Diocese Welcomes Two New Transitional Deacons on Feast of the Assumption

Photo: (from left) Father Steven Zehler, director of vocations for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Rev. Mr. Michael Kieler, Bishop Felipe Estévez, and Rev. Mr. Michael Elias. (photo by Paul Luc Chokota)

In a time of fear and uncertainty, the vocation of many men in the Diocese of St. Augustine remains steady. Although they were supposed to be ordained at their respective seminaries earlier this year, Michael Kieler and Michael Elias were both ordained transitional deacons on Saturday, August 15, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.

Although the event was closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony was livestreamed. The video can be found at https://www.facebook.com/thefirstparish.

In his homily, Bishop Felipe Estévez explained what the journey would entail for the new transitional deacons.

“A baptized Christian called to become a deacon personifies the universal call to service in the manner of Christ to witness his presence and care,” he said.

A deacon has many exemplary qualities including perceptiveness, tender love for his neighbor, passion for the Gospel, concern for the needy, a strong prayer life, advocacy for the voiceless, and more.

“A family is not deprived of a son who gives his life for God’s service; this gift from on high greatly blesses a family,” said Bishop Estévez. “At times, these blessings are intangible and invisible because, by their nature, they deal in the world of grace. An immense fruitfulness follows a good servant of the Lord, including the life of the family in multiple ways.”

He explained the significance of the ordination of these two men falling on the Assumption of Mary, as her Magnificat will forever be central to their lives. He concluded with a quote from St. John Paul II: “Let our lives be a Magnificat for God!”

Rev. Mr. Michael Kieler, Theological College, Rev. Mr. Michael Elias, Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, and Rev. Mr. Mac Hill, who was ordained a transitional deacon at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in April, will finish up their studies at their respective seminaries before they are ordained priests of the diocese on May 15, 2021.

Photos by Paul Luc Chokota