WINTHROP — Bishop Robert Deeley plans to celebrate the Rite of Candidacy to the permanent diaconate for 11 men at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at St. Francis Xavier Church on 130 Route 133.

All are welcome to gather at the Mass.

The rite provides the candidates for the permanent diaconate in Maine with an opportunity to publicly express their intention to offer themselves in sacrifice to God by receiving ordination as a permanent deacon after their continued formation, according to a news release from Dave Guthro, Office of Communications, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Permanent deacons are considered a bridge between the hierarchy and the laity, the liturgy and life, and the Church and the world. They are married or celibate men over the age of 35, and the wife of a married man must provide her consent in order for him to enter into the diaconate formation program.

The diaconal candidates who will participate include: Arturo Ayala (wife Maria) of Yarmouth; Jon Blanchard (wife Hillary) of Presque Isle; Peter Czerwinski (wife Gina) of Readfield; Sean Fidler (wife Melanie) of Bath; Doug Guerrette (wife Louise) of Hampden; Anthony Jolicoeur (wife Brenda) of York; Peter Koch (wife Laurie) of Rumford; Stephen Ritchie (wife Nicole) of Eliot; Richard Roussel (wife Kelly) of Gorham; Adam Stearns (wife Vanessa) of Skowhegan; and Timothy Winkeler (wife Tracy) of Falmouth.

Deacons are called to serve at the altar, to proclaim the word of God, and to commit themselves to lives of charity. The word “diaconate” comes from the Greek word “diakonia,” which means “service.” Deacons cannot celebrate Mass, offer the sacrament of reconciliation, or perform the anointing of the sick, but they may officiate at baptisms, bless marriages, and conduct funeral services outside of Mass.

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