The following story appeared in the June 23 Idaho Catholic Register.
Recently ordained Deacon Antonio Perez, who is assigned at St. Paul’s Parish in Nampa, arranges chalices on the altar for the Mass of Ordination to the Diaconate. Deacons Eduardo Herrera, assigned at St. Mark’s in Boise; Michael Evaniuck, assigned at St. Paul’s in Nampa; and Vincent Perry, assigned at St. George’s in Post Falls were ordained on June 10 at the Cathedral in Boise with Deacon Perez. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
By Emily Woodham
BOISE – Deacons Eduardo Herrera, Michael Evaniuck, Antonio Perez and Vincent Perry were ordained as deacons by Bishop Peter Christensen on June 10.
Two of the four, Deacons Evaniuck and Perez, will serve at St. Paul’s Parish in Nampa. Deacon Herrera is assigned to St. Mark’s in Boise and Deacon Perry will serve at St. George’s in Post Falls.
About 500 attended the Mass at the Cathedral in Boise. Bishop Peter used biographical information printed in a previous issue of the Idaho Catholic Register to highlight the commonalities among the four new deacons.
All of them were raised Catholic, but three had left the faith while young adults and then returned later in life.
The deacons also share connections to the OCIA (Order of Christian Initiation for Adults), as participants returning to the Church and/or as instructors.
Bishop Peter also noted each were inspired by others, especially other deacons and their wives, who helped them with their discernment to the diaconate. “All four of you mention the powerful impact your wives have made on the deeper development of your faith and the necessary encouragement they offered to help you to consider the diaconate program,” he said.
Bishop Peter quoted from the first Mass reading, Jeremiah1:4-9, and said that the Lord chooses the weak and makes them strong. “If you, my brothers, feel weak and unworthy of the call, know that you are in good hands. The Lord is with you to do marvelous deeds through you in His name,” he said.
Just as Christ turned water into wine in His first miracle (John 2:1-11), He transforms the ordinary in our lives. “He will take the seemingly ordinary things of our lives and make them abundantly powerful by His grace working in and through you,” the Bishop said.
“Remember it is the Lord who chose you to do this ministry for His Church. He now appoints you to go out and bear fruit in the world, doing so with deep love for others. God will be there to assist you every step of the way. Go forth in the knowledge of His love for you.”
“It was a very intimate and strengthening experience that brought me so much grace from the Holy Spirit,” said Deacon Perry.
Bishop Peter offered the Mass for Natalie Perry, Deacon Perry’s mother, who died on May 30.
“I was amazed, honored and humbled that Bishop Peter offered the Mass for my recently deceased mother,” he said. “It was truly a healing gift for my whole family. I am so grateful for that.”
Deacon Perry is a telecommunications switch technician. He has been married to his wife, Amy, since 2003. The couple has three sons and a daughter, ranging in ages 10 to 17.
“Always pray and never give up,” he said, referring to Luke 18:1, the preface to the parable of the persistent widow who relentlessly went to the judge with her petitions for justice.
“Trust Jesus and place your life in His hands.”
Deacon Perry also recommends praying for vocations. “Keep your family involved in the faith as best as you can,” he said.
Deacon Perry did not expect the massive outpouring of support from so many people whom he didn’t know. “I am looking forward to bringing the personal love, grace and healing of Jesus to people through service,” he said.
Deacon Antonio Perez said he is grateful for everyone who kept him and his fellow deacons in their prayers. “I felt that without their prayers, I wouldn’t have gotten this far.”
Deacon Perez is director of parish services at St. Paul’s. He and his wife, Alma, have been married for 17 years. They have five children.
“It was a wonderful experience, how we encountered the Holy Spirit through this sacrament,” he said of his ordination. “I felt so blessed that God chose us for this mission in our lives.”
Like Deacon Perry, he was surprised by the love and support from every-one at the ordination. He is looking forward to working with his brother deacons at his parish in assisting the community and bringing them closer to the Lord through the sacraments.
“What a wonderful gift it is to be able to help with that,” he said.
Deacon Mike Evaniuck said he was a little nervous, but has no doubts about the ordination, he said.
Deacon Evaniuck works for a cyber security company. He and his wife, Ailen, have been at St. Paul’s since 2016. They have two adult children who live in southern California.
“During Bishop Christenson’s laying on of hands, it struck me that I was being linked to all deacons – not only those who were at the Mass, but all deacons, back to St. Stephen himself,” he said.
Deacon Evaniuck said he was humbled by the outpouring of love and support from parishioners after his first Mass at St. Paul’s. “Their support drives me to serve them even more. God is doing amazing things, and I am glad to be part of it,” he said.
Receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders was a true blessing, Deacon Herrera said.
“The Mass and Cathedral were beautiful. To have experienced this with the support of the Diocese, clergy, family and friends is truly a gift from God. This occasion is life changing, and to able to share those graces with the greater community for God’s glory is special,” he said.
Deacon Herrera is a regional sales manager for J.T.M. Foods for the Intermountain and Northwest Region. He and his wife, Stephany, have two young adult children.
Two of the most powerful moments of the ordination, he said, were when the deacons-to-be were laying prostrate on the Cathedral floor during the Litany of Saints, and when the Bishop laid his hands on each of the deacons and prayed over them. Another moment was while blessing parishioners after Mass. “I did not expect the sense of authority to manifest itself so quickly,” he said.
He is looking forward to serving the Catholic community and to continue to grow closer to Christ, he said. “I hope to serve by proclaiming the Gospel at Mass, working to support Catholic education and internal ministries, essentially allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us to help others enrich their relationship with our Lord.”
“I have a profound sense of gratitude for the prayers and support from the faithful,” he said. “As a community we need to continue praying for vocations and supporting our youth to consider the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.”
Michael Evaniuck promises to be obedient to Bishop Peter Christensen and to his successors. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
Bishop Peter says the Prayer of Ordination over the four men. From left are Antonio Perez, Michael Evaniuck, Eduardo Herrera and Vincent Perry. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
Bishop Peter Christensen celebrated the Mass for Ordination to the Diaconate just two days after ordaining two new priests. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
Deacons of the Diocese embrace the four newly ordained deacons during the exchange of peace. (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
Deacons Eduardo Herrera, left, and Antonio Perez were overjoyed at their ordination. “I have a profound sense of gratitude for the prayers and support for the faithful,” Deacon Herrera said. “As a community, we need to continue praying for vocations and supporting our youth to consider the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.” (ICR photo/Vero Gutiérrez)
From left, Ailen and Deacon Michael Evaniuck, Alma and Deacon Antonio Perez, Amy and Deacon Vincent Perry, Deacon Eduardo and Stephany Herrera with Bishop Peter Christensen are in the lower courtyard of the Cathedral with a statue of St. Teresa of Calcutta. (ICR photos/Vero Gutiérrez)
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