Detroit — Ten men were ordained to serve the Archdiocese of Detroit as permanent deacons last Saturday, Oct. 1, by Archbishop Allen Vigneron.
The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit was filled to capacity with the families and friends of the new deacon ordinandi, as well as deacons, priests and prelates of the archdiocese.
In his homily, Archbishop Vigneron spoke of the ministry of the deacon in the Church, citing first the deacon’s teaching ministry, as when he proclaims the Gospel at Mass.
He reminded them that they have become “spokesmen for God” not only through the work they did studying for their ordination, “but by God’s action.”
Turning to the deacon’s ministry of service, the archbishop said it is not just a matter of working to make things a bit better, but springs from “the love that lives in the very heart of God.”
“What you do on your own and what you lead the people of God in doing is an instance and manifestation of the love that exists among the Holy Trinity,” he said.
But then Archbishop Vigneron spoke of the deacon’s sacramental ministry and of its importance, for “liturgy is the source and summit of the Church’s life.”
He touched on the deacon’s role in conducting baptisms and serving as “a solemn witness of the Church” at weddings, saying, “What are these, but proclamations that God has come into the world in His Son, Jesus Christ, and has made it a new creation?”
The archbishop focused, however, on “one particular ministry” of the deacon – serving as “custodian and minister of the cup of the Precious Blood” at Mass.
Calling the chalice of Precious Blood the “most elegant sign” of Christ’s saying that “Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends,” Archbishop Vigneron told the new deacons, “You are associates of Jesus Christ in administering His love.”
He commended the faithful examples of the martyrs St. Lawrence and St. Stephen to the new deacons, and noting that they were being ordained on the feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, said, “Was she not excellent in her service of the Word, not only in her speech, but in her ministry of charity? Ask her how you can be ministers of charity.”
The new deacons are:
• Rev. Mr. Donald E. Baross, 56, of Troy. A plastic injection mold maker, he and his wife, Donna, have one daughter and are members of Sacred Heart of the Hills Parish, Auburn Hills.
• Rev. Mr. Francis Xavier Bujold II, 53, of Bloomfield Hills. A hospital chaplain and mediator, he and his wife, Brenda, have four children and are members of St. Hugo of the Hills Parish, Bloomfield Hills.
• Rev. Mr. Michael Lee Hammond, 56, of Ida. A self-employed architect, he and his wife, Susan, have four children and are members of St. Joseph Parish, Ida.
• Rev. Mr. Thomas Paul Houle, 60, of Roseville. A terminal manager, he and his wife, Concetta, have two children and are members of Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Eastpointe.
• Rev. Mr. Ralph Robert Luddecke III, 64, of Canton Township. Retired from Kraft Foods, he and his wife, Penny, have three children and are members of St. Thomas à Becket Parish, Canton Township.
• Rev. Mr. Michael Daniel Oldani, 44, of Chesterfield Township. An insurance claims adjuster, he and his wife, Laura, have three children and are members of St. Mary Queen of Creation Parish, New Baltimore.
• Rev. Mr. Christopher Ward Rabaut, 54, of Detroit. A café owner/operator, he and his wife, Colleen, have one daughter and are members of St. Matthew Parish, Detroit.
• Rev. Mr. Michael Stach, 47, of Rochester Hills. A parish director of religious education and real estate broker/owner, he and his wife, Katarzyna, have three children and are members of Sacred Heart of the Hills Parish, Auburn Hills.
• Rev. Mr. Christopher Voss Stark, 46, of Troy. A vice president of Kelly Services, he and his wife, Patti Lynn, have three children and are members of St. Anastasia Parish, Troy.
• Rev. Mr. Thomas Edmond Strasz Sr., 61, of Grosse Pointe Woods. Employed as administrative assistant to Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes, Deacon Strasz and his wife, Josephine, have five children and are members of St. Joan of Arc Parish, St. Clair Shores.
Following the ordination ceremony, the new deacons and their wives greeted their many well-wishers at a reception in the cathedral’s parish gym.
Colleen Rabaut said seeing her husband being ordained “was like getting married all over again — I’m really proud of him.”
She said she is confident her husband will be a “wonderful” deacon because “he is a very caring and kind gentle spiritual person.”
“He cares about people, and is a wonderful husband and wonderful father.”
Rabaut said she shared her husband’s sense that he was being called to the diaconal ministry.
She acknowledged that she had “a lot of alone time” during her husband’s six years of study and formation leading up to ordination, but said she used that time to read books on spirituality by such writers as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Henri Nouwen and St. Therese of Lisieux and praying the Divine mercy chaplet.
Then, she and her husband would discuss what he was learning in class and what she was learning from her reading, Rabaut said.
Susan Hammond said she and her husband had first discussed the possibility of him pursuing ordination to the diaconate 15 years ago, but decided they should wait until their children were older.
But six years ago, they decided the time was right and attended an informational meeting, as well as praying about it and asking other people to pray about it, too.
While Hammond said finding things to do while her husband was at class was not a problem, since she was taking care of her parents, she said they always found time to talk about what he was learning.
“The years he was undergoing formation were a time of spiritual growth and knowledge growth that benefitted both of us,” she added.
Describing what she was feeling as she saw her husband being ordained, Hammond said, “It was humbling to know that God had chosen him, and it was a joy to know what a blessing it would be in our own lives and in the lives he would touch.”