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​Archbishop says deacons must be willing to sacrifice themselves for the life and salvation of other

February 08, 2021 | posted by Today's Catholic newspaper

Topics: In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News

Archbishop says deacons must be willing to sacrifice themselves for the life and salvation of others

Three Redemptorist brothers – Song You, Huan T. Le, and Huyen T. Nguyen – were ordained to the diaconate through the imposition of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, at St. Gerard Church in San Antonio on January 23.

The archbishop told the trio that entry into this sacred order for ministry is not something which is a mere human choice. “No, you are responding to God who has called you, chosen you, and prepared you through the grace of the Holy Spirit. If you feel unworthy, or unprepared for this moment, welcome to the club!” he laughed. “You are in good company with the humble communion of patriarchs, prophets, and saints throughout the ages! In fact, if you do feel worthy of this calling, it may not be for you, for you will be lacking in the humility necessary to serve well.”

Archbishop Gustavo noted that the founder of their religious community, St. Alfonsus Ligouri, counted humility among the chief virtues needed for Redemptorists and those engaged in the ministries of the Church.

The archbishop also shared that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has recently referred to deacons as “Servants of Charity.”

“Indeed, throughout the history of the Church deacons have served as the first ministers of charity within the community, as well as from the community of the Church to the larger world. To this very day, deacons are to be marked by their commitment to the works of charity and justice, and the corporal works of mercy for others,” he said.

In the New Testament, in addition to their duties in ministering to the needs of others, deacons very quickly also became servants of the Word through proclaiming the gospel to others and by catechizing them. Therefore, the Church also entrusts the proclamation of the gospel to deacons through ordination and asks them to teach the meaning of the Word of God through preaching homilies and teaching the catechesis of the Church. In this way they assist the bishops and priests in the ministry of the Word, and share in the office of Christ as a prophet. “In our time the need for clear and persuasive catechesis is so very necessary, and I admonish you to focus much of your attention to this prophetic role,” Archbishop Gustavo emphasized.

Finally, deacons are also the custodians of the Holy Eucharist. They become one the Church’s ordinary ministers of Holy Communion for those assembled in worship, as well as those who are homebound or otherwise not able to be with the community of the Church. They bless the people through Eucharistic benediction and preserve the dignity of the Holy Eucharist through proper reservation in the tabernacle.

“The Holy Eucharist is literally Jesus, present to us body and blood, soul and divinity. Therefore, minister the Holy Eucharist with dignity, love, and respect,” stressed the archbishop. “The Christ you present to others in the Word and in the Sacrament is the same Christ to whom you minister in the faces of the poor, the rejected, the outcast, the sick, the ignorant, and the marginalized.”

He concluded his homily by explain that to be a deacon is to be a Servant of Charity, a living representation of the divine love God pours out upon His people, saying, “Do not fear if you are worthy. Rather, focus on the fact that you have been called and chosen in your own human reality to humbly serve Christ in others. Let this be your consolation and your prize!”

Giuse Le Thanh Huan, CSsR

Birthday: May 30, 1987

Profession: June 27, 2012

Perpetual vows: June 30,2017

Deacon ordination: Jan. 23, 2021

I was born and grew up in Bao Loc, a small city north of Saigon, Vietnam. I am the second of four children. My family has been “cradle Catholics” for more than five generations.

After graduating from high school, I met the Redemptorists when they came to my parish to preach a Lenten Retreat. My attention was drawn to the Redemptorist community and their ministry of preaching. I wanted to be one of them preaching the Good News to the most abandoned, especially the poor in rural areas of Vietnam. However, God had another plan for me. After taking my temporary vows and studying philosophy for two years at Saint Alphonsus Theologate School in Vietnam, the provincial superior sent me to Boston in 2015 to study English and for the first year of study in Theology. In 2017, the Theologate House moved to San Antonio and I continued my studies at the Oblate School of Theology.

I have been with the Redemptorists for 15 years from 2005. I took my first vows in 2012 and perpetual vows in 2017. I am happy to be a Redemptorist, and I want to be one my whole life. After studying, praying, and discerning my vocation by talking with my formators, professors, and spiritual director; I freely and willingly make the request to be ordained a deacon, thus allowing me to preach the Good News to the poor and most abandoned more effectively all my life.

Huyen T. Nguyen, CSsR

Birthday: June 11, 1983

Profession: June 27, 2012

Perpetual vows: June 30, 2017

Deacon ordination: Jan. 23, 2021

I was born on June 11, 1983 and grew up in a small villagein Dong Nai, Vietnam. I am the youngest in a family of five brothers and two sisters raised in a Catholic family.

I have been in America since 2015. I lived and studied English and the first year of Theology in Boston. I moved to San Antonio in 2017. I am in my final year of study in Theology at the Oblate School of Theology.

There are many reasons why I joined the Redemptorists in 2007. It is not possible to name them all, but I would like to give you some idea of my journey. I felt a profound calling to give my life to God as a religious priest. I joined the Redemptorists and chose to become a follower of St. Alphonsus Liguori, our founder, because his heart opened far and wide with an uncompromising passion for the poor.

Throughout my studies, I learned to place hope as the critical pillar in proclaiming the Gospel to the poor. I want to be a source of comfort for people who feel marginalized, oppressed, and impoverished. May the love of the Most Holy Redeemer empower me to preach the Gospel with light and joy. 

Song Yu, CSsR

Birthday: Oct. 2, 1987

Profession: July 17, 2016

Perpetual vows: Jan. 22, 2021

Deacon ordination:Jan. 23, 2021

In1732, St. Alphonsus and his early companions burned with zeal to establish the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer in Scala, Italy, dedicated to serving the poor and most abandoned.

Today as I am getting ready for my perpetual vows and ordination as deacon, I pray that the same burning zeal may continue to burn within me.

May this desire, together with God’s abundant graces and your prayers, continue to shape and form me to become a Redemptorist of simplicity: simplicity of presence, simplicity of word, and simplicity of action. Thank you to all who have supported me on this journey.