Five diocesan seminarians are ordained as deacons by Bishop Campbell
By Doug Bean, Catholic Times Editor

Five diocesan seminarians continued down the path toward the priesthood on Friday, May 4 with their ordination as transitional deacons at Columbus St. Joseph Cathedral.

Bishop Frederick Campbell presided over the Mass and ceremony before a large congregation that gathered to witness the important milestone for the candidates as the Diocese of Columbus celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2018. Concelebrating were Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese of Military Services, USA and priests from the diocese.

Brian Beal, PJ Brandmarti, Bryant Haren, Kyle Tennant, and Chris Yakkel presented themselves before Bishop Campbell at the altar during the election of candidates. Becoming a transitional deacon is one of the last steps before the five men, God willing, are ordained as priests next year.

Brandmarti, Haren, Tennant, and Yakkel will return to the Pontifical College Josephinum in the fall for their final year of classes in theology. Beal will complete his theological studies at Pope St. John XIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, where men who receive a calling to serve at an older age are typically sent for their formation.

The size of this year’s group equaled the 2017 class. Those five deacons from 2017 will become priests on Saturday, May 26 when they are ordained at Westerville St. Paul Church.

The numbers are a positive sign for the diocese to help offset attrition in the clergy ranks and also indicates to the Catholic faithful an upward trajectory in the willingness of young men to  dedicate their life’s work to the Church.

The nearby Archdiocese of Cincinnati was blessed to have nine men join the ranks of the diaconate last week in another hopeful development for the Church as a whole.
In Bishop Campbell’s homily, he spoke directly to the five candidates.

“It is of course a moment of great joy to be with you and to speak to you about the order to which you are to be ordained,” he said. “I want to speak not about what about what you will be but rather what you will not be. For it is the being of our reality that always receives the doing of our activities.

“You may exercise the role of deacon for a comparatively short time, but you must never lose the deaconate sense. For, in fact, as a deacon, manifest the activity of Jesus Christ himself. It is a service that begins in obedience to the Heavenly Father. It is a service marked by acceptance, that is, the offering of ourselves for our holy purpose. Finally, it is a service that reveals glory to God. It must act as an invitation to all those who heed it, to recognize God’s glory, to give service to God, and to thank him for his many gifts.”

The Mass for the Ordination to the Order of the Diaconate included readings from the Acts of the Apostles, the second letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, and the gospel of St. Luke.
All three scripture passages accentuate the call to service of God. The first reading from Acts describes man as a chosen instrument to carry the Lord’s name before the Gentiles. The second reading from Corinthians advised the deacons that we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. The Gospel proclaims that blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake upon his arrival.
“The image of the good servant that we heard from the Gospel of Luke is a very interesting description of discipleship but also one of a servant in conformity with Jesus Christ the servant,” Bishop Campbell said. “The primary work of the servant is the work of the Master. The full attention of that servant is that willingness to do what he has called us to do — not for our own needs but to do the work in which we are called by Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“And to this, I would add, that remember we do not teach ourselves but Jesus Christ is Lord and ourselves as slaves for the sake of Jesus. And I think of the first reading that we heard about the conversion of St. Paul. It, of course, is very dramatic in its presentation. After having the scales fall from his eyes, his first realization is now I must preach the word of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

“And it is an important point made most recently by Pope Francis when he was talking to a group of newly ordained priests. He said you must remember this is not an assignment. This is a mission, to be called and sent to replicate the service of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His saving power.

“But you have noticed with the good servant one of the first of his virtues was vigilance, being awake and watching. For obviously this parable, this story, is about an expectation, living our life for the second coming of Jesus Christ, doing our work here and those duties here, simply not fulfilling them day by day but rather to render them in service to the Lord who is coming.”

As part of the Rite of Ordination, the deacon candidates are called forward after the Gospel reading and before the bishop’s homily. Father Paul Noble, diocesan vocations director, gave a formal testimony of their readiness for service, which was accepted by Bishop Campbell.
The five men then offered their commitment to perpetual celibacy, followed by the promise of the elect to respect and remain obedient to the bishop and his successors. This promise to remain celibate is permanent for transitional deacons who are on the road to becoming priests. Conversely, permanent deacons who serve in many diocesan parishes are married.

After a Litany of Supplication to the saints, there was a laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination. The scriptural gesture of the bishop laying hands on the heads of the candidates is used by the Church to signify the special conferral of the Holy Spirit, which ordains men to service in Holy Orders. The new deacons thus entered into the clerical state through the Sacrament of Holy Orders. In the prayer of ordination, the bishop asked God to dedicate these deacons to the service of the altar and the word.

