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Culmination of Forty-two Month Diaconate Formation Program

Chicago, IL ( February 8, 2008 ) —Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will ordain seven Hispanic laymen as permanent deacons, at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 17, at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, 3721 W. 62nd St., Chicago. These men will immediately begin presiding at baptisms, weddings and prayer services, including benedictions, in their home parishes in Cook and Lake counties.

Following a two-year lay pastoral leadership program, the men concluded their training with a three and a half-year deaconate formation program at the Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral, the Hispanic lay ministry program of the University of St. Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary. This program includes classes in Christology, Pastoral Theology and the Sacraments.

Deacons are part of the clergy along with priests and bishops, and often serve as a bridge between laity and priests. A deacon, which means “servant”, has a threefold ministry of the Word, the Altar, and of Charity. In the ministry of the Word deacons engage in the teaching mission of the Church. In the ministry of the Altar the deacon assists the priest at Mass, particularly by proclaiming the Gospel, leading the Intercessions, preparing the altar, and ministering the chalice at communion. The ministry of Charity has roots in the Bible, where the deacon is described as caring for the poor and forgotten and as a minister of peace and justice.

Over 90 per cent of deacons are married, and many wives go through the deaconate formation program with their husbands and become involved in lay ministry. Most deacons keep their regular occupations while ministering as a deacon, allowing them to give witness to the spirituality of being a married, working person.

Cardinal George will ordain the following seven men on February 17. Their (wives’ names) and parish assignments are also provided:

  • Ruben (Julia) Aguilar will be assigned to St. Adrian Parish, 7000 S. Fairfield Ave. in Chicago, where he now assists in baptismal and liturgy preparation and in the music ministry. Ruben and Julia have five children who are all active parishioners.
  • Juan (Rose) Dominguez will be assigned to St. Adalbert Parish, 1650 W. 17th St., in Chicago where he now assists in baptismal and youth catechesis and in liturgy preparation, as well as helping the poor. Juan and Rose have five children.
  • Efrian (Carmen) Flores will be assigned to Santa Maria Del Popolo Parish, 116 N. Lake St. in Mundelein, where he has served in the catechesis program and as a director of liturgy. Efrian and Carmen have three children.
  • Efrian (Mercedes) Lopez will be assigned to Resurrection Parish, 3043 N. Francisco St., in Chicago, where he coordinates the food pantry, visits the sick at the hospital and is involved in the Bible study program. Efrian and Mercedes have three children.
  • Sergio Lopez will be assigned to St. Simeon Parish, 430 Bohland Ave. in Bellwood, where he is involved in the liturgy and hospitality ministries and in visiting the sick. Sergio, a widower, has two children.
  • Pablo (Juanita) Perez will be assigned to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish, 3721 W. 62nd St. in Chicago, where he’s active in the liturgy and spiritual life ministries and is a member of the finance council. Pablo and Juanita have three children.
  • Rogelio Soto (Maria Ofelia) will be assigned to St. Ignatius Parish, 6559 N. Glenwood Ave. in Chicago where he serves as a catechist, in the baptismal preparation ministry and in ministering to the sick. Rogelio and Maria have four children.

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