Eight deacons ordained to be servants of all    – Georgia Bulletin

The eight candidates for the everlasting diaconate pose with Deacon José Espinosa, co-director of diaconate formation, second from left; Penny Simmons, co-director of diaconate formation, and Deacon Dennis Dorner Sr., chancellor and director of the everlasting diaconate, proper entrance, following the the Mass of ordination Feb. 3 on the Cathedral of Christ the King. Photograph by Johnathon Kelso


By ANDREW NELSON, Workers Author | Printed February 11, 2024

ATLANTA—Deacon Thang Vu baptized a grandchild, assisted at Mass and preached a sermon at Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Church all inside 48 hours of his ordination to the diaconate.   

“My dream is I might be a humble servant and produce extra individuals to God with pleasure, hope, love and peace,” mentioned Deacon Vu.  

After 5 years of research, Deacon Vu mentioned he feels “joyous” to start this new vocation and fulfill his dream of being a humble servant in service of the religion.  

He was amongst eight males to be ordained the latest everlasting deacons within the Archdiocese of Atlanta, with the years of formal studying in regards to the ministry accomplished as they made guarantees of obedience.  

In return, Bishop John N. Tran prayed over them and handed them a E-book of the Gospels, and urged them “to consider what you learn, educate what you consider and follow what you educate.”   

In a solemn Mass on the Cathedral of Christ the King on Feb. 3, the lads had been ordained to supply blessings and dwell a life in service to charity.  

The brand new deacons are Robert Fraundorf, to serve on the Cathedral of Christ the King; Michael Heubel, to serve at St. Ann Church; Gerard LaHatte, to serve at Our Girl of the Mountains; Michael Martell, to serve at All Saints Church; Alonso Rigg assigned to St. Ann Church; William Schubring to serve at St. Catherine Laboure, Phillip Tran and Thang Vu, each assigned to Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Church.   

Deacon Phillip Tran, heart, celebrates his Feb. 3 ordination on the Cathedral of Christ the King along with his spouse Racheal Ho Tran and Fr. Francis Tran Quoc Tuan, pastor of Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Church, proper. Photograph by Johnathon Kelso

They be a part of 244 everlasting deacons energetic within the archdiocese. The ordained clergyman could rejoice the sacrament of baptism, witness marriages and preside at funerals and burial companies.   

They vary in age from 56 to 66, with assorted backgrounds from chief funding officer and chiropractor to an authorized pedorthist.  

Their religion journey has been impressed by St. John Paul II, the Holy Virgin Mary, Mom of God, and St. Paul the Apostle. Deacon Vu mentioned he admires Cardinal Francis Thuân, who was imprisoned in Vietnam for 13 years, 9 of them in solitary confinement for his religion.  

Bishop Tran’s name to service  

The ceremony on the crowded Peachtree Highway church started with the eight wives of the lads strolling down the lengthy aisle, every carrying the robes and stoles for his or her husbands, adopted by the eight males. Scores of everlasting deacons began the procession of clergy members, adopted by dozens of monks and Atlanta bishops. Bishop Tran served because the ordaining bishop because the Mass celebrant, together with Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, and Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III. Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., attended.  

In his homily, Bishop Tran mentioned the lads responded to God’s invitation to dwell this vocation in the identical approach the Virgin Mary mentioned sure to the Angel Gabriel on the Annunciation.  

“Your formation has been a life-changing expertise,” mentioned Bishop Tran. “My brothers, you may have come thus far not solely by God’s grace, the steering and prayers of these accountable for your formations and others, but in addition by your willingness to say sure to God’s invitation to know your religion by way of research, to develop in holiness, to be open in being fashioned and at the moment as a deacon of the church.”   

God’s grace and the Holy Spirit proceed to name the brand new deacons, mentioned the bishop, “to steer you and information you to serve his church.” He inspired them to dwell and serve their communities as a “servant of all.”  

Bishop Tran reminded them, “Serve others with nice pleasure and humility since you are serving the Lord.” 

He mentioned that their lives of service would tackle a brand new that means, starting that day. 

“Our prayers are with you that you could be be efficient, light in ministry and fixed in prayer,” he instructed them.  

Deacon Thang Vu’s voyage from Vietnam to the altar  

At 24, Thang Vu fled his homeland because of communist persecution, witnessing the closure of colleges and church buildings that deeply impacted his religious Catholic household.  

Deacon Thang Ngoc Vu turns, heart, turns to face the congregation throughout the Mass of ordination to the everlasting diaconate Feb. 3 on the Cathedral of Christ the King. Photograph by Johnathon Kelso

Like hundreds of thousands of others, he and his relations risked their lives on the damaging sea in rickety boats, finally discovering security in Malaysia, the Philippines, and at last, the USA after a yr of uncertainty.  

