Bishop Siegel ordains 12 permanent deacons

By Tim Lilley

The Message editor

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel ordained 12 men as permanent deacons in the Diocese of Evansville during an Aug. 13 Mass at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville.

Newly ordained deacons of the Diocese of Evansville stand with Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, Deacon Thomas Evans and Deacon John McMullen, who assisted at Mass, following the Aug. 13 Ordination Mass at St. Benedict Cathedral in Evansville. Shown are Deacons Lonny Davis, front row left, Kevin Kilmer, Gary Keepes, Danny Wheeler, Bishop Siegel, Edward Walker, Robert MArtin, Jorge Melendres, Ronald Cardinal, back row left, Pat Herman, Mark Theiman, Thomas Evans, John McMullen, Brian McCammon and Daniel Niemeier. The Message photos by Tim Lilley

More than two dozen priests of the Diocese of Evansville and Saint Meinrad Archabbey attended the Mass, and more than 30 permanent deacons attended.

Deacon David Rice served as Deacon of the Mass, with Deacons Thomas Evans and John McMullen assisting. Masters of Ceremony included Father Chris Forler, Father Tyler Tenbarge, Matt Miller, Director of the Diocesan Office of Worship, and Larry Durchholz.

4th Degree Knights of Columbus and Knights of St. John served as the Honor Guard for the Aug. 13 Mass. The candidates walk past them during the opening procession.

Jennifer Korba, Director of Choirs at St. Benedict Cathedral Parish, led the Diocesan Choir. Diocesan Director of Music Jeremy Korba and musicians from the University of Evansville served as accompanists. Members of the Diocese of Evansville Serra Club served as greeters; 4th Degree Knights of Columbus and members of the Knights of St. John served as the Honor Guard.

Emily Walker, daughter of newly ordained Deacon Edward Walker, and Jack Martin, son of newly ordained Deacon Robert Martin, served as lectors. Caroline, Kathryn and Thomas Herman, children of newly ordained Deacon Pat Herman, served as the gift bearers.

The new deacons, with their parish assignments in parentheses, are:

  • Ronald Cardinal (St. Francis Xavier Parish, Vincennes, and St. Philip Neri Parish, Bicknell)
  • Lonny Davis (St. John the Evangelist Parish, Daylight, and St. Bernard Parish, Snake Run)
  • Pat Herman (St. Francis Xavier Parish, Vincennes, and St. Philip Neri Parish, Bicknell)
  • Gary Keepes (Sts. Peter and Paul Parish, Petersburg, and Blessed Sacrament Parish, Oakland City)
  • Kevin Kilmer (St. Francis Xavier Parish, Vincennes, and St. Philip Neri Parish, Bicknell)
  • Robert Martin (St. Philip Parish, Posey County, and St. Matthew Parish, Mt. Vernon)
  • Brian McCammon, (St. Mary Parish, Sullivan, and St. Joan of Arc Parish, Jasonville)
  • Jorge Melendres (Holy Rosary Parish, Evansville)
  • Daniel Niemeier (Resurrection Parish, Evansville)
  • Mark Theiman (St. John the Baptist Parish, Newburgh)
  • Edward Walker (Resurrection Parish, Evansville)
  • Danny Wheeler (Corpus Christi Parish, Evansville)

The candidates prostrate themselves before the altar during the Litany of Supplication.

In his homily, Bishop Siegel explained how the role of deacons in the early Church expanded rapidly and organically from the Apostle’s original intent – to have reputable men in good standing assist them in distributing resources to those in need – to also include the proclamation of the Gospel and assistance in sacramental worship. He said, “Today, we have chosen 12 reputable men in good standing to serve as deacons.”

Bishop Siegel noted that the candidates have acknowledged that they did not choose the ministry of the diaconate for themselves, but that they were chosen by God and called by the Church for a ministry of service. He urged the candidates to spend time in prayer and ask the Lord to make them messengers of his love when they proclaim the Gospel and preach. He also urged them to spend time in prayer before they serve in a sacramental role, like assistant at the altar; distributing Communion; or presiding over a wedding or baptism. He asked them to contemplate how closely the Lord draws to us through the sacraments, saying that in their roles, everything will point – not to themselves – but to Jesus.

The 12 candidates receive a long ovation from a standing-room-only crowd inside St. Benedict Cathedral just before Bishop Siegel ordained them during the Aug. 13 Mass.

He also asked the candidates to meditate on how the Lord identifies with those in need. Doing so will help them see Christ in those they serve, and to love as He loved. He said their service will, in itself, serve as a proclamation of the Gospel; it will evangelize and draw others to the sacraments and the Church.