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  • Writer's pictureCatholic Ministries Appeal

Six Men to Be Ordained Permanent Deacons by Bishop Barres for Ministry of Service

By John Woods

Even during the early days of the Covid pandemic, the six men about to be ordained as permanent deacons for the Diocese of Rockville Centre never wavered in their formation.

Bishop John O. Barres will ordain them at a Mass at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, in St. Agnes Cathedral.

The new deacons and their parishes are Deacon Paul K. Cavanagh, St. Christopher, Baldwin; Deacon Michael A. Hoonhout, St. John the Evangelist, Center Moriches; Deacon Cary M. Klivan, Maria Regina, Seaford; Deacon Douglas A. Moran, Our Lady of Ostrabrama, Cutchogue; Deacon Michael E. O’Brien, St. Hugh of Lincoln, Huntington Station; and Deacon James Totino, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lindenhurst.

Deacon Arthur A. Candido, director of deacon formation for the diocese, expressed admiration about the new deacons’ resolve. Beginning his position on June 1, 2019, meant he led the formation of this diaconal class “from Day 1” of their four-year journey to ordination.

“I’ve been with these men every step of the way…That’s personally very special,” said Deacon Candido, who marks the 16th anniversary of his own ordination May 19.

After the outset of the pandemic in March 2020, the formation of the men preparing for the permanent diaconate took place virtually for the remainder of the semester. By September, in-person classes resumed at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington. “We did not miss anything,” Deacon Candido said.

“I’m very proud of our program,” he said. “We were able to rise above that and provide the best formation experience possible.”

The formation, as Deacon Candido explained, encompasses academic work in addition to spiritual preparation including prayer, retreats and afternoons of reflection as well as pastoral formation outside the classroom.

The deacon noted that the diaconate is “a ministry of service” carried out to both the people of God and to those the deacons encounter in their daily lives, including for most their work in secular occupations.

Most deacons serving the diocese are married men with wives and children like the families of fellow parishioners. Wives of men in formation are invited to participate in retreat experiences, afternoons of reflection and other monthly programs with prayer, Mass and conference sessions and discussions.

Both holy orders and marriage are sacraments of commitment, Deacon Candido said. He is joined in the Office of Deacons by Deacon Lawrence Faulkenberry, director of deacon personnel.

“We really have a foot in both worlds,” Deacon Candido said. “That brings a different relational dimension in terms of how we serve people.”

The newly ordained deacons will assist at the altar and preach at Mass on assigned Sundays and feasts. They preside at baptisms, weddings, wakes and occasionally at graveside committals. Deacons also assist with baptismal and marriage intakes as assigned.

Following are biographical sketches of the men being ordained as permanent deacons:

Deacon Paul K. Cavanagh, 61, has been married for 30 years to his wife, Catherine. They have two daughters, ages 25 and 17, and one son, age 21. He holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a master’s in social work from Stony Brook University and is director of workforce development initiatives for Career and Employment Options Inc.

Deacon Cavanagh calls the diaconate “the natural progression of a life involved with and committed to the Catholic Church. Coming to the completion of my diaconate formation feels like the natural response to a lifelong calling. I had considered this vocation for many years, but life commitments had me put it off—a few years ago the clouds parted and…it was the right time to respond to the call.”

At St. Christopher, he has served as lector, and in Pre-Cana, Engaged Encounter, baptismal preparation, Pastoral Council and RCIA, and he has also served as Boy Scout Committee (chair); Knights of Columbus and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Following ordination, he anticipates continuing with baptismal preparation and RCIA and assisting with youth and adult faith formation.

Deacon Michael A. Hoonhout, 60, and his wife, Glee, married for 27 years, have three sons, 26, 24 and 22. He holds a Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston College and a bachelor’s in philosophy from St. John’s Seminary College. He is a professor of dogmatic theology at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Yonkers.

“What inspired me to pursue the diaconate is to use the gifts God has given me (the gift of teaching and theological learning) to promote the vocation of the laity to live holy lives in the midst of the world,” Deacon Hoonhout said. “As a servant of the Word, I hope to deepen adult faith formation; as a servant at the altar, I will foster greater active participation in the Mass and love for the Eucharist; and as a servant of charity, I will honor the presence of Christ in those who are in need.

