Cardinal Wuerl Ordains 14 Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington

June 27, 2015

WASHINGTON – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, ordained fourteen men as permanent deacons for the Archdiocese of Washington at a Mass of Ordination today at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

In his homily, Cardinal Wuerl reflected on the ordination taking place in an age of renewed focus on our Catholic identity and in a culture that questions it. “Our Catholic identity even when challenged should remain for us a source of conviction and pride. We recognize that as we open ourselves to life in the Spirit, radiating fully Christ’s love and truth, we can also bring joy to a world that so desperately needs God.”

“As the Church faces the issues, challenges and opportunities of today, what does she expect from her deacons?” he asked. “What are the qualities needed to be a deacon? The pages of Saint Luke’s book do not give a detailed description of the attitude or disposition of Stephen and the others. But I think it fair to conclude from everything else we read that they possessed a generosity of heart and a love of Christ and his Church. These traits made it possible for each to work gladly and willingly with the Apostles. In their ministry of service, the deacons could relieve the Apostles of their growing burdens and thus attend to the needs of their brothers and sisters in the Church. Theirs would be a ministry of service.”

“Today we see this same willingness to serve – this same openness to the Lord – in the men who are here with us today and who have prepared for so long for this sacred moment,” said the cardinal.

Referencing Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, the cardinal reminded the ordinandi that it is precisely the joy of the Gospel that should fill the hearts and minds of all who encounter Jesus. “Those in holy orders should manifest joy since our proclamation is that Christ is risen and the kingdom of God is at hand,” said the cardinal. “May you always be eager to serve, to go where you are sent and to do so with joy. May you always carry in your heart the zeal of this ordination in which, in a very special way, you become one with Christ.”

The new deacons for the archdiocese come from a variety of backgrounds, and include a molecular biologist working in AIDS research, a commercial airline pilot, a construction quality control manager and several who work in the IT field or for the federal government.

The men completed almost five years of theological study and prayer in preparation for ordination, while working in full-time jobs. Deacons are ordained for a ministry that reflects three aspects: the Word, the altar and charity. The new deacons will now assist pastors throughout the archdiocese in preaching the Gospel, distributing the Eucharist, blessing marriages, baptizing, presiding at funerals, and being engaged in ministries of charity and social justice, assisting those in need. 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 made a promise of obedience to the cardinal and to his successors, and received 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 make a promise of celibacy.

Brief biographies are below:

Paul Bielewicz is a member of Holy Face Parish in Great Mills. Paul and his wife Ellen have been married for 41 years and have two sons, two daughters and eight granddaughters.  Paul is a retired Naval Officer and currently works as a Project Manager for SAIC supporting the Navy at Pax River NAS. In his parish, Paul has served as a member of the parish council, a catechist for RCIA, a lector, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, a youth minister, a choir member, an acolyte and a chairperson on the annual Spring Festival Committee.

Ronald J. Burns is a member of Jesus the Divine Word Parish in Huntingtown. Ron and his wife Karen have been married 27 years and have two sons. Ron is active in a variety of parish-related activities and ministries including the Parish Council, Bereavement Group, Religious Education, mission trips, and Knights of Columbus. He is also a regular volunteer for the Missionaries of Charity “Gift of Peace” and serves as a chaplain for Calvert Memorial Hospital. Ron is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and is currently a pilot for United Airlines.

Ed Close is a member of St. Paul’s parish in Damascus. Ed and his wife Mary have been married for 34 years and have eight children and two grandchildren. Ed grew up in Rockville (attending St. Mary’s parish) and works as a school crossing guard in Germantown. Ed has served St. Paul’s as a catechist, sacristan, cantor, liturgist, and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus.  Last summer, Ed volunteered with Catholic Charities in a program serving adults with developmental difficulties.

Michael Crowe is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Lexington Park. Michael and his wife Teresita have been married for 27 years and they have two sons. Michael joined the Catholic Church in 2001. He serves in several parish ministries: he assists his wife as RCIA coordinator; is a lector, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and does liturgy planning. Michael is a Servant-Leader in Families in Christ Jesus Community and a 3rd degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He works for the federal government as a Program Analyst.

