On the morning of February 15, 2014, family, friends, and the seminary community met at the Holy Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to accompany candidates David Michael Kruse, Kyle Gabriel Ratuiste, and Curtis James Seidel. Theological College’s Rector, Reverend Philip Brown, S.S., presented these worthy seminarians to Bishop Cupich of Spokane, WA, who presided over the Mass and the solemn rite.Traditionally, candidates for the diaconate would return to their home dioceses for this important step on their paths to priesthood, but for this group from Spokane, the Bishop and others made the journey from the West Coast to participate in this beautiful occasion at the Shrine. This element of unity—including with the community and family—was highly evident in the ceremony witnessed by a congregation of 150 guests from near and far, by the vesting of the candidates by priests from their home state, by the bearing of gifts by the Kruse/Jennings family, and by the profound musical meditations of TC’s own Schola Cantorum singers and brass quintet who assisted the Liturgy under the direction of Dr. Gerald Muller.

Bishop Cupich, recalling his own diaconate ordination 40 years ago, shared his certainty in assuring the new deacons: “Jesus chooses those who will be set apart for service…and He fulfills.” In presenting the aspects of their calling to be shepherds, he also underscored the characteristic that was evident from the start of the day’s events: “The shepherd unifies.” In celebration of this harmony, guests were invited to a sumptuous reception, replete with the artistic presentations of sugar sculptures and lovely floral arrangements (created by the seminarians themselves). While the ordination of these men to the diaconate was the central event of the day, the bounty of wonderful food and joyful company was also fortifying to all. On the occasion of this milestone event, let us join in the Bishop’s prayer from the Liturgy for David, Kyle, and Curtis: “What they receive by Divine commission, may they fulfill by Divine intervention.”