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EIGHT NEW DEACONS ORDAINED FOR ARCHDIOCESE
Completed Four-Year Diaconate Formation Program at Mundelein Seminary

Chicago, IL (June 5, 2008) —Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, ordained eight laymen as permanent deacons on Sunday, May 25, at St. Cletus Parish, 600 W. 55th St., La Grange. The newly ordained deacons completed a four-year program at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake / Mundelein Seminary that included classes in Christology, Pastoral Theology and the Sacraments. They will immediately begin serving in their home parishes in Cook and Lake counties.

More than 90 percent of deacons are married with families, and most are also engaged in outside occupations. They are clergy, along with priests and bishops, and often serve as a bridge between laity and priests.

Deacons primarily participate in three ministries: the Ministry of the Word where they engage in the teaching mission of the Church; the Ministry of the Liturgy where their work includes performing baptisms and marriages, conducting funeral liturgies, presiding at wake services and assisting the priest at Mass by proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, leading Intercessions and preparing the altar; and the Ministry of Charity and Justice, where deacons care for the poor.

Deacon Bob Puhala, Director of the Deacon Formation Program at Mundelein Seminary, noted the important role wives play in discernment and formation. “While fully participating in the program’s offerings during the first year, they discern their compatibility with and support of their husband's diaconal vocation and ministry,” Puhala said. “As they continue to accompany their husbands on the journey, either fully or through key events, wives often grow and discover their own gifts, talents, and identity as lay ministers in the Church,” he continued. “Ultimately, the sacrifices wives make for their husbands’ participation in formation and ordained ministry are a great gift to the Church.”

The newly ordained deacons and their parish assignments are listed below.

  • Deacon Michael Barnish will be assigned to Sacred Heart Parish, 819 N. 16th Ave., in west-suburban Melrose Park. Mike (52) is an athletic trainer, and hopes to coordinate the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program and to possibly get involved in hospital ministry. His wife Donna earned her Certificate of Studies in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake during the Deacon Formation Program. Mike and Donna have two daughters.
  • Deacon Andrew Beierwaltes will be assigned to St. John Brebeuf Parish, 8307 N. Harlem Ave. in northwest suburban Niles. Andy (48) is a financial adviser, and plans on involving himself in the parish’s youth ministry and baptismal preparation programs. Andy and wife Maggie have four children.
  • Deacon David Bresemann will be assigned to St. Joseph Parish, 114 N. Lincoln Ave., in northwest suburban Round Lake. David (52) drives a truck and works as a warehouseman. David and wife Diana have two children.
  • Deacon David Kalina will be assigned to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, 1775 Grove St., in north suburban Glenview. David (61) is retired, and he and his wife look forward to coordinating the parish’s bereavement ministry. His wife Mary Beth earned a Certificate of Studies in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake during the Deacon Formation Program. David and Mary Beth have two children.
  • Deacon Stephen Rynkiewicz will be assigned to the Catholic community of Waukegan and North Chicago. Stephen (46) is an associate pharmacist with Abbott Laboratories, and his wife Lupe earned a Certificate of Studies in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake during the Deacon Formation Program. The couple would like to help with religious education and marriage preparation at the three northern Lake County parishes that make up the Catholic community of Waukegan and North Chicago: Holy Family and Immaculate Conception in Waukegan, and Queen of Peace Parish in North Chicago. Stephen and Lupe live in Winthrop Harbor and have three children.
  • Deacon Christopher Savage will be assigned to Prince of Peace Parish, 135 S. Milwaukee Ave. in north suburban Lake Villa. Chris (37) is an application analyst at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and is considering ministry in the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program. His wife Jenipher earned a Certificate of Studies in Pastoral Ministry from the University of Saint Mary of the Lake during the Deacon Formation Program. Chris and Jenipher have three children and live in Antioch.
  • Deacon John Schopp IV will be assigned to St. John of the Cross Parish, 5005 S. Wolf Rd. in west suburban Western Springs. John (46) owns a consulting firm and would like to minister to engaged couples and serve the homebound and hospitalized. John and wife Mary Ellen have two children.
  • Deacon Erik Zeimys will be assigned to Nativity of Our Lord Parish, 653 W. 37th St., in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood. Erik (35) works as a heavy equipment mechanic and hopes to stay involved in the parish’s baptismal preparation and adult faith formation programs. Erik and wife Patricia have one son.

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