William (Bill) J. Heineman is a member of the Shrine of St. Jude in Rockville. Bill and his wife Terry have been married for 40 years and have 6 children (2 deceased, 3 adopted). Bill has been active in several ministries – he has participated in and led prayer groups and bible studies, served on Parish Council and Athletic Association board, coached parish youth teams, is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Lector, and Acolyte. Bill has had an active career in IT spanning many technologies.

Charles Huber is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Washington. Charles and his wife Jean Plummer have been married for 12 years and have both been involved in the parish ministries of lector, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, ministers to the sick and homebound, and as retreat leaders. Charles attended Catholic schools in the archdiocese, including Georgetown University where he was involved in campus ministry. Charles is a molecular biologist working in AIDS research.

Steven A. Nash is a member of Holy Redeemer parish in Washington. Steven and his wife Stephanie have three children. At Holy Redeemer, Steven serves on the Parish Council as well as the Finance and Liturgy Committees. He has also served on the Legion of Mary Our Lady Help of Christian Praesidium and as President of the Washington Comitium. He is the President and CEO of the Stoddard Baptist Home Foundation and serves elders through several local and national associations and boards. A native Washingtonian, Steven is a graduate of Princeton University.

Brian Payne is a member of Holy Family parish in Mitchellville. Brian and his wife Victoria have been married for 24 years and they have two daughters. Brian serves his parish as Lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, leads Bible Study programs, and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. Brian has also served his community by making visitations for prayer and comfort to the residents of Collington Senior Living Center and bringing them communion. Brian is Senior Business Consultant at United Healthcare Group, Baltimore, Md.

Steven Reeves is a member of Saint Paul Parish in Damascus. Steve and his wife Rosemary have been married for thirty years and they have a son and daughter. Steve also has a daughter from a previous marriage. Steve is involved in several parish ministries, he participates in the Prayer and Healing Team, leads a men’s scripture study group, and serves as a lector and an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Previously, Steve was involved with teen ministry, marriage preparation, and the building committee at the parish. Steve is a member of the Knights of Columbus and he is active in the Cursillo Movement. Steve works for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Curtis Rodney is a member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Silver Spring. Curtis and his wife Debra have been married for 32 years and they have one son. Curtis is involved in several parish ministries, including the Young Adult ministry, is Director of Sponsor Formation Training, as well as serving as a lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Curtis is a 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus and has led efforts to support children of incarcerated parents and serves as a mentor with Catholic Charities returning citizens program. Curtis is the Owner of C & R Contracting Co. LLC.

Bill Scott is a member of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Waldorf. Bill and his wife Rhonda have been married for 14 years and they have two children. Bill directs the altar server ministry in his parish and teaches Confirmation class, as well as serving as a lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Bill actively participates in prison ministry, bringing the Eucharist and teaching classes to inmates in the La Plata, MD Detention Center. Bill is a Senior Director with ABS Consulting.

Keith J. Somerville, Sr. is a member of St. Margaret of Scotland parish in Seat Pleasant. Keith and his wife, Karen, have been married for nine years and have a son and a daughter. Keith has been involved in several parish ministries including lector, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and parish council. A Construction Quality Control Manager/Superintendent, Keith is also the son of Deacon John Walter Somerville Sr. and nephew of Deacons James Somerville and the late Joseph Somerville Sr., three brothers all ordained in the Archdiocese of Washington in the 1980s.

Robert Villanueva is a parishioner of St. Columba Catholic Church in Oxon Hill. Robert and his wife Gliceria have been married for 37 years and they have two daughters and seven grandchildren.  Robert has served on the parish council, choir, RCIA and bible study. He serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, a lector, is a long-time member of the Couples for Christ Family Ministries, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. Robert serves at a homeless shelter for Catholic Charities in northeast Washington. He is employed full time as an IT Systems Analyst in a Maryland-based marketing firm.

Vince Wolfinger is a member of St. Paul Parish in Damascus. Vince and his wife Eileen have been married for 39 years and they have four daughters and two grandchildren. Vince has served on the Parish Pastoral Council and as an RCIA leader, lector and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Vince is employed at the Internal Revenue Service as a Senior Human Resources Specialist in the office of the Chief Human Capital Officer.


The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi
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