Fri, May 17th 2019 04:00 pm
Bishop Richard J. Malone will ordain six men as deacons on Saturday, May 25, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Cathedral, 50 Franklin St., Buffalo. Four of the men will serve as permanent deacons in the Church and the other two will continue their studies for the priesthood.
The four men who will become permanent deacons are Michael J. Colson, Joseph F. Gray, Jeremy L. Hodson and Matthew R. Wenke. Following their ordinations, each will receive a ministry of charity assignment, often at a hospital or nursing home, and a parish ministry assignment. They will be able to officiate at weddings, baptisms, funerals and wakes, as well as preach and distribute Holy Communion.
Colson, an Amherst resident who belongs to the Newman Center at the State University of New York at Buffalo, holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and economics, and a master's degree in business administration. A married father of four, Colson said he felt a call to serve people and God all of his life. He decided to become a permanent deacon when he "could no longer not listen to it." The Canisius College graduate is the chief executive officer of LabMDis Inc., in Buffalo.
Gray grew up with nine siblings. He earned degrees in engineering and business management from SUNY at Buffalo - Millard Fillmore Division and Houghton College, respectively. The father of four and his wife are members of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Hamburg. A project manager for Integer Holdings, Gray said, "Falling in love with the liturgy was the first step in the path towards ordination. I had always looked for what I could get out of Mass, but it was when someone asked of me, 'What are you bringing to Mass?' that got me out of my comfort zone to take Mass seriously."
Born in Kansas, but raised in Williamsville, Hodson and his wife are members of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Williamsville; they are parents to three daughters. He joined the Catholic faith about 20 years ago and, as he became involved with various ministries, people had suggested he consider the diaconate. "At first," he said, "the idea didn't seem right to me but over time, little by little, with some prodding by the Holy Spirit, I felt a calling that led me to investigate what being a deacon was all about." Hodson, who earned a bachelor's degree from SUNY at Buffalo, is retired from the wireless phone industry.
A mental health clinician/psychotherapist and social worker for almost 30 years, Wenke is a native of Olean. He attended Olean Business Institute where he earned an associate's degree in business management and went on to study at St. Bonaventure University, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and SUNY at Buffalo, from which he earned degrees in psychology and social work. He retired in 2017 after serving at Catholic Charities as district director for Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. At his parish, St. John, Olean, he has served as a Eucharistic minister and lector. He and his wife have six children including Brother Emmanuel Wenke, OFM Conv., and Sister Frances Marie of the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, OP.
The two seminarians who will be ordained transitional deacons, Denning Achidi and Christopher Emminger, will serve in a parish following their ordination and complete their studies at Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora. They are scheduled to graduate in May 2020 and be ordained in June 2020.
Achidi, who came to the Diocese of Buffalo from Cameroon via Washington, D.C., is one of four boys; he was raised Presbyterian but became Catholic when he was about 11. "I was just so fascinated with Catholic aspects of prayers, especially the rosary," he said of his desire to become Catholic. His mother and maternal grandmother, who inspired him, were the only ones in the family who were Catholic. Achidi initially began his formation process with the Oblates, a religious order, which is what brought him to Buffalo. After about a year, he decided that being a diocesan priest was the right path for him and he entered Christ the King Seminary.
Emminger, who was raised in the Ken-Ton area with his brother and sister, graduated from St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute, Kenmore, and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College. He worked for the Town of Tonawanda after receiving his degree. Some alone time on the job gave him the opportunity to think about "... what I am really called to do with my life." He recalled how his father first brought up the idea of priesthood to him in 2010 after promptings from his mother.