By Tanya Connor
“My heart is just so full.”
Carolyn McLaughlin, of St. Bernadette Parish in Northborough, was sharing her feelings after the ordination of seven permanent deacons Saturday at St. Paul Cathedral.
They are Christopher R. Finan, 37; Bryan P. A. Lagimoniere, 65; David O. Lajoie, 58; Thomas E. Marshall, 61; Van X. Nguyen, 52; Paul J. Reuter, 51, and Thomas J. Varney, 60.
“They were all beaming,” Mrs. McLaughlin said. “You could see the aura around them. It filled the church. It brought me to tears. The Diocese of Worcester has been blessed.”
She said several deacons, a priest and a religious sister have come out of her parish in the last few years.
“You know who does it?” she asked. “She’s up there. Her blue mantle is spread over us. … It’s always through the Blessed Mother you get a vocation.”
Her fellow-parishioner Deacon Reuter, who she called her adopted son, said the day was “incredibly joyous” but he couldn’t find words to describe it. He said he would have fallen along the journey without others’ support, and added, “I can’t take any credit.”
Deacon Varney, also from St. Bernadette’s, had similar comments: “It was a wonderful, joyful experience. I want to thank everybody for their prayers.”
At the end of the Mass Bishop McManus asked the congregation to continue to pray for the deacons. He thanked their spouses and families for their sacrifices.
In his homily, he told the congregation the deacons will help him, exhort believers and unbelievers, administer sacraments, preside over prayer and do works of charity, so God’s people will recognize them as disciples of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve.
He told the deacons that they should be beyond reproach, never allow themselves to be turned away from hope, and express by their actions the Word of God they proclaim.
“Everything was so touching and so moving,” said Tara Marshall, wife of Deacon Marshall, speaking of feeling the Holy Spirit’s presence throughout the Mass. “I know it touched all the wives’ hearts. We’d been to other ordinations before, but when it’s your husband, it touched you more; you just felt the grace and love.” The couple’s home parishes are Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and Sacred Heart of Jesus in Gardner, but they now live in Rochdale.
Mrs. Marshall said her husband had commented on the feeling of camaraderie he experienced when the other deacons came up to welcome the new deacons joyfully into their ranks.
“When I look at them, I feel like I’m up there again,” said Deacon Peter Q. Nguyen, who was ordained a permanent deacon last year. “We need a lot of support and prayers from family and community.”
He said he and Deacon Quat V. Tran, who was ordained with him, and Deacon Van X. Nguyen, who was just ordained, are all members of the Christian Life Community of the United States, the national body of an international, pontifical association, which includes Vietnamese and people of other nationalities. Deacon Van Nguyen’s home parish is St. James in South Grafton.
Steven Fiedler, of Holy Family of Nazareth Parish in Leominster, said he and Deacon Lagimoniere, of Our Lady Immaculate Parish in Athol, are members of the St. Bernard Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order.
“Our whole fraternity has been praying for him and supporting him,” he said, adding that they knew him before he started the diaconate program. Now three of their members are deacons, he said; the others are Deacons Ronald J. Aubuchon and William M. Griffin.
“We need good, devoted men; David is very Spirit-filled,” David Dumais, of St. Anne Parish in North Oxford, said of his fellow-parishioner Deacon Lajoie. He said Deacon Lajoie will bring spirituality, knowledge and dedication to his ministry.
“I’m so grateful to God,” said Deacon Finan, whose home parish is St. Joseph’s in Auburn. “I pray that he continues to help me to be the face of Christ in the world. I’m very grateful that he’s brought us this far and he’ll continue to see us through.”