Permanent deacons finish journey to become ‘living icons of charity’

February 22, 2011

HOUSTON — From age to career paths, their backgrounds may vary but the 35 Catholic men ordained to the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston share a deep bond in faith and willingness to serve.

On Feb. 12, that unity was celebrated during the 2011 Ordination to the Diaconate. Daniel Cardinal DiNardo presided at the Mass at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, which was filled to capacity by families and supporters of each candidate.

Juggling family responsibilities, occupational requirements and parish duties during their studies for the diaconate, Cardinal DiNardo said the ordination marks the end of a journey that demanded many great sacrifices. 

"We offer songs of jubilation as thanks to God for this ministry and for these 35 men," Cardinal DiNardo said during his homily. "They, too, thank God for graces received for a journey — perhaps some would describe as a five year marathon — in coming to this order of the diaconate. The journey to holy orders is marked by joys, challenges, occasional struggles and doubts and probably today, by a certain amount of relief." 

The cardinal expressed gratitude to the wives and children of the Permanent Deacons who accompanied them throughout their formation. He noted that many wives attend a majority, if not all, of the formation classes with the candidates and their consent is essential to their husband's petition to the diaconate.

Training and preparation of the deacons is carried out through efforts led by Deacon Gerald DuPont, the Archdiocesan director for the Permanent Diaconate. Then, prior to ordination, the cardinal interviews each candidate and his wife. 

"Deacon Gerald is a most-centered … compassionate, but no nonsense director of our Permanent Diaconate," Cardinal DiNardo said, adding that the Archdiocese's diaconate formation program is recognized throughout the United States.

"For all of the wives and children here, thank you very much for your journey," Cardinal DiNardo said. "Thank God for wives and families, local parishes and pastors and a whole host of friends and leaders, none the least of at which is their fellow deacons and their own fellow deacons-to-be. [The candidates] express gratitude as well to those who have been in charge of their formation as deacons — the priests, their teachers and mentors, their spiritual directors."

Cardinal DiNardo urged each newly ordained deacon to be a "living icon of charity."

"The deacon is the constant reminder for all of God's people … that Christ came to serve, not to be served," Cardinal DiNardo said. "You are to be servants of the Word, as teachers and preachers."

"The greatest thing that can happen today is just remember what you say [during the Presentation of the Candidate] … I am present. ‘Lord, you do with me what you will; I will take this saving chalice and call upon the name of the Lord.'" †

Photo 2: Candidates for the Permanent Diaconate stand near the altar at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart during the opening moments of their ordination, Feb. 12.

Photo  3: Daniel Cardinal DiNardo (RIGHT) lays hands on a new deacon, Walter Busa, during the diaconate ordination, Feb. 12. 


New Deacons for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

The 35 men ordained to the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese come from diverse backgrounds and occupations. Below is each deacon's name, his wife's name, their home parish and the deacon's occupation. 

Frank Aloysius Berntsen
Wife: Jo Ann Zuniga-Berntsen
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Architectural Designer

Gary William Boyd
Wife: Patricia Boyd
St. Justin the Martyr
Technical Associate Chemical Researcher

William John Bradley
Wife: Stacie Bradley
Christ the Redeemer
Sales Account Executive

Walter Lee Busa
Wife: Francell Busa
St. Mary/St. Joseph – Plantersville

Gustavo Camacho-Del Rio
Wife: Marta Irizarry
St. Vincent de Paul
Registered Nurse, Case Manager

Sidney August Cammeresi
Wife: Victoria Cammeresi
St. Mary – Texas City
General Manager

Lynn Edward Carney
Wife: Anne Carney
Holy Family – Missouri City
IT Professional/Manager

John Anthony Carrara
Wife: Olga Carrara
Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral
Parish Business Manager

Humberto Alfonso Carrasco
Wife: Gaby Carrasco
St. Bartholomew the Apostle - Katy
Auto Technician
Alfonso Chicas
Wife: Florida Chicas
St. James the Apostle – Spring
Airport Superintendent

Agustin Salinas Cruz
Wife: Luz Maria Cruz
St. Jerome – Clute
Chemical Engineering

John David Denson
Wife: Margaret Denson
Our Lady of Walsingham

John Charles Evanoff
Wife: Patti Evanoff
Epiphany of the Lord – Katy
Environmental Consulting

Thomas Stephen Gandara
Wife: Esperanza Gandara
St. Charles Borromeo
Security Officer

Michael Garcia
Wife: Lilly Garcia
Catholic Charismatic Center
Police Officer

John Joseph Hagyari Jr.
Wife: Christine Hagyari
Prince of Peace
Project/Procurement Specialist

Gregory Eugene Hall
Wife: Angelica Hall
Christ the Redeemer

William Henry Hartman
Wife: Sylvia Hartman
Christ the Good Shepherd – Spring
Clinical Psychotherapist
Timothy Steven Hartnett
Wife: Ellen Hartnett
Prince of Peace

Larry James Hernandez
Wife: Cynthia Hernandez
St. Rose of Lima
Electronic Technician

Luis Gregorio Hernandez
Wife: Lina Hernandez
Most Holy Trinity – Angleton

Willie Lee Hunter
Wife: Elsma Hunter
Assumption Church
Sales Executive

Ro Van Le
Wife: Maria Lan-Huong Nguyen
Vietnamese Martyrs

Alvin Leon Lovelady
Wife: Linda Lovelady
Our Lady of Lourdes – Hitchcock
Construction Superintendent

Mervin Pierre Melancon Jr.
Wife: Sharon Melancon
Sacred Heart – Crosby
Lead Business Analyst

Jaime Raul Morales
Wife: Christina Morales
St. Jerome – Clute
Procurement Manager

Michael Nicholas Mort
Wife: Jeannette Mort
St. Anthony of Padua – The Woodlands
Facilities Manager
Anthony Loren Olsovsky
Wife: Melody Olsovsky
Notre Dame
Real Estate and Construction

Guy Thomas Puglia
Wife: Francine Puglia
St. Martha – Kingwood

Felix Villeda Ramos
Wife: Lidia Ramos
St. Joseph – New Waverly

Gordon Wayne Robertson
Wife: Connie Robertson
St. Bartholomew the Apostle – Katy
Licensed Social Worker

Daniel Niles Seiler
Wife: Sally Seiler
St. Pius V – Pasadena
Electrical Maintenance

Don Anthony Senger
Wife: Diane Senger
St. Theresa – Sugar Land
Parish Preventive Maintenance Manager

Kenneth Fowler Stanley
Wife: Roxanne Stanley
Prince of Peace
HVAC Company President

Joseph Anthony Weir
Wife: Domenica Weir
St. Maximilian Kolbe