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Fri, Oct

Deacon candidates reflect on upcoming Ordination

Diocesan News
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 On August 12 at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Chino Hills ten men have petitioned to be ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of San Bernardino. As they approach this new journey in faith, the candidates discuss their calling and their hopes for the future.

Bernardo Hernandez

Bernardo Hernandez: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Riverside

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 The calling came through the pure love of serving others and God. Diaconate is service. Pope Paul VI spoke of the deacon as the animator and promoter of the Church’s service and a sign or Sacrament of Jesus Christ himself, who came not to be served but to serve. 

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 To continue to be the person who has been called forth to live the Christian life, to be a helper of the Bishop and Priest in service of the people of God and be a visible sign of service of the Altar, the Word, Charity and the parish community. 

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 I am currently serving in Detention Ministry and Social Justice Ministry. However, I will be open to the needs of the community and be obedient to serve where most needed and ready to help others. 

Francisco Herrera

Francisco Herrera: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Yupaipa

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 When I had an encounter with Jesus and experienced all the love He has, I realized that many of us are unaware that God loves us and that he has given His life for us. I would like to cooperate to get that message to more people. 

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 Only to be a good servant in the eyes of God. 

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 I would like to work in marriage ministry.

John Lawson

John Lawson: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Temecula

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 I was invited by several parishioners and two deacons from St. Catherine’s Parish in Temecula to consider the vocation to the Diaconate. I prayerfully reflected on this invitation over several years and took the invitation to reflect and pray over it on my annual silent retreats. 

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 My expectations are open. I have good deacon friends that I have been able to reach out to and they have shared their journey with me. Their personal journey in this vocation has inspired me to continue to grow in my personal prayer life, service and way of life. 

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 I intend to continue visiting the sick in the hospital. It is a challenging ministry, one that requires much prayer and spiritual direction. 

Antonio Mejico

Antonio Mejico: The Holy Name of Jesus, Redlands

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 I felt called to become a deacon in response to invitations from parish staff and others over the years.  I’ve served in Detention Ministry for many years, service to the poor and also as a Spiritual Director, so I decided to discern diaconal ministry.

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 My hope is basically to bring “hope” into the world; particularly to those on the fringes of society.          

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 I’d like to focus on continuing to serve the poor in the Inland Empire.  I’d also like to continue to serve in the Detention Ministry to share scripture with the people there as well as conduct Communion Services when needed.  During my full time career working for the State of California, I had experience in writing legislation and presenting it to elected officials.  I’d like to help in this area as it relates to immigration and refugee issues. 

Francisco Meza

Francisco Meza: St. Catherine of Alexandria, Temecula

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 I met a good deacon whom I admired and felt that he was a good role model for me as well as for the community. He was a great servant in our church and he helped the community grow in their love for God and for the community. He was the bridge between the clergy and the laity. This is the reason why I chose to become a deacon, to serve the community and our church as an ordained minister if that is God’s will. 

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 My biggest hope is to become a good serving deacon for all the people in any given parish that I would be assigned to. 

Is there any particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 The first ministry that comes to mind is catechetical ministry. I like working with teens, especially those in the process to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation and the older ones receiving the First Communion. Eventually, I would like to get involved in the ministry to visit the incarcerated. 

Manuel Ramirez

Manuel Ramirez: St. Anthony, San Jacinto

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 I felt in my heart the call of the Lord, who invited me to serve Him in multiple ministries, meeting the needs of my parish community and especially the poorest and neediest. This is why I have chosen to devote my life to the Lord by putting my talents and skills to the service of the Church, as well as my Bishop.

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 To answer the call that God makes of me in my church and my community. Also to help the priests in the multiple tasks that I can perform as a deacon, such as baptizing, wedding celebrations, celebrations of the word and funerals, as well as pastoral services at my parish community, such as visiting the sick, the incarcerated, and the poor and marginalized in my community.

Is there any particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate? 

  I will go to different groups of parish ministries, giving them advice, and offering them spiritual, liturgical and religious education. I also like to encourage them and help them to do community service and pastoral care. All of this under the authorization and guidance of my pastor and my Bishop.

Jesse Robles

Jesse Robles: St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Yucaipa

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 It began with an invitation from several people to consider the diaconate and from there it was entering into [Parish Minister’s Formation Program] and [Coordinator of Ministries Formation Program] and then into the diaconate formation program.  Along the way, I repeatedly considered whether being a deacon was right for Monica and me.  It came down to both of us putting our own wants and desires aside and surrendering to the desire of the Holy Spirit.  It’s a process of prayerful discernment, pure and simple.  

