After ordaining the 25 new permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington on June 22 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Wuerl poses with the new deacons. In the front row, left to right, are Deacon Tom Molineaux, Deacon Alan Jeeves, Deacon Mauricio Rivas, Deacon Carlos Hernandez, Deacon Ted Dmuchowski, Deacon William Maksymiec, Deacon James Tittinger, and Deacon Patrick Brown. In the back row, left to right, are Deacon Robert Vince, Deacon Daniel Ford, Deacon Andy Geisz, Deacon Leo Schneider, Deacon Robert Seith, Deacon Edward McCormack, Deacon Moise DeVillier, Deacon Stephen O’Neill, Cardinal Wuerl, Deacon James Garcia, Deacon Eric Mueller, Deacon Joseph Mills, Deacon Robert Stout, Deacon Charles Bieberich, Deacon Paul Schmitt, Deacon Rafael Pagan, Deacon James Shanahan, and Deacon James Caldwell. (Archdiosece of Washington photo by Paul Fetters)
After ordaining the 25 new permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington on June 22 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Cardinal Wuerl poses with the new deacons. In the front row, left to right, are Deacon Tom Molineaux, Deacon Alan Jeeves, Deacon Mauricio Rivas, Deacon Carlos Hernandez, Deacon Ted Dmuchowski, Deacon William Maksymiec, Deacon James Tittinger, and Deacon Patrick Brown. In the back row, left to right, are Deacon Robert Vince, Deacon Daniel Ford, Deacon Andy Geisz, Deacon Leo Schneider, Deacon Robert Seith, Deacon Edward McCormack, Deacon Moise DeVillier, Deacon Stephen O’Neill, Cardinal Wuerl, Deacon James Garcia, Deacon Eric Mueller, Deacon Joseph Mills, Deacon Robert Stout, Deacon Charles Bieberich, Deacon Paul Schmitt, Deacon Rafael Pagan, Deacon James Shanahan, and Deacon James Caldwell. (Archdiosece of Washington photo by Paul Fetters)
In a ritual that can be traced back to the Apostles, Cardinal Donald Wuerl ordained 25 men to the permanent diaconate and during the June 22 ordination Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, he told the new deacons that they are configured to Christ the servant.

In keeping with his theme at the priestly ordination the week before, Wuerl also called the 25 new deacons of the Archdiocese of Washington to take up the call of the New Evangelization.

Pope Benedict said "we need to turn our attention to all those who have drifted away, who are no longer open to hearing the Gospel, (or) the love, the story of Jesus Christ," Cardinal Wuerl said. "This is what you're being called to in your diaconate."

The men about to be ordained as permanent deacons began the procession into Mass, followed by more than 60 priests and 90 deacons. The men sat with their families until they were called to the altar before the homily. During the homily, the cardinal recounted the creation of the office of the diaconate when the Apostles discovered the need to continue serving the poor while they spread the Gospel.

"The diaconate is a sacred response to the need of the infant Church to expand her ministry," Cardinal Wuerl said. "In the Church, there are always needs to be met."

The cardinal also highlighted how the ordination is taking place in a unique time in the Church's history, a few months after Pope Benedict's resignation, the first in 600 years, and election of Pope Francis, the first pontiff from the New World.

Also pointing to the witness of Blessed John Paul II, Cardinal Wuerl said "All three of these extraordinary examples ... (offer) an example to us of what ministry is all about."

Quoting Pope Francis's homily for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Cardinal Wuerl said the pope "called us to remember that the power that Jesus gave is the power to serve. Let us never forget, he said, that authentic power is service, which has its culmination in the Cross."

After the homily, the cardinal asked the ordinandi to make a series of promises, including resolving "with humble charity to assist the priestly order," to "maintain a spirit of prayer," including the practice of the Liturgy of the Hours and to conform themselves to the example of Christ to which they responded, "I do."

After the cardinal laid hands on the head of each man, praying that the Holy Spirit will fill them with wisdom and grace, the newly ordained deacons were vested with the stole and dalmatic, assisted by their wives who briefly accompanied their husbands on the altar.

The deacons then assisted throughout the remainder of the Mass, including administering the Eucharist, and Deacon James Garcia spoke the final prayer of the Mass. The deacons received their parish assignments immediately following Mass.

The call to service is something Deacon Garcia said he experienced firsthand and was instrumental in his discernment process. He said he first felt confirmed in his calling when, instead of attending their regularly scheduled class, all 24 of his fellow classmates went to his mother's Memorial Mass, something that he was not expecting.

"It's hard not to see that example of servitude and think, maybe there is something to this," Deacon Garcia said. "That's the sort of service that the Church ought to render, and does, through the ministry of the deacon."