Deacon Vu, 66, was one in all two males ordained from Holy Vietnamese Martyrs Church, Norcross.  

“I obtained many, many blessings and graces from God,” he mentioned.  

He and his spouse Anna Vu have been married for 40 years with two kids.  

Deacon Vu and Deacon Phillip Tran are the primary deacons to be ordained from the Norcross parish in a decade. The neighborhood is happy as individuals and ministries more and more sought him out for religious counseling and assist, he mentioned.  

Deacon Vu served as a layman within the small Vietnamese neighborhood within the Nineteen Nineties after they held Lots at Holy Cross Church, after which as its numbers grew, it moved to a former automotive dealership. As we speak, the neighborhood worships in one of many largest church buildings within the archdiocese.  

He recalled the encouragement from pastors to contemplate changing into a everlasting deacon. At 59, after prayer and with the assist of his spouse, he started the everlasting diaconate program. He was accepted regardless of issues about his age and English expertise.  

The years of examine had been transformative, mentioned Vu, calling the teachings a contact of heaven as he discovered in regards to the religion and his prayer deepened.  

“I by no means miss a day. And my spouse too. We miss nothing,” he mentioned.  

The chance to serve the neighborhood fills him with pleasure. It was throughout a quiet second he mirrored on how God calls imperfect individuals to ministry, not those that are good, he mentioned.  

“I’m imperfect. And should you name me, I’ll reply,” he mentioned in his prayer.  

From company to neighborhood: Deacon LaHatte’s journey 

Deacon Gerard LaHatte’s journey to the diaconate was deeply influenced by his work with the St. Vincent de Paul ministry, because it formed his coronary heart for service.  

“I feel essentially the most significant factor I discovered in that course of was you may’t decide an individual by something apart from the standard of their character,” he mentioned.  

Impressed by the common-or-garden Deacon Edmund LaHouse of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta, LaHatte felt a robust name to serve.  

“He all the time simply grabbed me as a really humble, family-oriented man, servant to all people, and really enthusiastic about his calling. And by no means, ever, no delight, no ego, no nothing. Simply, ‘Hey, I’m right here to serve.’ And that actually grabbed me,” remembers LaHatte.  

Initially from Columbus, LaHatte, 62, transitioned from the company finance world to the nonprofit sector with the North Fulton Communities Charities. His profession change was supported by spouse of 36 years Carolyn. They’ve three grownup kids. Their dedication to the ministry grew to become obvious when the couple would depart their Jasper dwelling by 6 a.m. twice a month to make it to St. Paul of the Cross Church in time for morning prayer.  

Though a self-described “debit and credit score sort of man,” the deacon more and more discovered himself immersed in studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, church teachings, and relishing working with {couples} on marriage preparation and bringing the Eucharist to individuals at dwelling.  

Ordination is a vital second, however LaHatte believes studying to dwell as a deacon is ongoing.  

“That is simply one of many stops that must happen. And you then carry on rolling. The race is nearly over. However you’re going to begin a brand new race right here on Monday,” he mentioned.  

Deacon Rigg’s ministry of hope behind bars   

Deacon Alonso Rigg is devoted to ministering to prisoners at the USA Penitentiary, Atlanta, a mission he started earlier than ordination.  

Bishop John Nhan Tran palms the E-book of the Gospels to candidate to Alonso L. Rigg throughout the Mass of ordination Feb. 3 on the Cathedral of Christ the King. Photograph by Johnathon Kelso

“It’s important to me to try this sort of ministry, or perhaps go to the sick, as a result of that places you in contact with the poor individuals. It provides you that have with those who have little or no in some ways, they usually want it, and I additionally want it,” mentioned Rigg, who joins a number of different deacons and males finding out to be deacons making the jail journeys.  

In the course of the two-hour visits, he finds success in connecting with the lads at a communion service and instructing the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The eight prisoners who attend are appreciative of the go to and instructing, mentioned the 56-year-old.  

“They’re paying consideration. They’re so glad and pleased. You see it of their eyes, of their expression, the best way they take part,” he mentioned.  

Rigg grew up in Panama as a cradle Catholic. Wanting again, he mentioned religion and church have been a relentless in his life, guided by his mom’s affect. As an adolescent, he joined the parish council as a result of they needed the view of a teen.  

Later, in the USA, he attended a ministry honest at his church, St. Anne Church, and the diaconate was intriguing. However his two kids had been getting into their teen years, so he paused exploring the choice. He and his spouse Edilma have been married for 30 years.  

Some 10 years after the ministry honest, he’s being ordained.  

“That is one other testimony to the truth of God and his existence and his grace that that’s taking place,” he mentioned.  


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