16 seminarians at Saint Paul Seminary ordained transitional deacons

2023 transitional deacons saint paul seminary
Back row, left to right: Ryan Sustacek, Michael Panka, Francis Floeder, Kevin Soenneker, Brian Klein, Hjálmar Gudjónsson, Derek Gilde, Brent Bowman. Front row, left to right: Alexander Rasset, Nicholas Gawarecki, Nick Vance, Luisito Cabrera, Rector Fr. Joseph Taphorn, Sean Mulcare, Daniel Ruprecht, Chris Yanta, Philip Conklin.

Sixteen men from The Saint Paul Seminary representing four different dioceses have been ordained as transitional deacons this spring. Transitional diaconate ordination marks one of the last major steps in a man’s road to the Catholic priesthood.

“We’re thrilled to send such a large class into its final year of seminary formation,” said Saint Paul Seminary Rector Fr. Joseph Taphorn, “but it’s also just as important to note each of these men has discerned his call well, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and seminary leadership. God willing, these joyful, Catholic leaders will ensure thriving parishes in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis for generations to come.”

Eleven new deacons come from the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis — the largest transitional deacon class in the archdiocese since 2004. Seminary alum Bishop Michael John Izen celebrated their ordination Saturday, May 13 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

It was Izen’s first ordination after being named a bishop earlier this year.

“Today is sure a day of great joy for this Archdiocese,” Archbishop Bernard Hebda said during his homily. “It’s a source of hope that the Lord would bless this local Church with 11 new deacons — exceptional men of faith who have already shown great signs of leadership and who give every indication that the Lord has called them to serve His Church. … They are an amazingly talented and diverse group of men, and I am particularly blessed to have had the opportunity to see them flourish and grow throughout their entire time in our seminaries.”

Hebda celebrated his seventh anniversary as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on Saturday, which was also the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

“Contemplating [the deacons’] call to humble service, it seems fitting that we are celebrating this ordination here in this incredible edifice dedicated to Our Lady,” Hebda said. “It was the humble ‘yes’ of this self-proclaimed lowly servant that changed all of human history.”

This year’s transitional deacon class, organized by ordination date and location, includes:

Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis | 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis

Brent Bowman

Philip Conklin

Francis Floeder

Derek Gilde

Hjálmar Gudjónsson

Sean Mulcare

Michael Panka

Alexander Rasset

Ryan Sustacek

Nick Vance

Chris Yanta

izen deacon ordination saint paul minneapolis
Bishop Michael John Izen, a Saint Paul Seminary alum, ordained 11 seminarians to the transitional diaconate on Saturday, May 13 at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

Diocese of Winona-Rochester | 10 a.m. Saturday, May 27 at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus Kostka

Nicholas Gawarecki

Brian Klein

Diocese of Des Moines | 5 p.m. Friday, June 9 at Christ the King Parish

Luisito Cabrera

Diocese of St. Cloud | 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 10 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud

Daniel Ruprecht

Kevin Soenneker

According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. There are three groups, or ‘orders,’ of ordained ministers in the Church: bishops, presbyters [priests] and deacons. Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to the Church and to the world of Christ, who came ‘to serve and not to be served.’ The entire Church is called by Christ to serve, and the deacon, in virtue of his sacramental ordination and through his various ministries, is to be a servant in a servant-Church.”

Transitional deacons usually spend one final year in seminary before priestly ordination. Men ordained as transitional deacons do so with intentions of becoming a priest. The Church also has permanent deacons, who unlike priests are often married and have a full-time job outside of their parish responsibilities; all priests are deacons first, but not all deacons become priests.

Scroll to Top