Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • May
  • 17

Season of ordinations brings men into ministry

Posted By May 17, 2012 | 1:16 pm | Lead Story #1
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By Tanya Connor

Fourteen men are to be ordained in the next few weeks to serve the Diocese of Worcester.
Among them are the diocese’s first Vietnamese permanent deacon, first Kenyan transitional deacon and first Ghanaian priest. The diocese already has Vietnamese priests and a Ghanian permanent deacon, but no Kenyan clergy.
The men becoming transitional deacons are using their knowledge and love of music for their Masses.
Bishop McManus is to ordain John Hamm Jr., born in Harrisburg, Penn., in 1958, and Charles Omolo, born in Kenya in 1983, to the transitional diaconate at 5 p.m. tomorrow at St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Upton. A public reception sponsored by the Serra Clubs North and South follows in the church hall.
As part of their preparation for priesthood, Mr. Hamm and Mr. Omolo served at Holy Angels Parish in Upton, before it merged with St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Mendon to form St. Gabriel’s. Mr. Hamm also served at St. Brigid’s in Millbury and the Clinical Pastoral Education program at St. Vincent Hospital. Mr. Omolo also served at St. Christopher’s in Worcester and St. Mark’s in Sutton.
Mr. Omolo said he composed the entire Mass (the music for the responses) for the ordination. These responses are also to be used for the first Mass at which he will assist as a deacon: at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at St. Gabriel’s, with a public reception following in the church hall. Mr. Omolo said he has written a few things, but has no background in music.
He said Wednesday that efforts were still being made to bring his mother, Helen Milugo, here from Kenya for the celebrations. His father, John Milugo, and brother and sister were unable to come. The Kenyan Catholic community here is to sing and dance for Sunday’s Mass, he said.
Mr. Omolo studied at St. Gabriel’s Minor Seminary in Kenya and Spiritan Missionary Seminary in Tanzania. In 2006 he came to the United States, where he studied at Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky. He is preparing for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.
Mr. Hamm said that at their ordination the choir will sing Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” in memory of his mother, Bernadine Hamm, who died in 1993.
“She always said, ‘I had six boys; you’d think one of them would want to be a priest,’” he said. He said his father and stepmother, John and Catherine Hamm, are to come in from Pennsylvania, and three of his brothers to come from Virginia and New York, for the celebration.
The only instruction he gave St. John’s Scola for his first Mass as a deacon was: “Spoil me,” he said. The Mass is at 11:30 a.m. Sunday at St. John, the Guardian of Our Lady Parish in Clinton, with a public reception following in the hall beneath the church.
“I used to be a member of that choir and the organist,” Mr. Hamm said. “I started studying piano at the age of five and I never stopped.” While studying music performance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., he had the assistant chamber music director at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., as his harpsichord instructor, he said. He also studied at Assumption College, and is studying for the priesthood at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.


Bishop McManus is to ordain four men to the priesthood at 10 a.m. June 2 at St. Paul Cathedral. They are Deacons Eric Asante, born in Ghana in 1973; Hugo Cano, born in Colombia in 1979; Michael Clements, born in Leominster in 1983, and Jonathan Slavinskas, born in Worcester in 1984. A public reception sponsored by the Serra Clubs North and South is to follow in St. Paul’s Cenacle.
This ordination Mass is to air throughout the diocese on Charter TV 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. June 3 and 10 a.m. to noon June 6. The broadcasts are being made possible through a gift to promote vocations from the late Father Roland G. Hebert, according to Stephen Kaufman, of the diocesan television ministry.


At 10 a.m. June 9 Bishop McManus is to ordain eight permanent deacons at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The men are:  Keith T. Caplette, born in Southbridge in 1961; Timothy G. Cross, born in Lowell in 1967; Brian R. Gadbois, born in Worcester in 1969; Michael J. Hafferty, born in Charleston, S.C., in 1964; William W. Hays, born in Waltham in 1945; William S. Shea, born in Worcester in 1957; Brian E. Stidsen, born in Worcester in 1951, and Ky T. Tran, born in Ninh Binh, Vietnam, in 1947.
This ordination Mass is to air on Charter TV 3 from 1 to 3 p.m. June 10, and 10 a.m. to noon June 13. The broadcasts are being sponsored by The Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope (, run by Deacon Walter and Kathleen Doyle.
Mr. Kaufman said the ordinations to the priesthood and the permanent diaconate are also being webcast on the day after they happen, and will remain on the website for two months. This will enable people who do not live locally, including family members abroad, to watch them.