Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop another large class of permanent deacons to be ordained in the Diocese of San Bernardino, including two in the Chino Valley.

John Duffy of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Chino Hills and Jorge Briones of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Chino were ordained in an outdoor service at St. Paul the Apostle Sunday, Aug. 29.

They will serve as deacons in their respective parishes.

In the Catholic Church, permanent deacons proclaim the Gospel, give homilies at Mass, administer some Sacraments such as baptisms and weddings, and perform acts of charity.

A total of ten men became deacons during four ordination Masses celebrated by Bishop Gerald Barnes at three parishes Aug. 22 and 29: St. Paul the Apostle, Our Lady of Soledad Parish in Coachella and St. Christopher Parish in Moreno Valley.

In addition to Deacons Duffy and Briones are Mario Aguiar, Baltazar Aguirre, Leonardo Bautista, Raul Michel, Juan Lombera, Enrique Vazquez, Jose Trinidad Porras, and Martin Sullivan.

Current health and safety guidelines required by the Diocese meant that there were multiple Masses with fewer in attendance, said Diocese spokesman John Andrews.

Six-foot social distancing was maintained, and masks were worn by attendees. The bishop wore a face shield at all times.

“It’s a difficult year,” Bishop Barnes said during his homily at St. Paul the Apostle. “There are people living with such anxiety and uncertainty that they’re lost.”

He looked around the courtyard at guests seated under shade canopies while the weather was still cool in the morning.

“And then we have this beautiful day,” he said. “The Lord is saying, ‘I haven’t forgotten you. I’m calling forth from your families two to receive the diaconate.”

Deacon John Duffy said his participation in adult faith formation programs offered by the Diocese, including the Catholic Bible Institute and Continuing Ministry Formation Program (CMFP) sparked his interest in becoming a deacon.

“I was looking to serve the Church in a greater way,” said Deacon Duffy, who, along with his wife, Teresita, heads St. Paul’s ministry to the sick and homebound, which has taken on greater meaning during the pandemic. 

“Not only are we bringing God’s presence in the Holy Eucharist, but being that face of Jesus to them, I find that very rewarding,” Deacon Duffy said.

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