Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

  • The six permanent diaconate ordination candidates and one transitional diaconate candidate kneel before the altar as Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., left, conducts the prayer of consecration. At the prayer’s conclusion, the men officially become permanent deacons. The Feb. 6 rite of ordination to the diaconate took place at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Dr. Henry Ohaya and his wife, Ihuoma, join others in the congregation in singing the processional hymn, Here I Am, Lord. Ohaya was one of seven deacon candidates ordained at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, on Feb. 6. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Deacon candidates (foreground to background) Carl Taylor, Chris Waken, Avery Daniel, Dr. Henry Ohaya, David Stenzel and Orlando Caicedo listen to Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer's homily during their diaconate ordination. John Campbell was the seventh candidate out of the camera's view. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • During the invitation to prayer, Dr. Henry Ohaya and five of his fellow permanent deacon ordination candidates lie prostrate in the center aisle at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. They were ordained with Avery Daniel, a transitional deacon candidate. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • During the invitation to prayer, 28-year-old Avery Daniel, a transitional deacon candidate, prostrates himself before altar at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. Daniel was ordained with six permanent deacon candidates. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., presents the Book of Gospels to Deacon David Stenzel. Deacon Stenzel is assigned to serve at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta. Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., left, shares some closing remarks of appreciation with the congregation and the new deacons. Six men were ordained to the permanent and one man was ordained a transitional deacon, Feb. 6, at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Transitional deacon Avery Daniel, right, extends the first blessing to his mother Phyllis. Daniel grew up in the parish community of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, Decatur. He is currently assigned at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell.  Photo By Michael Alexander
  • Out on the plaza at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, newly ordained permanent deacon Carl Taylor, left, extends a blessing to Father Joseph Shaute, his pastor from St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Church in Douglasville. Photo By Michael Alexander

The six permanent diaconate ordination candidates and one transitional diaconate candidate kneel before the altar as Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., left, conducts the prayer of consecration. At the prayer’s conclusion, the men officially become permanent deacons. The Feb. 6 rite of ordination to the diaconate took place at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. Photo By Michael Alexander


New deacons called to draw believers together

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published February 9, 2021

ATLANTA–Seven men were ordained Feb. 6 to serve the community in the Archdiocese of Atlanta as deacons.

Six of the men will serve in ministries as permanent deacons. One will serve as deacon as a transition to the priesthood in 2022.

Calling the candidates “dear sons,” Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., ordained the men with the ancient tradition of laying on of hands and praying over them.

In his homily, the archbishop said the ministry is as needed today as it was during the times of the Apostles, drawing believers together and serving people who live on the margins of society.

“The busyness of our society often propels us toward basic insensitivity and exclusion. This too often leads to our own adoption of a passive attitude, where people become simply problems,” he said. “Jesus will use your diaconal ministry to prevent the church from abandoning people because they are misunderstood by us, as problems that are too difficult for us to resolve, and so we walk away.”

The newly ordained put on the deacon’s stole for the first time. During the ordination, the men received a book of the Gospels from the archbishop with the instruction: “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”

Permanent deacon ordination candidate John Campbell, right, pledges his obedience to Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., and his successors. Campbell is assigned to serve at Good Shepherd Church, Cumming. Photo By Michael Alexander

The newly ordained are Deacon Orlando Caicedo Mora, to serve at Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta; Deacon John Campbell, to serve at Good Shepherd Church, Cumming; Deacon Henry Obilo Ohaya, to serve at St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro; Deacon David Stenzel, to serve at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Atlanta; Deacon Carl Antonius Taylor, to serve at St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, Douglasville, and Deacon Christopher George Waken, to serve at Mary Our Queen, Peachtree Corners. Rev. Mr. Avery Daniel, the transitional deacon, will serve at St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell.

Deacon Campbell returned to the church after a decade of exploring other Christian traditions. He said his family “saw God in many moments nudging us to come home.”

After a retreat for Christ Renews His Parish, Campbell said he sensed a call to the ministry. As he waited two years before entering the formation program, he spent his time leading and serving in the altar server ministry, and being an extraordinary minister of holy Communion during Mass.

The ordination included many special moments, including blessing his wife, Julie, he said.

Signs that the church cares 

Deacon David Stenzel found his vocation helping adults explore the faith and join the church.

“When accompanying others, you get to know their struggles and doubts, and can help them build a healthy, loving relationship with God,” he said.

He was drawn from social justice issues to “being a sign that we are a church that cares for all people,” he said.

During the ordination and especially prayer of the litany of the saints, the new deacon said his prayers were for his wife, Sharon, his son, Matt, and everyone who was part of his formation.

“It has been a very humbling experience,” said the new deacon.

The ordination at the Cathedral of Christ the King took place with the safety guidelines required in the pandemic, including masked attendees and physical distancing. The Mass was livestreamed.

After the litany of supplication, Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., lays hands upon permanent deacon ordination candidate Orlando Caicedo. Photo By Michael Alexander

Among the few people in the cathedral were family members of the men to be ordained.

Sharon Stenzel shared the joy of the day with her husband. When he shared the idea of pursuing the vocation, she said it was humbling and “was brought to prayer and conversation as a couple.”

Stenzel said her husband brings a spirit of leadership that draws people together.

“His focus is always reaching out to those on the margins and seeing them and taking action,” she said.

In the days following the ordination, she treasured “the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and community.”

Ihuoma Ohaya relished seeing her husband, Deacon Henry Obilo Ohaya, being ordained by the archbishop, the former pastor of their parish.

She said the then-Father Greg of St. Philip Benizi Church, inspired the couple to become active parishioners.

“It was him that fanned the flame of faith and service in us and made us feel welcome at our parish,” she said.

Her husband will serve others well in his ministry by his patience, compassion and caring for others, Ohaya said. The journey to ordination was several years long and it was encouraged by deacons and others in the community, she said.

Serving as deacons requires the men to walk alongside people viewed by some as undesirable, not treating them at an arm’s length, the archbishop said.

“You are to carry to those on the periphery of society the Father’s infinite and unconditional love. You are to become poor with the poor, you are to suffer with those who suffer. You are to enter into the hopelessness of the desperate, in order to convince them that nothing can ever come between us and the love of Jesus Christ.”

Believers also have their stories of faith and deacons help connect those experiences with the message of Jesus, said Archbishop Hartmayer.

“You are called to proclaim the Gospel and help people hear the story as their own. Use the particular gifts God has given you to connect life to faith, make their faith real in their everyday life because they exercise faith all the time, but they may not recognize it as faith, or an expression of faith,” he said.

Along with the archbishop, Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III, Deacon Dennis Dorner, the archdiocesan chancellor, and a small number of priests and deacons attended the Mass.


Learn more about each of the deacons in “Meet the deacons.”