Two Move Closer to Diocesan Priesthood
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
July 23, 2020
ROCKFORD—Families, a few friends and some diocesan priests and seminarians gathered at the Cathedral of St. Peter as Aaron Downing and John McFadden took one step closer to the diocesan priesthood July 18.
“It has taken a while longer than we had thought. But we are finally here. The day has finally come for ordination to the diaconate,” Bishop David Malloy said as he began his homily.
In non-pandemic times, the two men would have been ordained at the priesthood ordination of Father Jack Reichardt on June 6. However, due to restrictions of indoor gatherings, the Mass and ordination rite were postponed to allow  the seminarians’ families, friends and mentors to attend.
In his homily Bishop Malloy talked about the preparation the two have completed to answer the call to become priests and told them that their calling is “part of eternity backwards and forwards.”
Bishop Malloy also reminded them of what lies ahead in the next year of their formation. 
“This year of diaconate that you will live has a special character that we were reminded of in the second reading (Acts 6:1-7). It will be part of your priestly life if you live it well. But how good it is then, to spend this first year in Holy Orders with a special emphasis on service and charity.
“What is interesting in faith is that the solution proposed by the Apostles is not a policy, a new way of distributing rations. The solution is charity. It is service. It is the diaconate. It is you. Brothers, you will bear that calling to charity and service for every day of your life from here forward.”
The bishop went on to explain what would take place after the homily during the rest of the rite of ordination with the profession of respect and obedience to the bishop from both men along with their promises, the laying on of hands, the conferral of and vesting in the diaconal stole and finally, the handing on of the Gospels.
“I will hand you the Book of the Gospels and say to you, ‘Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.’
“More could not be said if we discussed for another hour. Believe the Gospels. That is for the good of your soul. But it is also the heart of your service and ministry as a deacon. None of what you will speak of and teach comes from you. It comes from faith, from belief. From receiving in your heart what the Church has received from Christ,” Bishop Malloy said. 
Bishop Malloy ended his remarks to the two new deacons as he began them, with thanks, and then added a charge to both Downing and McFadden.
“Brothers, we thank God that this day has come. It is His gift to the Church and to the world. There is work for you to do when this is done. So let’s get at it,” the bishop said.
Rev. Mr. Aaron Downing and Rev. Mr. John McFadden are scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood in June 2021.
The video of the ordination can be seen at


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