The ceremony of investiture with the stole and dalmatic signified incorporation into Holy Orders. The dalmatics and stoles are signs of the ministry and office of the deacon in the Church.

In the handing on of the book of the Gospels from the bishop, placing the book in the hands of the new deacon symbolizes his commitment to proclaim God’s word.
The Rite of Ordination concluded with a fraternal kiss of peace from the bishop, who extends his greeting to the new deacons as a sign that they are co-workers in the ministry of the Church. The other deacons in attendance also gave the sign of peace to the newly ordained.
Also in the bishop’s homily, he pointed to the various duties as described in the Act of Consecration that the ordained will undertake in their new role, including preaching the gospel and ministering to the sick and dying, while keeping in mind the ultimate purpose.
“I remember a wonderful line from a poem from T.S. Eliot. In his Little Gidding, he was taken with something that Mary Queen of Scots said just before he was to lose her head. And she said almost defiantly, if my end is my beginning … What she meant to indicate was that her earthly death would be the beginning of eternal life. It is interesting what Elliot did. He said the beginning is often the end … and the end is where we start. With the whole of our bodies, whatever order we serve the Church, begins with that expectation of the glorious coming of Jesus Christ.”

Beal, 40, from Columbus Immaculate Conception Church, is a native of Hermitage, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Ohio Dominican University with a degree in theology and went on to Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he did additional studies in theology with a specialization in catechetics, graduating magna cum laude with honors. Beal worked as a professional tennis instructor at Lakes Country Club in Westerville after college. He also was a co-organizer of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration at Immaculate Conception and a coordinator of the 24-hour Eucharistic adoration vigil while at Ohio Dominican. He then returned to his home state to serve as the executive director of Pro-Life of Mercer County in Sharon, Pennsylvania and also as the CEO of the Missionaries of Purity. In addition, he was a coordinator of the 40 hours’ devotion at Our Lady of Fatima in Pennsylvania.

Brandmarti, 31, from Gahanna St. Matthew Church, came to Columbus from the Pittsburgh area. He graduated from Hampton High School in Allison Park, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He worked as an assistant manager at Wendy’s, a store operations manager for Circuit City, and a retail store manager for Sony Electronics before coming to Columbus as a market development manager for Motorola Mobility. He began studies for the priesthood in 2012 at the Josephimun and earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy. He is a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a past Grand Knight.

Haren, 25, from Newark St. Francis de Sales Church, is a 2011 graduate of Licking Valley High School in Hanover. He was an altar server for eight years, an Eagle Scout, treasurer of the Future Farmers of America, and a member/adviser of the Junior Fair Board. Haren worked at Chapel Hill Golf Course in Mount Vernon, Giant Eagle in Heath, and for his parish. He entered the seminary at the Josephinum out of high school and received a bachelor’s degree in humanities three years ago.

Tennant, 29, from St. Monica Church in New Boston, graduated from Portsmouth Notre Dame High School as a valedictorian in the class of 2007. He played golf and basketball in high school and also was an Eagle Scout. Tennant went to college at the University of Notre Dame and earned a degree in mechanical engineering. After graduating, he went to work in Chicago for Accenture as a security analyst before deciding to leave his job to pursue a calling to the priesthood. He began his studies at the Josephinum in 2013 and received a degree in philosophy two years later.

Yakkel, 29, a member of St. Joseph Cathedral, is a self-described “military brat” who moved throughout his childhood depending upon where his father was assigned by the U.S. Air Force. He spent his last two years before college in Hawaii, graduating from Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu. He came to Ohio to attend Miami University in Oxford, where he received a bachelor of science degree in health and sports studies. For two years after college he served as a missionary with NET Ministries, a Catholic youth ministry organization based in St. Paul, Minnesota, before entering the Josephinum in 2013. His parents have now retired to Xenia, Ohio. He hopes to serve as an Air Force chaplain after three years of service in the diocese once he is ordained to the priesthood.

As ordained ministers, the new deacons are now able to baptize, assist the priest and read the Gospel during Mass, give homilies, witness at marriages, preside at funeral vigils and graveside services, and offer certain blessings. Until they are ordained as priests, deacons cannot celebrate Mass, hear confessions or anoint the sick.

The deacons do not take a vow of poverty, but they are expected to live simple lives without an excess of material possessions.

After completing the academic year this month, each new deacon will have a summer assignment. Deacon Brandmarti will serve at Gahanna St. Matthew, Deacon Haren at Newark St. Francis de Sales, Deacon Beal at Columbus Immaculate Conception, Deacon Tennant at New Boston St. Monica and the Scioto County Consortium, and Deacon Yakkel with the U.S. Air Force.