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Two Friars Ordained to the Diaconate

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Many gathered to celebrate the diaconate ordination of Mario Gómez, left, and Edgardo Jara, right. (Photos courtesy of Octavio Duran)

WILMINGTON, Del. — Family, friends and friars filled St. Paul Church last month to witness the diaconate ordination of two HNP friars during a warm and joyful liturgy.

On Aug. 28, Mario Gómez, OFM, and Edgardo Jara, OFM, were ordained transitional deacons at St. Paul Church in Wilmington. Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, N.J., presided during the Mass, which was celebrated in both Spanish and English. Edgardo, who made his solemn profession the day before, was vested by Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, and Mario, who professed solemn vows in 2012, was vested by C. Raymond Selker, OFM. People from the ministries at which Mario and Edgardo have served came to show their support for the two men.

“The ordination was a very moving, Spirit-filled and joyful ceremony,” said Mario. “The atmosphere was festive. There was a surprising — and unprecedented, for a diaconate ordination — turnout of people from all of the places at which I had ministered since I joined the Order back in 2005. The whole ceremony was meaningful to me: the people attending, the friars accompanying us, the bishop ordaining us, and the food and fiesta afterward.”

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“The most meaningful part of the day for me was to have most of my family with me, but also many people from the Latino community, who I serve and I will serve,” said Edgardo, whose parents and older sister traveled from Costa Rica to be present for the occasion. “Ordination is not a gift that I receive from God and keep for myself. It is a gift for the whole Church, so I am very happy that the people of God were there, because this ministry is for them.”

Edgardo will continue his ministry at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., where he has been stationed since July 2015.

“This coming Saturday I will celebrate my first baptism and I will preside at my first wedding,” he said. “I am very excited about it, and I am very grateful to God. My brothers at St. Camillus are supporting me a lot. The great thing is that I finished my studies last year, so now I can dedicate myself completely to this ministry. I think this is wonderful, and I am grateful for it.”

Mario will remain with Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, N.C., where he has been serving as a pastoral assistant since June.

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“Being ordained to the diaconate means a huge responsibility and blessing,” he said. “I don’t feel that there was an ‘epistemological’ change, but spiritually I feel I have been entrusted with a great mission: to serve.”

The diaconate is a beautiful ministry, Edgardo added, one that he feels should be promoted more.

“Sometimes here in America we do not give much importance to the transitional diaconate, but we should involve the people of God because it is a way to promote vocations,” he said. “It also reminds us that is not just a requirement or a step before priesthood. It is a beautiful ministry.”

Edgardo and Mario will be ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 18, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Camillus Church. Archbishop Robert González, OFM, of Puerto Rico will be the ordaining bishop.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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