Bishop ordains 15 to permanent diaconate

Five years of formation led to a noteworthy day in the Diocese of Raleigh June 27.

Bishop Luis Rafael Zarama conferred the sacrament of holy orders to the diaconate for the first time since becoming bishop of Raleigh in 2017. And the class of 2020 is the first permanent diaconate ordination in the new cathedral, Holy Name of Jesus.

In the Church, there are two types of deacons – permanent deacons and transitional deacons. Transitional deacons are those on their way to becoming priests.

The Mass was private for family and essential personnel but was streamed live and is available to watch on YouTube.

“You are here because God set you apart; he looked at you and said, ‘I’d like to set you apart, for one purpose, to serve my people,’” Bishop Luis said during the homily. “We were thinking 2020 would be the perfect year. It looks like it’s not, but it is, for you. What is the right moment, how can you know? It is exactly this moment that the Lord is giving to you to show you that in the middle of everything one thing is important, and that is to serve, with love.”

For newly-ordained deacon Dave Wulff, the service was uplifting.

“When the bishop looked in my eyes and said ‘Believe what you read, teach what you believe. Practice what you teach,’ I felt his sincerity and felt the meaning of my vocation to the diaconate,” Wulff said after Mass.

In a June 24 interview with NC Catholics magazine, Joshua Klickman, who was a deacon candidate at the time, explained that service is a deacon’s role.

“In the modern Church, the deacon does similar roles to what they did in the early Church,” he said. “Service is really the key role of the deacon … as Christ is a servant, the deacon is a servant. So in a very real way, in a very concrete way the deacon should be a visible servant to the entire church.”

Deacons often work in prison ministry, nursing facilities and in missions, he added, and what’s important is that they are on the margins bringing the Church to those who may not engage with it otherwise. 

“I am curious to see where God’s going to lead me. There’s that famous line from the Gospel, ‘God will lead you where you don’t want to go as you get older,’ and I am kind of excited to see where that is,” Klickman laughed.

The diocese now has 15 deacons to serve the Church.

Diaconal ministry assignments in the Diocese of Raleigh:

Deacon Rick K. Autry is appointed deacon at Sacred Heart Parish, Southport

Deacon Steven J. Canali is appointed deacon at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Fayetteville

Deacon Daniel J. Doban is appointed deacon at St. Paul Parish, New Bern

Deacon George F. Keenan is appointed deacon at St. Therese Parish, Wrightsville Beach

Deacon Joshua O. Klickman is appointed deacon at St. Patrick Parish, Fayetteville

Deacon Virgilio Maisonet is appointed deacon at San Isidro Mission, Fayetteville

Deacon Gerardo Segundo Mercado Roman is appointed deacon at St. Patrick Parish, Fayetteville

Deacon John J. Mullins is appointed deacon at St. Brendan the Navigator Parish in Shallotte

Deacon Arthur G. Powers is appointed deacon at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish, Raleigh

Deacon Erick J. Rosario Ramos is appointed deacon at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Raeford

Deacon Kevin M. Sullivan is appointed deacon at UNC Newman Parish, Chapel Hill

Deacon John J. Walsh is appointed deacon at the Basilica Shrine of Saint Mary Parish, Wilmington

Deacon David A. Wulff is appointed deacon at St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Cary

Deacon Matthew A. Yurksaitis is appointed deacon at St. Mary Parish, Goldsboro

Deacon Bernard Zdancewicz is appointed deacon at St. John the Baptist Parish, Roanoke Rapids

Learn more about the diaconate and other vocations



Full Ordination Mass


Click or tap to view full image.