Bishop ordains transitional Deacons Peter Lee and Grant Thies Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017 -- 12:00 AM
Transitional Deacons Grant Thies, left, and Peter Lee, right, stand with Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, center, following their ordination Mass on April 18 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Monona. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MONONA -- The spirituality and sights of the Easter season were still present at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Monona as two men -- Peter Lee and Grant Thies -- were ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Robert C. Morlino on April 18.

Bishop Morlino welcomed those in attendance to “the beautiful rite of ordination for Grant and for Peter,” especially their families, thanking them for “that wonderful gift you have given the Church in these two great young men.”

Concelebrating the Mass with the bishop were Msgr. James Bartylla, vicar general for the Diocese of Madison; Fr. Chad Droessler, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish; along with vesting ministers for the newly ordained: for Deacon Lee, Fr. Miguel Galvez, pastor of Queen of All Saints Parish in Fennimore, Castle Rock, and Mt. Hope, and for Deacon Thies, Msgr. Kevin Holmes, rector of the Cathedral Parish in Madison.

Transitional Deacon Jared Holzhuter served as Deacon of the Word with Karen Paschke and Chris Schmelzer as readers. The Madison Diocesan Choir, under the direction of Patrick Gorman, provided music.

Also in attendance were the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard Assembly 1200 Madison and the Knights and Ladies of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

Presentation of candidates

Following the Gospel, soon-to-be Deacons Lee and Thies announced themselves as “present” when called and were presented to the bishop by Fr. Thomas Margevicius from St. Paul Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., where Deacon Thies is in his fifth year of study. Father Margevicius testified the men were found worthy to be ordained as deacons.

“Relying on the help of the Lord God, our savior, Jesus Christ,” prayed Bishop Morlino, “we choose these, our brothers, Grant and Peter, for the order of the diaconate.”

In his homily, the bishop said, “It’s a wonderful day when we come to the point where I can call you both my sons in the deepest sense, my sons through Holy Orders.”

He also pointed out to them they would soon be making “very serious promises of obedience and of celibacy.” “Both of those are gifts from the Lord,” Bishop Morlino said, “to make you more available to the Lord and to his people.”

He said, “When you offer your whole life this way, when you set aside your own will because you want to be totally available to the will of God, and when you decide that you belong to Christ, body and soul, and to no one else, through the promise of celibacy, you create in your own heart an empty space, which you then invite Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, his mother, to fill.”

Bishop Morlino added that their “availability” from obedience and celibacy would be for service -- not just for doing Works of Mercy for others, but “the service of helping human beings along the road of following their conscience . . . every human heart has a hunch that God exists.”

He advised them, “You’ve got to be an exceptional person of prayer . . . your own radar has to be clearly locked on Jesus, so that you can help guide others.” He called it “very sacred service” and “a glorious life, a beautiful kind of service.”

“Go to it,” Bishop Morlino told them.

Rites of ordination

Following the homily, the two men participated in the Promise of the Elect where they declared their intention to undertake the office of deacon. They resolved to be consecrated for the Church’s ministry, to discharge the office of deacon with humble charity, to proclaim faith in word and deed, to live celibately, and to conform their lives as an example of Christ.

They approached the bishop separately promising respect and obedience to him and his successors.

The next rite was the Litany of Supplication, where the men lie prostrate symbolizing their unworthiness for the office and their dependence upon God and the prayers of the community. The congregation sang a Litany of Saints during this time.

Following the Litany, the bishop placed his hands upon the men’s heads in a blessing, followed by the Prayer of Consecration. The new deacons were then vested in the stole and dalmatic, followed by kneeling before the bishop as he placed the Book of the Gospels in their hands and exhorted, “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you preach.”

Bishop Morlino greeted them both with a sign of peace, followed by other deacons present doing the same, welcoming them to the Order of Deacons.

The new deacons

Deacon Lee is the son of Nancy and John Lee from Hartford, Wis. Deacon Thies is the son of Kathy and David Thies from Elkhorn, Wis.

Deacon Lee is in his third year of theological studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, while Deacon Thies is in his third year of theological studies at St. Paul Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

They both hope to be ordained to the priesthood next year.

Seminarian Drew Olson is scheduled to be ordained to the transitional diaconate later this year in Rome and is set to be ordained to the priesthood with Deacon Lee and Deacon Thies.

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