By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

WYNNEWOOD – Auxiliary Bishop Timothy C. Senior ordained three men to diaconal ministry for the Philadelphia Archdiocese Saturday, May 8, in the Chapel of St. Martin of Tours at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood.

They are: Kenneth C. Brabazon Jr., 24, of St. Barnabas Parish in Southwest Philadelphia; David M. Friel, 24, of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown, Bucks County, and Christopher P. Landis, 25, of St. Basil the Great Parish in Kimberton, Chester County.

Now transitional deacons with a threefold ministry of service – Word, altar and charity – the three are scheduled to be ordained priests for the Philadelphia Archdiocese next year. {{more}}

Deacon Friel said he felt “the grace of God at work” throughout the ceremony.

The highlight for him was when Msgr. Joseph G. Prior, the seminary rector, presented the candidates to the ordaining bishop and declared that the Church had called them to service as deacons.

The highlight of the ceremony for Deacon Brabazon was the laying on of hands which, with the prayer of ordination, conferred the gift of the Holy Spirit for the office of deacon.

It was at that point that Deacon Brabazon contemplated the fact that he was sharing in the heritage of faith and tradition of the Church’s first deacons.

“It’s a great blessing to us and to our families and the Archdiocese to be able to be called in such a beautiful way to the service of the Church, especially the service of the Gospel and the Eucharist,” he said.

Highlights of the ceremony for Deacon Landis were kneeling during the prayer of ordination and hearing the bishop call upon the Holy Spirit to bestow gifts upon him and the other deacons.

“Without that grace that comes from the sacrament and the gift of the Holy Spirit, I wouldn’t be able to carry out this ministry that God has called me to,” Deacon Landis said.

Bishop Senior served as principal celebrant and homilist at the 10 a.m. Mass. In his homily, he said that as ministers of the altar, the newly ordained deacons will proclaim the Gospel, prepare the sacrifice and distribute the Lord’s Body and Blood to the faithful.

“It will be your duty, at the bishop’s direction, to exhort believers and unbelievers alike and to instruct them in Holy doctrine. You will preside over public prayer, administer baptism, assist at and bless marriages, bring viaticum to the dying and conduct funeral rites. Consecrated by the laying on of hands that comes down to us from the Apostles and bound more closely to the service of the altar, you will perform works of charity in the name of the bishop or the pastor. With the help of God, you are to go about these duties in such a way that all will recognize you as disciples of Him who came not to be served but to serve.”

Msgr. Prior said the day was one of great rejoicing for the seminary and the Archdiocese. He thanked the newly ordained deacons for listening to the call of God and for responding courageously and generously in faith.

“You have embraced your preparation for the priesthood with an earnest will and a docile spirit and you have set your hearts ablaze with zeal for the Gospel.

“Please know that the prayers of the entire St. Charles Borromeo Seminary community are with you today as you begin your diaconal ministry … and as you begin your final year of preparation for ordination as priests of Jesus Christ.”

The transitional deacons have been assigned to the following parishes, concluding before priesthood ordination in May 2011: Deacon Brabazon: SS. Peter and Paul, East Goshen, Chester County; Deacon Friel: St. Anthony of Padua, Ambler, Montgomery County; and Deacon Landis: St. Andrew, Newtown, Bucks County.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at 215-587-2468 or