By Tim Lilley
The Message editor
VINCENNES – During the 5 p.m. EDT Mass at St. Francis Xavier Parish’s Sacred Heart Church on Sept. 18, Bishop Joseph M. Siegel instituted 12 candidates for the Diocese of Evansville’s permanent diaconate to the Ministry of Acolyte. In this role, they will assist priests and deacons during Mass.
The candidates, who are are scheduled to be ordained in the summer of 2022, include: Ron Cardinal, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Vincennes; Lonny Davis, St. John the Baptist Parish, Newburgh; Pat Herman, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Vincennes; Gary Keepes, Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Petersburg; Kevin Kilmer, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Vincennes; Bob Martin, St. Philip Parish, Posey County; Brian McCammon, St. Mary Parish, Sullivan; Jorge Melendres, St. Benedict Cathedral Parish, Evansville; Dan Niemeier, Resurrection Parish, Evansville; Mark Theiman, St. John the Baptist Parish, Newburgh; Ed Walker, Resurrection Parish, Evansville; and Danny Wheeler, St. Wendel Parish, St. Wendel.
During his homily, the bishop reminded the candidates that their ministry is a gift from God, who has chosen them. He urged them to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion as often as they can, and to frequently spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
He asked them to continue developing habits of prayer, study and ongoing formation. He called their formation an essential part of being a person more closely united to the Eucharist, adding that their lives should become more like that of Christ.
Noting that service as a permanent deacon sometimes involves personal sacrifice, Bishop Siegel called the candidates to welcome those sacrifices as signs of a closer relationship with Christ. In closing, he urged the candidates to be courageous, compelling and charitable in their service.
Following the homily, the candidates came forward for the institution. Bishop Siegel blessed them then called each candidate individually, who held the chalice used for the Mass as the bishop prayed:
“Take this vessel with wine for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”