By Franz Klein
VATICAN CITY (Catholic Times) – In an Oct. 4 ceremony at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica that was attended by hundreds of priests and thousands of lay faithful, Archbishop John P. Foley ordained 21 fourth-year students from the Pontifical North American College to the transitional diaconate. Among them was Justin Kizewski of the Diocese of La Crosse.
Observing that the multitude of people present made the ordination seem “almost more like a beatification,” the former head of the Vatican’s Communications Council said, “Let’s pray that these young men can live up to that challenge.”
Archbishop Foley used his homily to further explicate that challenge. Calling to mind the Gospel reading, where Jesus commanded His disciples to “love one another as I have loved you,” he said Jesus’ “love is an infinite love” that would flow from their diaconal service if they depend on the Lord.
“’What can I do for you?’ – This could be the daily prayer of a deacon,” the archbishop added.
Archbishop Foley also dwelt on the future priests’ promise of celibacy. Calling to mind Pope Paul VI’s encyclical “Sacerdotis Coelibatus,” he said their continence would allow them “to imitate Christ as closely as possible” through a total self-giving.
As deacons, Archbishop Foley said their self-giving would be “of a humbler kind.” He noted that they chose to be ordained on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, whom he called “one of the Church’s most famous deacons.” “It is recorded in the Fioretti that St. Francis served his brothers and lepers. He did this because he saw in them the image of Christ,” the archbishop said.
Vesting Deacon Kizewski was Father Joseph Carola, SJ, a professor at the Gregorian University in Rome. Father Carola also celebrated Deacon Kizewski’s Mass of Thanksgiving Oct. 5 at Chiesa Nuova, over the relics of St. Philip Neri, where the newly ordained deacon preached for the first time.
The son of James and Brenda Kizewski of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Nekoosa, Deacon Kizewski is a 1999 graduate of Assumption High School in Wisconsin Rapids. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in philosophy from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Last spring he completed his bachelor’s in theology at the Angelicum University in Rome, where he will also begin advanced studies in dogmatic theology later this month.
God willing, Deacon Kizewski will be ordained to the priesthood in La Crosse on June 28, 2008, together with Deacons James Altman and Keith Kitzhaber.