New deacons told to ‘express the Word of God’ at ordination
(Photos by Fred LeBlanc)
By Terence Hegarty
SPRINGFIELD – The Diocese of Springfield has new clergy members. Three transitional deacons were ordained Nov. 24 as part of an 11 a.m. Mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral here.
David E. Aufiero, Piotr S. Calik and Robert L. Miskell joined the ranks of the many clergy who were in attendance as they became transitional deacons, a significant step on their way to the diocesan priesthood.
A little more than 200 attendees looked on as Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell presided over the formal ordination. Also present on the altar were Springfield Bishop Emeritus Joseph F. Maguire and Archdiocese of Boston Auxiliary Bishop Arthur Kennedy. Several diocesan priests and deacons were also in attendance as were family and friends of the three men.
“It feels very good…people coming out and supporting us and the prayers and support that we got over the years,” said newly-ordained Deacon David Aufiero. The prayers and support of Deacon Aufiero’s father, Robert, were especially meaningful this day.
Deacon Aufiero was emotional following the Mass in part because his father, who had suffered a stroke months ago, unexpectedly was able to attend. “My dad being here today was very special to me. I didn’t know if he was going to be able to make it,” Deacon Aufiero said. “I’m very moved that he was able to be here and share this moment with me.”
Bishop McDonnell told the men that they will now free themselves completely “for the service of God and neighbor and minister more effectively in the work of spiritual rebirth.” He also told them that their actions are just as important as their words.
“Express by your actions the Word of God which your lips proclaim so that the Christian people, brought to life by the Spirit, may become a pure offering, accepted by God.”
Looking ahead, Deacon Aufiero said, “Now starts the big mission that we’re called to do.” That mission can now include preaching at Mass, performing baptisms and conducting wedding and funeral services.
Deacon Aufiero told iobserve that when he was 15 years-old, his parish priest asked him if he had ever considered being a priest. “That question hasn’t left me,” he said. “It took a lot of prayer and support. That’s how I got here today.”
Deacon Aufiero was born on Jan. 18, 1985 in Malden, Mass., to his parents, Robert and Lois (Petrillo) Aufiero. He has two brothers, Robert and Alex. His home parish is St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Revere, Mass.
He graduated from Malden Catholic High School in 2002 and attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and graduated in 2007 with bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He entered St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass., in the fall of 2007, where he is studying philosophy and theology in preparation for his ordination to priesthood next June.
Deacon Aufiero is assigned at the Newman Catholic Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He will serve there on weekends while completing his formation.
Deacon Robert Miskell, said the ceremony went by very fast. “It was wonderful,” said Deacon Miskell. “Coming up to the sanctuary…it was just this beautiful, timeless moment.”
Deacon Miskell said that he first felt called to the priesthood when he was a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is a convert to the Catholic faith, going through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) at the Newman Center on campus there.
Deacon Miskell was born on Oct. 24, 1979 in Portsmouth, Va., to his parents, Thomas and Gail (Lathlaen) Miskell. He has two brothers, Thomas and Brian. His home parish is St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Norwood, Mass., as well as the Newman Catholic Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
He graduated from Norwood High School in 1998 and attended the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he graduated in 2002 with a bachelor of arts degree in history. He then attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and began working on master of arts degree in history, which he completed in 2010.
Deacon Miskell entered St. John’s Seminary in the fall of 2007 and is completing his studies for ordination. He will serve as a deacon at Immaculate Conception Parish in Indian Orchard.
“Emotionally it was not easy, because it was a long way for me,” Deacon Calik told iobserve, referring to the past 7 years of preparation. “It was a little bit stressful but, now it’s over. But, with God’s will, we can do everything.” He said that he knew at 4 years-old that he wanted to be a priest.
Deacon Calik said seeing the support of those gathered in the cathedral, especially his family, was very meaningful. So too, he said, was kneeling before the altar during the ordination.
Deacon Calik was born on June 20, 1984 in Krakow, Poland, to his parents, Franciszek and Zofia Calike. He has one twin brother, Pawel. His home parish is Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish in Krakow.
He studied in Poland in a culinary school, where he became a registered chef and worked briefly as an assistant chef in the Sheraton Hotel restaurant in Krakow. He graduated with a degree in philosophy from the Papal Academy in Krakow and then entered SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Krakow, where he learned English. He then transferred to SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., where he completed his studies for ordination. Deacon Calik will be serving as deacon at St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Cheshire.
Deacon Calik told iobserve that he looks forward to serving as a deacon, “especially the ministry with the sick, visiting hospitals and preaching.”
A fourth seminarian, who is also scheduled to be ordained in Springfield with deacons Aufiero, Calik and Miskell in June, is Michael M. Pierz. He was ordained to the transitional diaconate on Oct. 4 by Archbishop John Myers of Newark, N.J. along with 32 other seminarians of the Pontifical North American College, during a celebration of the Eucharist at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
Pierz was born on May 8, 1984 in Baden, Austria to his parents, Andrew and Mariola Pierz. He has one brother, Mark. His home parish is St. Mary Mother of the Church, Lee.
He attended St. Mary School in Lee until 1996. He transferred to Berkshire Country Day School and graduated from there in 1999. He attended Lenox Memorial High School, where he graduated in 2002.
He attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., for one year and then transferred to Northern Arizona University, from where he graduated in 2007 with a bachelor of arts degree in hotel and restaurant management.
His parents moved to Arizona in 2004 and Michael decided to return to his home diocese of Springfield and began his seminary studies in philosophy at St. John’s Seminary and then went to the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he is completing his seminary formation.
Father Gary M. Dailey, director of vocations for the Diocese of Springfield, told iobserve that Deacon Pierz was to be hold a holy hour of prayer in Rome at the time of the Springfield ordination.
Deacon Calik said that his classmate, Deacon Pierz was on his mind during the ordination. “I sent him an invitation and asked him only for prayer,” he said.
But Deacon Pierz is expected to answer an invitation to a June ordination in person. The Diocese of Springfield’s ordination to the priesthood is scheduled for June 1, 2013.
For more on this story, tune in to the Dec. 1 edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s weekly television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.