By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published May 27, 2022
ATLANTA—On May 21, two men were encouraged to build a “friendship with Christ” as they began a new ministry and completed a milestone on their journeys toward the priesthood.
Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., ordained Evan Glowzinski and Matthew Howard as transitional deacons for the Archdiocese of Atlanta at the Cathedral of Christ the King.
Some 6,000 viewers watched online as the men were presented to the archbishop, prostrated in front of the altar and put on their vestments for the first time.
Concelebrants for the Mass were Bishop Joel M. Konzen, SM, and Bishop Bernard E. Shlesinger III, along with Father Rey Pineda, director of vocations; Father Gerardo Ceballos Gonzalez, associate director of vocations, Msgr. Francis McNamee, rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King and priests from the Atlanta Archdiocese.
A vocation is something God wants and has been implanted inside of a person, Archbishop Hartmayer said in his homily.
“That grain that has been implanted in us by God himself continues to germinate, continues to grow and strengthen and bear fruit—fruit that is not shared only by ourselves, but by those who need it the most,” said the archbishop.
As ministers of Christ, the new deacons are called to lives of service, he said.
“The way you reach out to the poor and needy in works and charity will now become your lifestyle,” said Archbishop Hartmayer. “No act of service in the parish is beneath your dignity. No need in the church is outside the sphere of your sacramental service. Christ wills to continue his role of servanthood in you.”
In this life of service, prayer is a necessity, the archbishop explained.
“Through your prayer, you will deepen this relationship that will sustain and strengthen you. Consecrate yourself to him in times of struggle, seek refuge in him,” he said. “Such a commitment will require sacrifice and perseverance.”
“You are being ordained transitional deacons,” said Archbishop Hartmayer. “But know well, that there is nothing transitional about the humble, self-forgetting service to which you commit yourself today that must permanently characterize the rest of your lives.”
A compassionate heart
Howard, 31, grew up attending St. James the Apostle Church in McDonough. He was solidified in his decision to become a priest while a college student, when he shadowed Father Rafael Carballo, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Rome, as he made hospital visits to those in need.
In addition, “I have met good permanent deacons through my seminary journey,” said Howard. “Their example and friendship have been a deep joy to me as a seminarian and will undoubtedly be a source of inspiration for my own ministry as deacon.”
Howard’s first assignment after ordination will be at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Sandy Springs.
Diane Scarbrough met Howard and his family nearly 20 years ago at St. James the Apostle Church. She is the music director of the McDonough parish and helps with summer Vacation Bible School, where Howard was an aide.
Howard’s love for God and the Eucharist will make him a good priest, said Scarbrough.
“He’s very compassionate towards people. He has a very kind and loving heart. He’s very unselfish. He puts other people first,” she said.
Scarbrough hopes the Holy Spirit will continue to lead and guide Howard in his new role as deacon.
“I hope he’s going to be as on fire for Jesus … at the end of the year, going into his ordination into the priesthood, as he is today,” she said.
From youth ministry to priesthood
Jaime Roberts first met Glowzinski in 2010 at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Woodstock. Roberts worked as the youth ministry assistant, and Glowzinski was a college student on the core team for the parish’s Life Teen program. They have remained close friends over the years, and work together on The Mobile Mission, a young adult team that provides retreats for youth.
“Evan has shown great perseverance throughout his formation time as a seminarian and has grown tremendously from the 18-year-old kid I once knew,” said Roberts, who considers Glowzinski a brother and friend.
“He is firm in his Catholic faith and does not shy away from speaking the truth. And his exceptional interpersonal skills enable him to do so in a loving and pastoral way, which will serve him well while leading others to Christ.”
Glowzinski, 30, grew up worshiping at the Woodstock parish. He first heard a call to the priesthood in high school at a Steubenville Atlanta Conference. But it was when he heard it again as a freshman student at Kennesaw State University that he decided to answer “yes” to God.
“It was the call to bring into the world the thing that changed my life,” he said.
Glowzinski is assigned to St. Michael Church in Gainesville. He looks forward to preaching and baptizing in his role as transitional deacon.
Roberts hopes Glowzinski will grow in the ways God calls him.
“I hope he finds a renewed joy in his vocation and that he knows the love, prayers and support of his home parish and our archdiocese as a whole,” she said.
For those considering priesthood or religious life, Glowzinski encourages men to “be not afraid.”
“There are great things that can happen when we have the courage to respond,” he said.