Three ordained transitional deacons Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jun. 13, 2019 -- 12:00 AM

diaconate ordination
Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, second from left, stands with Transitional Deacons Vincent Racanelli, Cristian Valenzuela, and Michael Johnson who were ordained for the Diocese of Madison on May 24 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Monona. To view or purchase photos, go to www.madisoncatholicherald.smug mug.com (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MONONA -- “Michael, Vincent, and Cristian, you are here before this altar to receive the Sacrament of Ordination to the diaconate. I would ask that you contemplate three questions. First, remember who it was that called you. Second, why you were called. And, third, always remember where you came from,” said Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee.

Archbishop Listecki was the main celebrant at the ordination Mass for Deacons Michael Johnson, Vincent Racanelli, and Cristian Valenzuela to the transitional diaconate for the Diocese of Madison.

The Mass was celebrated on May 24 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Monona.

‘Gifts’ to the Church

Msgr. James Bartylla, diocesan administrator, opened the Mass by thanking Archbishop Listecki for again helping the diocese, which he has on a number of occasions since the death of Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison last November.

Monsignor Bartylla told Archbishop Listecki that the diocese has three “gifts” for him, three men to be ordained to the transitional diaconate, including Johnson, who attends St. Francis de Sales Seminary in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Monsignor Bartylla also acknowledged that Bishop-designate Donald J. Hying, originally from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, will be installed as the fifth bishop of Madison on June 25.

Archbishop Listecki then thanked Monsignor Bartylla for his “care for this diocese” over the past few months as administrator.

Prior to Archbishop Listecki’s homily, the three candidates for the diaconate were presented to the archbishop and said to be “worthy” for the Sacrament of Holy Orders to the diaconate.

During his homily, the archbishop reminded the men that “your ordination is not your own personal affirmation” and they should “be open to the mystery and let the Holy Spirit challenge your ordained life; believe me it will enrich everything you do.”

Ordination rites

Following the homily, Deacons Johnson, Racanelli, and Valenzuela 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 archbishop separately, promising respect and obedience to their ordinary 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 archbishop 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.

Deacon Johnson was vested by Fr. Richard Rhinehart, priest of the Diocese of Superior and graduate of St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee; Deacon Racanelli was vested by Fr. Jared Holzhuter from St. Joseph Parish in Baraboo; and Deacon Valenzuela was vested by Fr. Faustino Ruiz, a priest of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest and incardinated into the Diocese of Madison.

All three men then knelt before the archbishop 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.”

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

Family members of the newly ordained deacons assisted in the Presentation of the Gifts, bringing the bread and wine to the archbishop.

The new deacons

Deacon Johnson is the son of Eileen and David Johnson of St. John the Baptist Parish in Waunakee.

He is a third year theology student at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee.

His parish deacon summer assignment is at St. John Vianney Parish in Janesville.

Deacon Racanelli is the son of Claire and Gino Racanelli of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Jefferson.

He is a third year theology student at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.

His parish deacon summer assignment is at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison.

Deacon Valenzuela is the son of Verónica del Carmen Arenas Olivares and Carlos Allan Valenzuela Guzmán, members of Nuestra Señora de Montserrat Church in Puente Alto, Chile.

He belongs to the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, where he has received his seminarian formation.

He is set to be ordained to the priesthood in the Diocese of Madison, along with Deacons Steve Brunner and Bill Van Wagner, on June 28 at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison.

Later this year, Diocese of Madison seminarians Tim Mergen and Enan Zelinski will be ordained to the transitional diaconate at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on October 3.

Those two men, along with Deacons Johnson and Racanelli, hope to be ordained to the priesthood next year.