Sheehan Ordains 61 Deacons in N.M.
Associated Press, carried in The Arizona Republic [Albuquerque NM]
July 14, 2003
ALBUQUERQUE - Continued scandals involving cases of priestly sexual abuse nationwide have failed to scare away candidates for the diaconate in New Mexico.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe ordained 61 deacons Saturday in Albuquerque, the largest deacon class nationwide this year.
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan said the deacons will "bring spiritual food to the people of New Mexico."
"People are really rooted here," said Jeffrey Thomas Toliver, one of the 61 candidates and a computer-support specialist for the state's general services administration. "They know what to hold on to. Even though challenged, our faith is strong."
Deacons may perform many of the same functions as a priest, except celebrate Mass, hear confessions and anoint the sick.
Deacons may be married but must be celibate if their wives die. Unmarried men must commit to living a celibate life after ordination.
Candidates spend a weekend each month for four years in spiritual and theological training, write monthly papers and meet regularly with their spiritual advisers.
The 2003 class started with nearly 90 men; a few died and others withdrew.
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