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Bishop Ordains Hassler, Thomas As Deacons

The Message photos by Kevin J. Kilmer

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel ordained Diocese of Evansville seminarians Luke Hassler and Andrew Thomas to the Sacred Order of Deacon at an April 14 Mass celebrated at the Basilica of St. Francis Xavier in Vincennes. Hassler is a son of St. Philip Parish in Posey County, and Thomas is a son of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Vincennes.

Joined by their families and friends, and Catholics from across the diocese, the new deacons listened as Bishop Siegel acknowledged their response to a call to the ministry of service in the Church. He noted that, as the first deacons, Hassler and Thomas are to be images of the servant Jesus; they are following in Christ’s footsteps.

Bishop-Emeritus Gerald A. Gettelfinger and more than 30 priests of the Diocese of Evansville concelebrated the ordination Mass with Bishop Siegel. Deacon Charlie Koressel of St. Philip Parish and Deacon Cletus Yochum, Jr., of St. Francis Xavier Parish served as Deacon of the Mass, and more than two dozen other deacons from across the diocese attended. Members of the 4th Degree Knights of Columbus served as the Honor Guard.

Bishop Siegel noted that, although we sometimes hear the terms “transitional deaconate” used for seminarians who are studying for the priesthood, their ordination into the Sacred Order of Deacon is not a temporary status. He explained that the bishops and priests in the Basilica for the ordination all are still deacons. Hassler and Thomas are servants of God and the Church, and the bishop asked them to keep the diaconal dimension of their service visible, always.

Bishop Siegel thanked them on behalf of the diocese for responding to Jesus’ call to follow him and live a life of service to their brothers and sisters, and to the Church.

Following their ordination, Deacons Hassler and Thomas donned vestment and were welcomed by fellow deacons in attendance. Once vested, each knelt before Bishop Siegel, who placed the Book of the Gospels in their hands and prayed:

Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become.

Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.

St. Francis Xavier Parish hosted a reception for the new deacons immediately following the Mass.

Note – The Basilica of St Fancis Xavier served as the first cathedral in Indiana, for the Diocese of Vincennes. It also is the oldest Catholic Church in the state. The first four bishops of the Diocese of Vincennes are buried beneath the Basilica. Bishop Siegel used the crosier of Bishop Simon Bruté, the first bishop of Vincennes, during the Mass.