On Saturday, April 2, 2016, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge ordained James Magee III and Edison Urrego to the Transitional Diaconate in a Rite of Ordination of a Deacon. The Rite was celebrated at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Raleigh. Rev. Mr. Magee and Rev. Mr. Urrego are completing their Third Year Theology at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and are scheduled for ordination to the Priesthood in 2017.
While a parishioner at Holy Family Parish in Elizabeth City, NC, Deacon Magee studied at Pasquotank County High School and then Elizabeth City State University prior to joining the seminary. He also worked as a firefighter in Norfolk, VA, for two years and for three years at the YMCA in Elizabeth City.
Deacon Urrego was born in Medellin, Colombia and is the eighth of nine children. He attended Palm Beach Lakes High School in Palm Beach, FL prior to moving to North Carolina and later applying for college seminary with the Diocese of Raleigh. His home parish is Saint Ann’s in Clayton.
In reflecting on the call to the priesthood and his vocational journey, Deacon Urrego says, “It is a great gift from the Lord to receive his call.” For young men discerning the priesthood, he says, “it [discernment of the priesthood] needs to be cherish and nourished by going back to the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in humble thanksgiving.”
Turning to the two men to be ordained, Bishop Burbidge said, “James and Edisson, throughout the years and with the love and prayers of your parents and those who surround you today, you have cooperated with God’s abundant graces and are to be ordained a deacon and God-willing a priest next year.” He continued, “The Church and today’s Readings make it very clear what deacons do! You are to go forth in the name of Jesus and preach the Joy of the Gospel; you are to imitate the humble and sacrificial service of the One who washed the feet of his disciples especially through the compassion and care you extend to the poor, the sick, the lonely and those in need.”
Following the homily, each Candidate kneeled before the Bishop, placing his hands between those of the Bishop, and made a promise of obedience to the Bishop and his successors. That was followed by the Candidates prostrating themselves on the floor of the Cathedral as the Litany of Saints was sung.
The Rite continued with the Laying on of Hands and the Prayer of Ordination. Now ordained as Deacons, Deacons Magee and Urrego were invested with the stole and dalmatic, the vestments which signify a ministerial role in the Celebration of the Eucharist. The Deacons then knelt before the Bishop to receive the Book of Gospels.
Please continue to keep in prayer the 29 other seminarians who are in active formation and will, God willing, be ordained priests of the Diocese of Raleigh. Please keep Deacon John Kane, Deacon Tim Ahn, and Deacon Michael Schuetz in your prayers in a very special way, as they prepare for Ordination to the Priesthood on June 4, 2016.
Watch Bishop Burbidge's homily
Below is a transcript of Bishop Burbidge's homily at the Mass:
Ordination to the Diaconate
Sacred Heart Cathedral
April 2, 2016
Perhaps you have seen a series of advertisements on television that point to peoples’ situations in life and say: “If this is who you are, this is what you do.” I am not saying they are exactly true but they are humorous. For example, one ad has a young special agent fighting off his would-be attackers only to get a call at that very moment from his mother telling him that his father left the windows open and squirrels are all over the house. The commercial says : “If you are a mom, you call your children at the worst time.” That is what you do.” There are others: “If you are a couple, you fight over directions, that is what you do.” “If you are a fisherman, you tell tales. That is what you do.” (If they did a commercial on deacons, I am sure it would go something like this: “If you are deacon, you do everything your bishop tells you, that is what you do”)!
James and Edisson, throughout the years and with the love and prayers of your parents and those who surround you today, you have cooperated with God’s abundant graces and are to be ordained a deacon and God-willing a priest next year. The Church and today’s Readings make it very clear what deacons do! You are to go forth in the name of Jesus and preach the Joy of the Gospel; you are to imitate the humble and sacrificial service of the One who washed the feet of his disciples especially through the compassion and care you extend to the poor, the sick, the lonely and those in need. You are to live faithfully the promises of celibacy and obedience that you make today so that you freely and wholeheartedly give your entire life in service to the Lord and His people.
Having watched you over the years especially in your pastoral assignments, I know of your great zeal and many gifts and, thus, I am confident that like Peter and John, you will find it impossible not to speak about what you have heard and seen and, thus, will respond to the call of Jesus: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” However, you realize that it is only possible to do if you remember, most importantly, who you are.
You are God’s chosen ones, soon to be configured to Jesus Christ through the Imposition of Hands and the Prayer of Ordination. Like all of us, you are also sinners, ever dependent upon God’s divine mercy and love. Like the apostles in today’s First Reading you are “companions of Jesus” which will be reflected in your fervent prayer including the Liturgy of the Hours and the time you spend with him in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. You are also Mary’s beloved sons, so stay close to her so that you too can say daily: “Present, Here I am Lord...Let it be done to me according to your Word.”
James and Edisson, strengthened with the graces you receive today and filled with the Holy Spirit, go forth with great joy to do the ministry and the work the Lord and His Church entrust to you as deacons while always remembering who you are: companions and servants of the Risen Lord, the One who lives and reigns forever and ever.