GARY | In a tradition dating back to the beginnings of Christianity, Bishop Dale J. Melczek ordained eight men as Gary diocese deacons at an ordination Mass Saturday at Cathedral of the Holy Angels.
According to the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament, seven men were selected at the direction of the 12 apostles to reach out to those who are most in need, to teach and to provide ministries in their communities.
Many of the diocese’s 62 deacons as well as families and friends filled the cathedral to witness seven married men being ordained as permanent deacons and one, Portage resident Christopher Stanish, 25, as a transitional deacon.
Stanish will continue his studies toward ordination as a priest at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. During Saturday’s Mass, the Hobart native took a vow of celibacy in preparation for his ordination as a priest next year.
The seven new permanent deacons completed six years of preparation for the ministry.
• Miguel G. Arredondo, 55, of East Chicago, is a member of Sacred Heart, Whiting-Robertsdale parish. He is code enforcement manager for the city of East Chicago.
• Kim E. Eaton Sr., 58, of Valparaiso, is a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Valparaiso. Eaton is an engineering tech supervisor.
• Stephen K. Grandfield, 64, of Ogden Dunes, is a member of Nativity of Our Savior parish in Portage. He is a podiatrist.
• Ralph Huber Jr., 64, of Crown Point, is a member of Our Lady of Consolation parish in Merrillville. He is retired from the Merrillville Community School Corp.
• Daniel Lowery, 60, is a resident of Highland and a member of St. James the Less. He is president of Calumet College of St. Joseph.
• Jose Alberto Serrano Galarza, 49, of Gary, is a member of St. Bridget Parish in Hobart. He is employed by Griffith Meats and Catering.
• Frank J. Zolvinski, 63, is a Michigan City resident and a member of St. Peter in LaPorte. He serves as director of religious education with the Diocese of Gary.
“I want to thank particularly the wives and families of our married candidates,” Melczek said during his homily. “They have sacrificed much and been most supportive of their husbands and fathers during the past six years of formation.”
The deacons have a threefold ministry, he said. In addition to preaching, deacons can preside over public prayer, baptize, assist at and bless marriages, give communion to the dying and lead the rites of burial as ministers of the altar.
“As ministers of charity and justice, our deacons serve as living reminders to us all of the example and words of Jesus,” the bishop said.
During the Mass, Melczek was joined by two other bishops who hail from Northwest Indiana — Bishop Carl Mengeling, retired bishop of Lansing, Mich.; and Capuchin Bishop David Zywiec, auxiliary bishop of the Vicariate of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
In full regalia, the three Knights of Columbus groups of the diocese were represented by 23 members of the Abraham Lincoln Assembly of Gary, the Santa Maria Venegas Assembly of Lake County and the Father Sorin Assembly of Valparaiso.