At St. John the Evangelist and earlier at SS. Philip and James in St. James, he served as a lector, Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, parish school board member, men's forum leader, baptismal instructor, FOCCUS facilitator and was involved with RCIA. He has delivered theological and spiritual presentations.

Following ordination, he anticipates distributing Communion to the homebound, serving as Adult Faith Formation coordinator, assisting with Youth Faith Formation, providing baptismal instruction, training altar servers and working with the men's prayer group.

Deacon Cary M. Klivan, 57, has been married for 32 years to his wife, Pam, and they have three daughters, 31, 27 and 25. He holds a BBA from Baruch College, City University of New York, and is a CPA serving as manager of hedge fund administration operations for BBR Partners.

At Maria Regina, Deacon Cary, as he prefers to be known, has served as a lector, taught Confirmation candidates and did Pre-Cana marriage preparation. Following ordination, he anticipates continuing Pre-Cana and teaching RCIA classes, serving as ministry leader for greeters and ushers, and assisting altar server training.

He entered the Church in 2003 after a faith journey from his Jewish roots. One person he credits for encouraging his vocation to the diaconate is his friend, Deacon Michael Forrest.

“He and I have shared our faith journeys over these past decades,” Deacon Cary said. “He is a convert from the Baptist church…I owe a great deal to him for his guidance during my spiritual development. I remember attending his ordination four years ago. I had just entered formation. I made a comment to him how he is now my Deacon brother, but God willing, would eventually be my brother Deacon. We both smiled at that as we reminisced over the faith journeys we've shared.”

Deacon Douglas A. Moran, 64, and his wife, Mary Ann, who have been married for 28 years, are the parents of one daughter, 27, and three sons, 25, 23 and 11. He holds a BBA in finance from Hofstra University and serves as principal of Peconic Senior Care.

Deacon Moran had discerned a call to the priesthood that lasted from his early teens through college, before he met his wife. “Six years ago, a priest in our parish who had become a good friend of our family surprised me with the suggestion that I consider the diaconate,” he said. “I prayed on it and felt a call accompanied by a sense of peace to serve God in this way. This was the call that whispered to me for all these years.”

At Our Lady of Ostrabrama, he has served as a lector, Extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, coordinator of altar servers, and assisted with consolation ministry and homebound ministry. Following ordination, he anticipates serving as coordinator of altar servers and homebound ministry.

Deacon Michael E. O’Brien, 52, has been married for 24 years to his wife, Theresa, with whom he has two sons, 23 and 17, and two daughters, 22 and 18. His undergraduate years were spent at Georgetown University. He holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School and is an attorney with Seward & Kissel LLP.

At St. Hugh of Lincoln, he has served as lector and in ministry to the homebound and those in nursing homes. Following ordination, he anticipates continuing ministry to the homebound and nursing home residents and serving in baptismal, consolation and liturgical ministries.

“By my service as a deacon, I want to be an example of what it means to believe in, to live and to share the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ—and to never forget the always present love and mercy of God,” Deacon O’Brien said. “I hope my ministry may serve as an example for others to be involved in the life of my parish, and to see the parish as a community—one community within the worldwide Church—and what it means to love all our brothers and sisters in Christ as He loved them.”

Deacon James Totino, 52, and his wife of 13 years, Jacqueline, have one son. He holds a BBA Finance from Hofstra University and now works for Morgan Stanley as a portfolio specialist/investment officer.

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help, he has served as a lector and catechist and member of the parish council, Life Teen and Life in the Spirit prayer group, and he is also a Third Order Franciscan.

Deacon Totino credits he and his wife’s participation in parish life and a direct question from his pastor, Msgr. Joseph DeGrocco—along with much prayer and contemplation—with sparking his decision to pursue the diaconate.

“I would relate the diaconate program to a stained-glass window,” he explained. “At first glance, when considering the formation program that entails a great amount of time and sacrifice, it may not reveal much color when viewed from the outside. However, once on the inside, the elements of formation that include academic, spiritual, pastoral and humanistic pillars form a beautiful image that radiates the light and love of serving Christ. If you are hearing a call, continue to pursue it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide your path.”

As a deacon, he anticipates serving in baptismal preparation classes and ministry, Vigil Funeral services, Living the Eucharist Lenten retreats and as moderator for social media and administrator of FORMED.

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