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2019 permanent deacon ordination class


This year's ordinands and their wives are: (top row) Mary and Alan Amaral, Philip and Heidi Anderson, and Betsy and Peter Bujwid; (middle row) Janice Vanessa and Wilfredo Dilan-Estrada, Kathleen and Ron Gerwatowski, and Bashan and Geeta Goppee; and (bottom row) Antonio and Lillian Perez, Matthew and Donna Porter, Claire Paras and Glenn Smith. Pilot photos/courtesy Deacon Timothy Donohue

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BOSTON -- Nine men will be ordained to the Order of Deacon by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Sept. 21.

The formation program for deacons is a four-year process of discernment, study and prayer, which includes two courses a semester and one Saturday meeting a month for additional training and prayer. The program requires two retreats a year, one with wives and one together with their class. The program offers the men the option to complete their master's degree in theology after ordination with a few additional courses through St. John's Seminary.

The Permanent Diaconate Program is open to men between the ages of 35 and 60, married or single, who are called to serve as ministers of the word, of the liturgy and of charity. There are over 240 men serving as permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Boston and over 19,000 deacons serving across the U.S. Most men are assigned to parishes and regularly assist at the liturgies in parishes, administer the sacraments of baptism and matrimony, and serve in administrative positions in the archdiocese. Men also serve as chaplains in hospitals and prisons, high schools and on college campuses. Permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Boston are given two assignments, one to a parish and a second assignment to a particular ministry within the archdiocese.

Following are this year's ordinands:

Alan Amaral and his wife Mary live in Middleboro and have five children: Bernadette, Joseph, Stephen, Mark and Amy. Their daughter, Bernadette, and her husband, Josh Benson, have a son, Caleb. Their son, Joseph, and his wife, Elizabeth, have two sons, Jacob and Jack. Mark Amaral has a daughter, Amy. Deacon Amaral will be assigned after ordination to the Cranberry Collaborative made up of Sacred Heart Parish in Middleboro and Sts. Martha and Mary Parish in Lakeville. His secondary assignment is to the Office of Diaconal Formation.

Philip Anderson and his wife Heidi have a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Isabel. Upon ordination, Deacon Anderson will join The Hingham Collaborative, which brought together the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Parish and St. Paul Parish, both in Hingham, and is assigned to the Social Justice Ministry in the Secretariat for Social Services and Health Care.

Peter Bujwid and his wife Betsy have three daughters, Elizabeth, Maria, and Martha. At ordination, Deacon Bujwid will be assigned to St. Agnes Parish and St. Camillus Parish, which make up the Arlington Collaborative. He will also be assigned to the Office of Diaconal Formation.

Wilfredo Dilan-Estrada is married to Janice Vanessa and they have three children, Wilfredo Jr., Alejandra, and Natalia, who is married to Ricardo Valdes and have one child, Ricardo. Deacon Dilan-Estrada will serve in his home parish, St. Stephen Parish in Framingham. His diocesan assignment is the Social Justice Ministry.

Ron Gerwatowski and his wife Kathleen have four children: Daniel, Maria, Claire and Danilo. Deacon Gerwatowski will be assigned to St. Mary Parish in Franklin and the Office of Ecumenical Affairs.

Bashan Goppee is married to Geeta and they have two children, Matthew and Evita. Evita is married to Michael St. Andre and are parents to Adira. Deacon Goppee will be assigned to Thomas More Parish in Braintree and the Pro-Life/Respect Life Office.

Antonio Perez and his wife, Lillian, have been married for 37 years. They have four grown children: Carmen Elena, Claudia, Dario Antonio, and Tatiana Marie Perez and have one grandson -- Giovanni Antonio Alfaro Perez. Deacon Perez is assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Roslindale and the Social Justice Ministry.

Matthew Porter and his wife Donna have two sons, Michael and Benjamin. Upon ordination, Deacon Porter will join the Hingham Collaborative, Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish, and St. Paul Parish. He is also assigned to the Metropolitan Tribunal.

Glenn Smith and his wife Claire Paras have been married for 33 years. Their three children are Anthony, Alexander and Rebecca. Deacon Smith is assigned to St. Michael Parish in Bedford and the Pro-Life/Respect Life Office.

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