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placeholder August 14, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 14   •   Oakland, CA

Arturo Bazan, left, and Mario Rizzo wait outside Mission San Jose for the Mass to begin.
CHRIS SILVA/THE CATHOLIC VOICE

Two ordained as deacons,
on their way to the priesthood

In the oldest church of the Diocese of Oakland — Mission San Jose, founded in 1797 — Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, ordained Arturo Bazan and Mario Rizzo to the order of the diaconate.

Next spring, they will come to the Cathedral of Christ the Light — dedicated in 2008 — the newest in the diocese, to be ordained to the priesthood.

 
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In between, in addition to completing their studies at St. Patrick's Seminary & University in Menlo Park, each will serve at a parish: Deacon Rizzo at St. Joseph Basilica in Alameda and Deacon Bazan at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Berkeley.

They began their duties soon after the ordination rite, preparing the altar in the mission church for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

"Jesuits have St. Ignatius, Franciscans have St. Francis of Assisi, but diocesan priests have St. John Vianney as their patron saint," the bishop said in his homily, explaining why Aug. 4, St. John Vianney feast day, had been chosen as the day of the ordination.

He called particular attention to St. John Vianney's dedication to Christ in the Eucharist.

Among all that the new deacons have learned at the seminary, he said, they have learned, too, from "watching the lifestyle and manner of prayer" of the Oblate Sisters of Jesus the Priest.

"In the midst of their work, the sisters have adoration going on all day in their convent chapel," the bishop said. "They split away, one by one, from the kitchen to go kneel and pray for you and the other seminarians."

He encouraged the deacons to pay close attention to them.

In addition, he called them to service.

"As deacons, you are servants of God, and you're servants of the people," Bishop Barber said.

"In our diocese, perhaps you will join in projects in the parishes helping settle refugee families," he said. "Maybe you'll help in building and preparing our home for victims of human trafficking. Maybe you'll help feed the poor at one of the St. Vincent de Paul food pantries or soup kitchens."

In addition to Bishop Barber, five bishops were present for the rite: Most Rev. John S. Cummins, bishop emeritus of Oakland; two visitors from England, Rt. Rev. Marcus Stock, bishop of Leeds, and Rt. Rev. Robert Byrne, auxiliary bishop of Birmingham; and a visitor from France, Most Rev. Denis Jean-Marie Jachiet, auxiliary bishop of Paris.

About three dozen diocesan priests took their place in the church. Rev. George Schultze, SJ, the new president-rector of St. Patrick's seminary, also attended.

They began their duties soon after the ordination rite, preparing the altar of the mission church for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Deacon Bazan, 31, was born in Mexico City and came to the Bay Area in 2004. He became active at St. Jarlath Parish in Oakland, working with youth in prayer groups and other ministries there before entering the seminary. His mother and grandmother in Mexico were able to view the ordination on the internet

Deacon Rizzo, 30, is a graduate of UC Berkeley, where he majored in theatre and performance studies. His home parish is St. Monica in Moraga. He has four older sisters, one older brother, seven nieces, four nephews and another niece or nephew on the way. He entered St. Patrick's Seminary University in August 2011, and has done all his seminary and formation there.

 
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