20 Permanent Deacons Ordained by Archbishop Wuerl

June 24, 2010

Twenty men are being ordained as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington at a Mass of Ordination on Saturday, June 26, 9:30 a.m. at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC. Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl will celebrate the Mass.

The new deacons come from a variety of backgrounds, and include a police officer, construction company owner, several scientists and engineers, a former community organizer, and two executives with the Montgomery County-based Marriott International. Several became Catholic as adults.

The men completed five years of theological study and prayer in preparation for ordination while working in full-time jobs. As permanent deacons, they now will assist priests in preaching, distributing the Eucharist, blessing marriages, baptizing and presiding at funerals, and dedicate themselves to works of charity. An ancient role in the Catholic Church, the permanent diaconate fell out of use after the fifth century, but was restored in the late 1960’s after the Second Vatican Council.

During their ordination, the men make a promise of obedience, and receive a stole, worn over the left shoulder to symbolize that the right arm is always free to help others; a vestment called a dalmatic; and the book of the Gospels, a sign that they are to proclaim the word of God. Deacons may be married when ordained but those who are not married take a vow of celibacy. Brief biographies are below.

Montgomery County

Alfred Manuel Barros (St. Andrew Apostle, Silver Spring) served in the U.S. Air Force for 21 years and now works for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC. In 1979, at age 23, he was assigned as a guard for Pope John Paul II when the Holy Father departed Andrews Air Force Base following his first visit to the United States, an experience that had a profound experience on Barros’ life. He has been married for 30 years and has two daughters.

Thomas Dwyer (Holy Redeemer, Kensington) is the director of property management for The George Washington University. He is active with his parish’s Pre-Cana marriage preparation program as well as religious education and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He also served on the Archdiocesan School Board for seven years. Thomas and his wife will celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary two days after his ordination. They have four children and six grandchildren.

Dan Finn (St. Francis of Assisi, Derwood) has been a human resource executive with Marriott International for more than 25 years, and currently leads the organization’s HR Business Process Management team. He has been married for 36 years and has six children and five grandchildren. He and his wife, Georgana, have been active members of St. Francis of Assisi in Derwood for 27 years. He is a cantor, religious education instructor, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist and chairman of the youth sports commission. He has been a soccer coach for 19 years.

Barry Levy (St. John Neumann, Gaithersburg) was born into a Jewish family and converted to Catholicism in 1973 at the age of 22. He worked as a youth minister in parishes in New York and in the Washington region. He founded the Youth for Peace project in 1982, obtained a master’s degree in clinic social work and is the director of the Meier Clinic of Rockville, where he specializes in helping couples repair their marriages and those suffering from addictions or trauma. He is married with one daughter, and is active at his parish and with the music and healing ministries of the Mother of God community.

Don Longana (Little Flower, Bethesda) is a principal in the Washington, D.C. office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and formerly worked on the staff of the Committee on Ways and Means in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University Law Center and New York University School of Law. He has served as a long-time religious education teacher in his parish and has been married for 31 years with three children.

Stephen Maselko (Mother Seton, Germantown) is a vice president in the incentive awards and gift card division of Marriott International. He has been with Marriott and a parishioner at Mother Seton Parish for the past 24 years. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and brings Communion to residents of Shady Grove Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. In his spare time he enjoys cabinetry. He has been married for 22 years and has one son.

Albert L. Opdenaker III (Mother Seton, Germantown) has worked at the U.S. Department of Energy in Germantown for 37 years and holds degrees in mechanical and nuclear engineering. He is a widower and lives in Germantown with his daughter and 10 year-old granddaughter. He has been active with Mother Seton parish for the past 11 years, and with the Knights of Columbus fraternal order.

Gerard (Stephane) Philogene (St. Catherine Labouré, Wheaton) is a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti who moved to the United States 32 years ago and grew up in Miami, Florida. He earned a doctorate from George Mason University and is an economist with the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. He has been married for 18 years and has three children. He and his wife are Benedictine oblates who have been active parishioners at St. Catherine Labouré parish and school since 1999. He was a member of the Montgomery County Committee on Hate Violence for four years and volunteers in prison ministry at the DC Jail and as a hospice volunteer.

