WILMINGTON — With family and friends looking on in person at the Cathedral of St. Peter, and others watching live online, Brennan Ferris took the last step toward the priesthood when he was ordained a transitional deacon on May 14.
Bishop Malooly, now the apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Wilmington, noted during the Mass that Deacon Ferris was one of the first youngsters he confirmed when he arrived in 2008. Deacon Ferris is on track to be ordained to the priesthood in 2022.
After the homily, Bishop Malooly called Deacon Ferris to the altar, where the seminarian knelt and placed his hands in the bishop’s. He promised to be respectful and obedient to Bishop Malooly and his successors. Deacon Ferris then lay prostrate in front of the altar with his back to the congregation, and those in attendance sung a litany of the saints.
“Lord God, mercifully hear our prayers and graciously accompany with your help what we undertake by virtue of our office. Sanctify by your blessing this man we present, for in our judgment we believe him worthy to exercise sacred mysteries, through Christ, our Lord,” Bishop Malooly said.
The bishop placed his hands on the head of Ferris, who knelt once again. After he was vested, Deacon Ferris received the Gospel from the bishop. He then prepared the altar for the consecration of the Eucharist, and he gave Communion to his parents and other family members.
In his homily, Bishop Malooly recognized some of the people responsible for bringing Deacon Ferris to this point. He started with his parents, Walter and Elizabeth, and noted that Walter Ferris will become a permanent deacon for the diocese in August.
“You’re going to give us two of your three men for church service,” Bishop Malooly said. He also noted the presence of Deacon Ferris’ siblings, including his brother, Greg.
“I always thought Greg would be the first one when I came here 13 years ago. I had him targeted, and somehow he escaped,” he joked.
He also mentioned the community at St. Elizabeth Parish in Wilmington. The priests in attendance included the current pastor, Father Norman Carroll, who is also the diocesan director of vocations; former pastor Father Charles Dillingham; and former associate pastors Fathers Anthony Giamello and Brian Lewis.
The bishop talked about the two readings and the Gospel chosen by Ferris for the Mass and noted that the first reading, from Jeremiah, was one he selected for his episcopal ordination in the Archdiocese of Baltimore 20 years ago.
Deacon Ferris chose that one, according to a reflection he provided to Bishop Malooly “because the vocation is not an afterthought,” the bishop said. “The vocation that you have is not an afterthought. It’s part of God’s plan. Not easy. We hear what St. Pope John Paul II said so often and was so helpful in his life: Be not afraid. Be not afraid.”
The second reading, from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, talks about how Paul was chosen by God to spread the good news to the Gentiles. The Gospel, from John, comes from the Last Supper. If you love the Lord, Bishop Malooly said, you can’t help but do what is good.
“And the good will continue to reinforce the love of the Lord because he is love,” he said.
Bishop Malooly thanked Father Carroll, saying that after five years without an ordination, the diocese is on track to have at least one each year for the forseeable future.
The bishop wished Deacon Ferris well as his journey continues. “I hope you have a great year as a deacon and continue to move on to priesthood. That won’t be my call. It’ll just be my suggestion.”
Finally, Deacon Ferris turned toward the congregation. “Go announce the Gospel of the Lord.”
All photos by Don Blake.