The people of the Diocese of Allentown rejoice today as Matthew Kuna was ordained a Transitional Deacon, during this Year of the Real Presence. This is the final step before his ordination to the Priesthood.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders was administered by Bishop Alfred Schlert at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown. It was limited to invited guests, but livestreamed and still available to view on the Diocese Facebook page and YouTube.
Kuna is the son of Anne and Mark Kuna and a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Allentown. He attended St. Thomas More School and graduated from Bethlehem Catholic High School.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education, with a concentration on Spanish and English as a Second Language, at Kutztown University, and prepared for the priesthood at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia.
After the Gospel he was presented to the Bishop, and his successors, and declared his intention to serve the Church and its People. Three promises were made: 1) To pray the Liturgy of the Hours, 2) Obedience to the bishop, and 3) Celibacy.
After giving his hands and his word to the Bishop, he lay prostrate on the floor as the Litany of the Saints was sung, asking their intercession on him. This symbolizes his unworthiness for the office to be assumed, and his dependence on God and the prayers of the community.
Laying on of Hands by the Bishop was an essential part of the ceremony. This invokes the Holy Spirit to come down upon him, and imprint on his soul a sacred character and set him apart for his ministry.
Deacon Philip Maas was selected to help with vesting. The deacon’s stole and dalmatic (overgarment) is the single most distinguishing and recognizable symbol of the office of deacon. It is used when the deacon exercises a liturgical or sacramental role.
As a Transitional Deacon he will spend the next year: proclaiming the Gospel, delivering the homily with permission, reading the prayers of the faithful, calling of the exchange of peace, the minister of the cup, the dismissal at the end of Mass. He will also have the faculties to baptize, officiate at simple nuptial ceremonies and conduct the rite of committal at the cemetery.
Bishop Schlert has appointed Deacon Kuna to serve as a Transitional Deacon at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena Parish, Allentown, effective May 25.
“Matthew, I want to thank you,” said Bishop Schlert in remarks at the end of Mass. “You have steadfastly answered God’s call. By His Grace and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit you are here today.”
He referenced a moment in the consecratory prayer when the Church says, “May there abound in him (Matthew) every Gospel virtue. Unstained love, concern for the sick and poor, unassuming authority, the purity of innocence and the observance of spiritual discipline.”
Bishop Schlert then said, “Matthew that’s work for a lifetime.”
“Today the whole Church in heaven and on earth is praying for you. As you have received the Holy Spirit, the first grade of ordination, and that the character on your soul might mark you forever – not only as a disciple of Jesus Christ – but one who will serve Him, God willing, one day as a priest of Jesus Christ.”
Bishop Schlert also highlighted the Year of the Real Presence, “the abiding presence of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, His Body, His Blood, His Soul and His Divinity.”
“We’re using this year as a springboard for us to reinvigorate the Eucharistic life of our Diocese, through of course participation at Holy Mass,” he said, “the properly prepared reception of Holy Communion, to the Sacrament of Penance, to Adoration, and by also in that time of Adoration begging our Lord to send more priests to the Diocese of Allentown.
Also highlighting the Year of St. Joseph in the Universal Church, he said, “We commend Matthew today to the fatherly care of St. Joseph, who is the protector of the Church, so that he might guard not only his vocation, but all of our vocations, no matter what God has called us to.”