William (Bill) Stevens (Our Lady of the Presentation, Poolesville) retired from the U.S. Navy after 22 years of service and has worked as a Navy civilian employee for over 22 years, currently for the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance. He became Catholic in 1975 while stationed in Spain. He is married with four sons and six grandchildren. He and his wife are active members of Our Lady of the Presentation parish and Bill is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Prince George’s County

Brandon Justice (St. Mary of the Mills, Laurel) is a patrol corporal with the Howard County Police Department. A native of Washington, DC, he attended St. John’s College High School and holds degrees from Mount St. Mary’s University and the College of Notre Dame. In 2007, he made his final profession as a Secular Franciscan. In 2008, after a bank robbery and shoot out, he earned the police department’s highest award, the Medal of Honor, for courage under fire. He and his wife, Erin, are expecting their fifth child this September.

Patrick Christopher (Chris) Schwartz (St. Joseph, Beltsville) has worked for NASA for more than 20 years managing new technology, and currently is a senior communications manager. He and his wife, Pam, have been members of St. Joseph’s for 36 years, where they served as co-choir directors from 1973-1993. He is active in various parish ministries, with the Knights of Columbus and with the Boy Scouts. Since 2002 he has served in prison ministry at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women and the Howard County Detention Center. He and Pam have been married for 40 years and have five children and three grandchildren.

Desider Vikor (St. Hugh of Grenoble, Greenbelt) is the first-generation son of immigrant parents from Hungary. He holds a master’s in library science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he had a research specialization in medieval monasticism. He is the director of collection management and special collections at the University of Maryland libraries. He has been married for 30 years and has one son. He is active in his parish and with Doctor’s Community Hospital and has been a volunteer for Capital Hospice.

Southern Maryland

Francis Edward (Ed) Baker, Jr. (St. Anthony of Padua, North Beach) is a licensed professional engineer and research scientist who retired from the Department of the Navy after 34 years. He has been married for 44 years and has three children and seven grandchildren. He has taught religious education in his parish and volunteered with hospice, birthright, the Boy Scouts and is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Joel Carpenter (St. George, Valley Lee) is a computer engineer at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, where he heads the Electronic Combat Stimulation branch supporting the testing and evaluation of a variety of Navy and Department of Defense systems. He is married with three daughters. Since becoming Catholic, Joel has been active in his parish, directing the adult choir, teaching adults entering the Catholic Church and serving on various committees.

David Divins (Jesus the Divine Word, Huntingtown) moved to Sunderland, MD in 2006. An oceanographer with a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, he worked at NOAA’s National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado before relocating to Maryland where he is vice president and director of ocean drilling programs at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Inc., a non-profit in Washington, DC. He is married with three children and twin granddaughters. He is active in religious education, baptismal preparation, liturgy and other ministries at his parish.

Richard Dubicki (St. Peter, Waldorf) is retired from federal civil service. During his civilian career as an engineer with the Army, he was engaged in construction, energy management and environmental compliance programs. He has been married for 38 years and has three children. He and his wife teach religious education in their parish and Richard is a member of the Knights of Columbus.

Robert Leo Martin (St. Peter, Waldorf) became Catholic in 1997. He is a director in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has served as an adjunct professor of chemistry at the University of the District of Columbia for 25 years. He is a member of the Knights of St. John and has been married for 37 years, with three children and four grandchildren.

Ammon Ripple (St. John, Hollywood) is a native of St. Mary’s County, having grown up on a tobacco farm and graduated from St. Mary’s College. He married in 1971 and within a few years, joined his wife’s Catholic faith. The Ripples have four sons and four grandchildren. He is semi-retired from the construction trade, having owned his own construction company, Ripple Brothers Contractors, for many years as well as a firm in Georgia. He is active with the Knights of Columbus and volunteers at St. Mary’s Nursing Center. The Ripples are members of St. Joseph’s Secular Carmel of Port Tobacco.

Washington, DC

Kenneth Lee (St. Anthony of Padua, northeast Washington, DC) is a native of the District of Columbia and joined the Catholic Church 20 years ago. He is a religion teacher at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC and previously worked in the Secondary Schools Department of the National Catholic Educational Association. He is a music minister at St. Anthony of Padua Parish and sang in the Papal Mass choir when Pope Benedict XVI visited Washington in 2008 He is married with one daughter.

Timothy E. Tilghman (Our Lady of Perpetual Help, southeast Washington, DC) worked as a community organizer for the Washington Interfaith Network for 10 years, where he taught leaders to put their faith into action. He is currently the director of development for the Josephites, a religious order of priests and brothers. He and his wife are leaders in the Archdiocese’s Cursillo Movement and helped establish a married couples ministry in their parish. He is married with six children and two grandsons.

The Archdiocese of Washington includes 140 parishes and nearly 590,000 Catholics in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

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