On Saturday, July 11, 2020, the Feast of St. Benedict, the Patriarch of Western Monasticism, our own Br. Asiel M. Rodriguez, O.S.B, will be ordained a transitional deacon by The Most Reverend Manuel A. Cruz, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark. The ordination will take place at the Abbey Church of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. By a happy coincidence, it is also Br. Asiel’s birthday!
Br. Asiel has been on the path toward ordination to the priesthood for 10 years, since he began formation with his previous community in Spain. While in Spain, he studied, Philosophy and Theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca for several years. After coming to Newark Abbey and making vows he began the completion of his studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University. He graduated with a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry in May of 2019. For a religious to be ordained to the diaconate or the priesthood he must first make solemn (life-long) Vows in his religious community. Br. Asiel made his solemn vows in March of 2020 at the height of the Corona Virus pandemic. Br. Asiel’s diaconal ordination was originally scheduled for April, now after several months of patient waiting, he is prepared to take on the responsibilities and duties of the ministry of a transitional Deacon.
So, what is a deacon? A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church who has a special role of service within the Church hierarchy. The word deacon comes from the Greek diakonia, which means “service” or “ministry” and there are two types of deacons in the Church. The first is that of permanent deacons who remain deacons their entire lives, and the second is that of transitional deacons, who go on to be ordained priests.
Deacons are not "mini-priests," but have a unique identity of their own. The first deacons were ordained shortly after the Resurrection of Christ and the role of deacons is described in the Bible as one of service, particularly to the poor and needy. Today, deacons engage in service of the word (preaching and teaching), service of the altar (serving unique liturgical roles), and service of charity (performing Works of Mercy, visiting the sick and dying, serving the poor and homeless, etc.)
As a transitional deacon, Br. Asiel will continue to prepare for his future ordination to the priesthood, by engaging in ministry to God’s people primarily through the preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments of Baptism, witnessing Marriages in the name of the Church , and liturgical service at the altar during the Holy Mass as well as other ministries proper to the diaconate when called upon.
Br. Asiel is very excited to be embarking upon this next phase of his life and ministry as an ordained member of the clergy in service to the Church and the monastic community of the Benedictine Abbey of Newark.
We give thanks to God, for this great gift and we hope you will join us via livestream for this joyous occasion for the Abbey community and the life of the Church. The Ordination to the Diaconate will begin at 10:30 AM.
Please see the link to watch: https://youtu.be/RBrDnsnjODc