordination rite included Deacon Penagos kneeling before Bishop Sweeney and placing his hands between the bishop’s hands, promising obedience and respect to him and his successors. The bishop also laid his hands on the head of Deacon Penagos to signify the conferral of the Holy Spirit and the commission to service. He asked God to dedicate Deacon Penagos to the service of the Church and to renew the spirit of holiness within him.

Bishop Sweeney later handed Deacon Penagos the Book of the Gospels.

“Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach,” Bishop Sweeney told the new deacon.

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