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 Mostly, I hope that whatever I do in my diaconal ministry I do it with humility and respect towards those I serve.  I believe that every person deserves to be treated with the dignity God gave them and I hope I always act in a way that honors that dignity.  

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

  First, I would like to focus on adult faith formation.  I see a great need in working in the parish on helping build a strong and fruitful adult faith formation program.  I would also like to work with young adults.  Finally, I would like to work with people seeking annulments.  The process of seeking an annulment can bring healing to some people.  It can be a process of mercy and reconciliation. 

Richard Simpson

Richard Simpson: St. Anthony, Upland

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 I heard a calling in the early 1980s but pretty much ignored it. By the late 1990s the calling was more insistent. I prayed on it. By early 2002 I thought that I was being called to the permanent diaconate and so did my pastor, my wife and some of my fellow parishioners. Finally, beginning in September 2010, with my enrollment in CMFP, I began the current portion of my journey. I had discerned that I was probably being called to the diaconate. To me, it clearly fit into my personal vocation of being a humble servant to all. Also, I saw it as a better way to serve the Bishop and the Diocese. I still believe this. 

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 I just hope that I can be a good role model, a good witness of Christ, for everyone, as the late Deacon Gene Thomas of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was for me in the 1980s. Furthermore, I hope that I can be a small part of making our Roman Catholic faith more meaningful for people in this Diocese and for whomever I come into contact. Lastly, I hope that my “Yes” to God’s call may encourage other men who are discerning to answer the call to serve the Church, or be a permanent deacon, or a priest, or for anyone to be a member of a religious order. 

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 I will do whatever Bishop Barnes asks me to do and will do it to the very best of my ability.

Wilfredo Vita

Wilfredo Vita: St. Martha, Murrieta

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 During prayers and meditations, I believe God was asking me to serve Him not just through ministries but in a higher capacity. One Sunday morning after communion, I prayed and asked the Lord what He planned for me. Suddenly, while in prayer, an announcement was made that the Church was looking for men in ministry who might be interested in entering Diaconate Formation. Chills and warmth went through my body and I felt peace. At that point, I did not know what the Diaconate was. I inquired about it, researched and asked many clergy for advice.. While contemplating, I happened to encounter the Gospel of John, chapter 15:16 where Jesus said, “You did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to bear fruit...” I then meditated on that scripture passage for a long time. Convinced, I made my decision to pursue God’s calling and discussed it with my wife, Muriel. I believe that God is calling each and every one of us and it is our choice to pursue and act on His will, which is our purpose here on earth. It was and is our choice to be open to God’s plan even in the midst of all the uncertainties. 

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 First, embracing the diaconal ministries and where I will be assigned; I can only hope that God will continue to provide me the courage, strength and perseverance to become a dedicated servant. Secondly, I hope and pray that I can continue to have the child-like dependency and trust towards God as well as being an obedient servant to our Most Reverend Bishop Barnes. Thirdly, I pray that I can always bring hope and faith to all my brothers and sisters so that they may see the light and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 Based on my experiences over the past 25 years, I have enjoyed teaching religious education on all levels. However, I would like to open and challenge myself to other opportunities that will be given to me. God will journey with me as I am His instrument.

Jose Herrera

Jose Herrera: Christ the Redeemer, Grand Terrace

How did you feel called to become a deacon?

 After reflecting on the invitation in prayer and with much discernment, I decided to accept to be part of the mission that Jesus entrusted to his Apostles; “go, then, and make all Nations my disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to accomplish all that I have commanded you. And I am with you until the end of the world.” (Mt 28: 19-20). Hopefully I will come to share the grace that I will receive from the Lord, through Bishop Barnes, the day of my Ordination, according to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What are your hopes for your diaconal ministry?

 The first is that the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen me so that I can carry out in practice everything the Spirit has taught me in all these years of training. Another of my hopes would be that I find support in all of those who will be my partners in this mission to which we have been invited and that I will always do everything for the greater glory of God.

Is there a particular ministry you wish to focus on as you enter into the diaconate?

 There are some ministries in my parish and some different ministries that I can do in the Diocese. Monsignor [Tom] Wallace has made the invitation to be part of the Mission Office appeals, and because I think that everything in the Church is a ministry of mission I would like to help in one way or another.