On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, three men of our diocese celebrated the Rite of Candidacy for the permanent diaconate during a Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew, Grand Rapids. Bishop David Walkowiak presided during the Mass. 

Those accepted into candidacy for the diaconate on Tuesday evening are: Christian Cifuentes, Juan Carlos Perez, and Matthew Schmitz. We offer our congratulations to them, their wives and families!

This Rite is for those, who after a year-long discernment process, have shown positive signs of the vocation to the diaconate. These signs are to be confirmed over the next three years as their formation continues. During this period formation continues in spiritual, intellectual and human formation while expanding into pastoral formation.

During Mass, Bishop Walkowiak addressed how these three men are now entering into an important phase of formation where their aptitude and readiness for Holy Orders are examined. Each of the men were called forward by name and promised to continue to prepare themselves in mind and spirit for service to the Church.

This is the third class of permanent deacons for the diocese since the deacon formation program was reinstated in 2015 by Bishop Walkowiak. Ten men in the formation program’s second class, the Parmenas Class, are currently candidates to be ordained deacons in November 2023.

Deacons are one of three major orders of the sacrament of holy orders, the others are priests and bishops. Deacons may officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals, read the Gospel and preach at Mass, and help with the canonical process for marriage and baptism, but one of their greatest priorities is service to the poor and marginalized.

The next class of deacons for the diocese is currently being formed. Learn more about the permanent diaconate program in our diocese.