Stephen Felicichia, the son of Robert and Joan Felicichia, of Waynedale, will be ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacon in the Catholic Church on Saturday, May 18, at 11:00 a.m., in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Fort Wayne.
Following his ordination, the then Rev. Mr. Felicichia will proclaim the Gospel and preach the homily at the 5:00 p.m. Mass at St. Therese Church, 2304 Lower Huntington Road, his home parish.
As a transitional deacon, he will remain a seminarian, in the last phase of training for the Catholic priesthood at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where he has been enrolled for the past five years. After serving as a deacon for a year, he will be ordained a priest by the bishop. During the summer months, Rev. Mr. Felicichia will be assigned to assist at a parish in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. At that parish, he will fulfill a role of service – baptizing, preaching, witnessing marriages, praying with families for their deceased relatives and whatever else the pastor there needs him to do.
Young Felicichia attended St. Therese School where, in the third grade, he said he first heard a call from God to become a priest someday. He graduated from Bishop Luers High School in 2004 and was accepted at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He graduated in 2008 as a Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Field Artillery, and was stationed at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska. Felicichia served two tours in Afghanistan and completed five years of service attaining the rank of captain. He was accepted as a candidate for the priesthood in 2014.
Like priests and bishops, deacons are members of the clergy who promise to obey and assist their bishop and his priests in the celebration of the divine ministries. Deacons proclaim the Gospel during Mass and also may be given the task of preaching. In addition, they serve as ordinary ministers of holy Communion. As clerics, deacons are ordinary ministers of the sacrament of baptism, and they can serve as the Church’s witness at weddings when done outside of Mass. Deacons may bring viaticum (Communion) to the dying and preside at funerals outside of Mass, as well as burial rites. They also may lead various other liturgical services, such as benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and may bestow certain blessings. Deacons cannot celebrate Mass, anoint the sick, hear confessions or give absolution.
The office of deacon is one of service in the sacred liturgy and in the ministries of charity. “Diaconate” comes from the Greek word “diakonia” or “service.”