Bishop Ordains Transitional Deacon
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
May 25, 2017

ROCKFORD—Jhonatan Steven Sarmiento Sierra, known in the diocese as Jhonatan Sarmiento, was ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 20, at the Cathedral of St. Peter by Bishop David Malloy.

He is the only one in his class — scheduled for ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rockford in 2018. Additionally, he currently is the only Hispanic seminarian for the diocese.

Among those at the Mass were priests and religious sisters from St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Lincoln, Neb., a priest from St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and laity from Deacon Sarmiento’s home parish of St. Paul Parish there. When the soon-to-be-deacon was called forth and welcomed as worthy of ordination, the applause was loud and, as Bishop Malloy noted, “a bit longer than perhaps usual ... I hope you are as delighted to be here as we are to see you standing before us.”

“Your name was called and you answered present.  And that is where our gratitude begins,” the bishop continued in his homily. “You have said, present. That response is not just your own personal choosing – your own will. You fulfill in our own day what was described in our first reading from the Book of Numbers: ‘They have been set aside from among the Israelites as dedicated to me.’ By responding present, you agree to join those set aside and dedicated in a special way to Jesus Christ.

“Your diaconate ordination today sets you aside for a lifetime of dedication to Christ and to the Church.”

Bishop Malloy noted the origins of deacons as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. “The fact that the reading tells us that the apostles imposed hands on those seven men displays the difference, the sacredness of the order of deacons,” he said. “That is what you are entering. That is the meaning of your response – present.

“But the mission entrusted to you is also captured by the very next line after the imposition of hands by the apostles.  It says that the Word of God spread and the number of disciples increased. The union of service and prayer – the heart of your diaconate – strengthens faith and strengthens the Church.  It’s good for your soul and for the souls of others to whom you will minister.”

After noting the steps of the ordination process, Bishop Malloy looked ahead.

“As we know, we hope to gather here again about this time next year,” he said. “We hope that God’s grace leads you to the priesthood. Live this coming year well. Love the diaconate. Love the fraternity of your brother deacons. Love the faithful whom you will serve.

“Remember well this day, these promises, all of the gestures. Remember also the presence of so many. Serve them with prayer and humble charity.

“Live out from this day forward the answer that you gave to the Lord: Present!”