When Cardinal Justin Rigali makes a pastoral visit to a parish in the Archdiocese, he celebrates Mass and afterward customarily greets everyone who wishes to say hello. During the visit an observer might notice a young priest nearby and think, “Who is that priest assisting the Cardinal?” It is normally the same priest who assists the Cardinal at Masses at the Cathedral or other liturgies throughout the Archdiocese.

The answer to the question now is out in the open: that priest is the Cardinal’s secretary and newly named auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, Bishop-elect John McIntyre. Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Tuesday morning and accepted the resignation of auxiliary bishop Robert Maginnis, as required by canon law upon reaching the age of 75 last year. {{more}}

If that observer had thought to say hello to the young monsignor he or she would find he is approachable with a ready smile, and thoughtful and kind in conversation. As he prepares to be ordained a bishop Aug. 6, the faithful of the Archdiocese will begin to learn about the new shepherd in our midst.

Bishop-elect McIntyre now prepares to serve the Church always, certainly, as a priest, but in a more profound way as a bishop. He will join in a deeper union with Jesus Christ, the High Priest, and a call to greater service of His Church at ordination.

At the same time, the call to service through the sacrament of holy orders this week came to five men of the Archdiocese ordained by Cardinal Rigali as permanent deacons. These men, joined by their wives at the ordination liturgy as throughout the years of their formation, are no longer laymen but ordained clergy in the Church.

Perhaps they were relatively anonymous to other Catholics in their parish. Now these ordained men – often husbands and fathers – begin to serve in public ways at liturgies and by leading parish ministries.

But most often in the course of their day, they evangelize in the ordinary circumstances of their various careers and community activities. They tell the Good News, together with their wives, in the witness of their faith-filled lives. Through the promises of the diaconate ordination, these men will assist priests and bishops. Together they will help teach the Catholic faith and sanctify the people through the Word and sacraments.

The deacons, like Bishop-elect McIntyre, might have been relatively little known to this point. But that has all changed. As they begin this next step of their vocations, they are about to be well known for the good and faithful servants they are.