Deacon William Van Wagner is ordained Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

van wagner deacon ordination
Transitional Deacon William Van Wagner, above, fourth from right, is seen after his ordination at St. Paul Catholic Student Center in Madison on December 7. Also pictured are, from left: Fr. Greg Ihm, vocations director; Transitional Deacon Austin Steffen; Abbot Marcel Rooney; Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee; Transitional Deacon Lawrence Oparaji; Transitional Deacon Steve Brunner; and Msgr. James Bartylla, diocesan administrator. To view or purchase photos, go to www.madison (Catholic Herald photos/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- During his homily, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee told Transitional Deacon William Van Wagner to ponder three things on the night of his ordination to the transitional diaconate.

They were, “Remember who it was that called you,” “why you were called,” and “always remember where you came from.”

Deacon Van Wagner’s ordination Mass took place on December 7, the Vigil of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, at St. Paul Catholic Student Center, near the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison.

Archbishop Listecki presided at the Mass in the place of Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison, who died last month.

Concelebrating with Archbishop Listecki were Msgr. James Bartylla, diocesan administrator; Fr. Greg Ihm, vocations director; Abbot Marcel Rooney, former abbot primate of the Benedictine Order, now residing in the Diocese of Madison, along with other priests of the diocese.

Transitional Deacon Austin Steffen served as Deacon of the Word. Transitional Deacons Steve Brunner and Lawrence Oparaji also assisted at the Mass.

Seminarians Enan Zelinski and Vincent Racanelli served as readers. Other diocesan seminarians and those discerning were Mass servers.

Fr. Scott Emerson served as the diocesan master of ceremonies.

The Saint Raphael Cathedral Choir, under the direction of Dr. Patrick Gorman, with Glenn Schuster as organist and Laura Zimmerman as cantor, provided the music.

Following God’s call

As Archbishop Listecki began his homily, he told Deacon Van Wagner, “It must seem strange for you, Bill, to be here, before this altar, receiving ordination. It was not long ago that you were grappling with the decision to follow God’s call.”

The archbishop added that, “No priest or bishop is ordained without first being ordained to the diaconate, because this is the foundation of all our works, that of service and charity.”

He emphasized the importance of gratitude and added that, “You can’t give what you don’t have. If you fail to live in gratitude, we fail to be thankful, then we will fail to help our brothers and sisters in experiencing God in their lives . . . I thank you, Bill, for proclaiming, today, your yes to serving the Church, instituted by Christ to lead us to salvation.”

Ordination rites

Following the homily, Deacon Van Wagner declared the promises of the elect to Archbishop Listecki, resolving 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, to conform his life as an example of Christ, and respect and obedience to his bishop and his successors.

This was followed by the Litany of Supplication, where Deacon Van Wagner lie prostrate symbolizing his unworthiness for the office and his dependence upon God and the prayers of the community.

The congregation sang a Litany of Saints during this time, led by Fr. Brian Dulli, pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Cottage Grove.

Following the litany, the archbishop placed his hands upon Deacon Van Wagner’s head in a blessing, followed by the Prayer of Consecration.

The new deacon was then vested in the stole and dalmatic. Deacon Van Wagner was vested by Fr. Garrett Kau, pastor of St. Jerome Parish in Columbus.

Deacon Van Wagner then knelt before the archbishop as he placed the Book of the Gospels in his hands and exhorted, “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you preach.”

Archbishop Listecki greeted Deacon Van Wagner with a sign of peace, followed by other deacons present doing the same, welcoming him to the Order of Deacons.

Following the rites, Peggy and Chris Van Wagner, parents of the new deacon, brought up the bread and wine to the archbishop before the consecration.

Deacon Van Wagner, along with Deacons Brunner, Oparaji, and Steffen, are scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood on Friday, June 28, 2019.


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