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Three Legionary Deacons Ordained in Indiana

On Saturday, July 27, 2019, three Legionaries of Christ were ordained to the diaconate in Michigan City, Indiana.

Bishop Donald Joseph Hying ordained Deacons Kramer Cameron, Kevin Gills, and Christopher Gronotte, LC, in Notre Dame Parish during an 11am Mass. 47 Legionaries of Christ priests concelebrated the Mass of ordination. Along with the young men from Bishop Hying was the bishop of Gary, the diocese in which the ordination happened and which SHAS is part of, but he was recently transferred to Madison, WI.

These deacons are among the 30 Legionary Deacons being ordained in 2019. Here are the stories of how the three deacons got to this point.

Deacon Kramer Cameron, LC

Deacon Kramer Cameron was born in the small town of Mabou, Nova Scotia, Canada and his family now lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has four living sisters and a brother who died a few months after he was born. Deacon Kramer spoke of his family, “My family is a real gift and though we are all over the world, we are really close. When God gives us the opportunity to be together, it’s always a little taste of Heaven on earth.”

Deacon Kramer entered the apostolic school at 13. He described his personal experience, “When I prayed about it, read the Scriptures, talked to Jesus in the Eucharist, went to the summer program in New Hampshire… God made it clear to me that he actually was inviting me to live my short life… to help everyone get to Heaven, as a priest.”

He realized that his life was short compared to eternity, and he felt that God was calling him to live it helping others realize that God loves them and get them to heaven.

Deacon Kramer mentioned how the unexpected death of Br. Anthony Freeman, LC, last year touched him, “It’s a reminder that we’re not just preparing to love Jesus or be apostles – we already are and it’s awesome. God can take us to Heaven whenever he wants, because we are already all his.”

Speaking about what the priesthood meant to him, Deacon Kramer said, “For me, my calling to the priesthood is simple: I’m just following Jesus. I’m primarily a disciple, I try to trust God and allow God to love me. I feel called to love him and all people with his heart and mercy, bringing others the greatest gift, his love.”

Regarding the diaconate itself, Deacon Kramer spoke about how he is working in Florence at the English-speaking parish in Florence, Italy called Santi Apostoli (Holy Apostles). As he is the sole native English speaker in the Legionary community there, he foresees a lot of opportunities to help with the sacraments and form apostles.

Deacon Kevin Gillis, LC

Deacon Kevin Gillis was really influenced by a book about Padre Pio that his mom gave him at 13. He was struck that Jesus did it all for him. He saw the need of souls to have real friendship with Christ like he had found. At 16, he visited the apostolic school and was impressed by the others there. He joined the apostolic school for a year and left for two years before returning for the novitiate at 19. He working in the San Jose area as a brother: working behind the scenes and offering Catholic formation at Canyon Heights Academy.

When asked about his ordination, Deacon Kevin said “[Diaconate ordination] means talking a step closer to the altar, taking on a greater call to holiness, and a greater opportunity to serve God’s people.”

Deacon Christopher Gronotte, LC

Deacon Christopher was born and raised near Cincinnati in Fort Mitchel, Kentucky. He grew up in Regnum Christi with an older brother (Fr. Andrew Gronotte, LC) and a younger sister. His dad passed away unexpectedly in 2017. Deacon Christopher describes how he started out in the apostolic school in seventh grade: “When I first went to the apostolic school, I wasn’t thinking of being a priest, I just wanted to attend that school for boys up in New Hampshire and to be with my older brother.” He continued speaking about how his call was gradual, “Little by little, through spiritual direction and lots of time in prayer, I realized that I was really happy here in the Legion and that this is where God wants me.”

Deacon Christopher also described the contemplative and evangelizing spirit he lived in the seminary, “We wake up early to pray and fill the spiritual tank that will keep us running, to fill our candles with oil so our lamps don’t burn out. We have classes in the morning and study in the afternoon, a very regular lifestyle that allows for a certain healthy rhythm. There are many opportunities for time together with the other brothers and time with the Lord in adoration throughout the day.”

Please keep these deacons in your prayers as they prepare for priestly ordination which will take place in Rome on May 2, 2020.

 

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Deacons Share Their Experience

In recent weeks, a number of Legionaries have been ordained deacons. Some Regnum Christi members are also deacons. Two of these deacons share what it means to be a deacon.

Legionary Deacons

Patrick O’Loughlin, LC, is one of 10 Legionaries recently ordained to the transitional diaconate in the United States. He was ordained on May 19th in Syracuse, along with fellow Legionaries Nathan Wayne and Eric Gilhooly, as well as his own father, Terrance O’Loughlin,  one of several men ordained to the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Syracuse. (Another member of the family, Patrick’s brother Benjamin O’Loughlin, LC,  has already been ordained a priest).

On July 7 in Houston, several more Legionaries were ordained to the transitional diaconate: Deacons John Studer, Christopher Vogel, Samuel Tan, Nathan Torrey , Jerek Scherber, Jared Loehr and Justin Prigge, all Legionaries of Christ.

Speaking to us from Rome, where he returned after his ordination, Deacon Patrick O’Loughlin, LC, described his experience of the ordination ceremony. During the Liturgy of the Word, he says, “I looked up and saw, right across from me in the side aisle of the Cathedral, there was a statute of St. Joseph with the words, ‘Give me your heart’ above it. That meant a lot because Joseph has been one of the saints who has most accompanied me.” The two most powerful moments of the ceremony were the moment when the bishop laid hands on him and the ordination prayer as he knelt before the bishop.

It really strikes him when someone asks him to bless them or to read the Gospel at Mass. Although he often served as the master of ceremonies for Masses before his ordination, being a deacon is different. “Being there at service to the brothers has meant a lot,” he says.

Deacon Patrick appreciates the way the Church has renewed the spirit of the diaconate since Vatican II. It’s not simply a step to the priesthood but a distinct ministry of service. “In the ordination prayer, there is a real connection between the deacon and the Holy Spirit. In my preparation, I thought a lot about how, during this year as a deacon, I’m supposed to be close to the Holy Spirit and [to] detect when He’s asking me to do something, always along the lines of serving.”

Being sent out in ministry this July gives him a concrete opportunity to serve others. The Acts of the Apostles contains a number of examples of deacons serving the new Church, which are the model for his own diaconate, Deacon Patrick said.

Regnum Christi Deacons

Deacon Steve Nguyen of Kansas City, Kansas, is one of several Regnum Christi members who live out the joint vocation of being both Regnum Christi members and permanent deacons for their dioceses. One of two deacons at his parish in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, he also has a full-time job as an IT manager at the USDA.

Describing his first year as a deacon, Deacon Steve said, “Being a deacon has been such a blessing—to be the servant of Christ going out and ministering to people.” He described the spirituality of the diaconate as “understanding the servant heart of Christ.”

Deacon Steve feels that being a deacon lets him bring his of Regnum Christi formation to a whole new level. He told how once, while giving spiritual direction to a parishioner, he ended up just sharing the program of life he learned in Regnum Christi.

The diaconate also helps him in his life in Regnum Christi. “Being a deacon helped me open up to a different type of spirituality,” he explained. “Now I pray the Liturgy of the Hours [and] I bring that into my Regnum Christi prayer life. This has been enhancing to me in my interior growth.”

He sees both Regnum Christi and the diaconate as ministries of service to the Church, to the people, and to Christ.

Deacons Share Their Experience Read More »

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Alex Kucera

Atlanta

Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!