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Archives Six deacon candidates installed as lectors

June 12, 2024

By Deacon Kevin Mastellon
Contributing Writer

Each of the six candidates for Permanent Deacon knelt before Bishop Terry LaValley on the last day of May 2024 as they attended Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours in the Chapel at Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg with their families, as they do each month. But this event was different. Evening Prayer included their Installation as Lector at Mass.

In turn, each candidate grasped one end of a Bible while Bishop LaValley held the other end and spoke these words: “Take this book of Holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of his people.”

This statement is what defines the ministry of lector. The lector is to become a vehicle of the Word to help listeners at Mass fall in love with the word of God. The role of the lector is to read, pray, and live the word they are proclaiming.

Gordon Burdo (Plattsburgh), James Kavanaugh (Clayton), James Law (Rainbow Lake), Francis Sczerzenie (Piseco), Garry Stevens (Castorland), and Nicholas Tsibulski (Massena) will begin their final year of formation next September. They are members of the class due for ordination as Deacon in the fall of 2025.

This ceremony marks an important step toward ordination. Though they may have been lectors in their own parishes, now they encounter God’s Word in a deeper sense. They proclaim the Scriptures and embrace the role of teachers of God’s Word. Proclamation of the Gospel is reserved for the ordained.

The formation program for men of this diocese aspiring to the diaconate is directed by Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin. He is assisted by Deacon Lee Trudeau.

Formation is generally a three-year program that includes men in their aspirant and candidate years. Installation as lector is followed several months later by installation as acolyte and then ordination. All the on-campus courses are taught at Wadhams Hall on one weekend a month for ten months of the year over the three years. The men in formation are also required to complete a series of courses on-line offered by the University of Notre Dame. 

Another group of men from across the diocese will begin the formation for deacon program in the fall of 2024, also at Wadhams Hall.

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