September 28, 2013
|Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Douglas Deshotel stands with Dcns. Martinez (left) and Picou (right) shortly after their Ordination Mass.|
A deacon’s call to teach the faith and serve the community is a vocation — a seed placed by God in the heart of a man. But the family is where that seed is nourished and cultivated.
Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, offered words of praise to the parents of Raul Martinez Lopez and Gary Picou, Jr., before addressing the men he was about to ordain to the transitional diaconate Sept. 14 in St. Michael Church in Bedford.
“Because of your families, you are here today to answer the call of Christ to serve as deacon and later, God willing, as a priest,” he said. “Be generous in giving yourselves completely to this service.”
More than 300 friends, relatives, and former classmates gathered inside the Bedford church to watch the Dallas prelate preside over the ancient rite of diaconal ordination which includes the promise of obedience to the bishop, the laying on of hands, and presentation of the Book of the Gospels.
“When a man is called by the Church to serve the body of Christ as a deacon, priest, or bishop, the promise of Jesus — that he would be with his Church throughout the ages — is brought to fulfillment,” Bishop Deshotel explained. “A man who is ordered to the service of the community follows in the pattern of Jesus Christ who came to serve and not be served.”
A deacon’s responsibilities are to proclaim the Gospel, explain the sacred text to the assembly of Christians, and teach the Catholic faith. He is also instructed to carry on works of charity.
“This requires faith in your own lives and the nourishment of spirituality,” the bishop suggested. “In this way your ministry will be fruitful as others see that you do what you proclaim.”
|Deacon Raul Martinez Lopez receives the Book of the Gospels, a symbol of his diaconal ministry.|
Deacon Martinez’ spiritual growth began to flourish at the age of 26 when he attended a Busqueda or “Search” diocesan retreat.
“My life completely changed after that,” said the native of Coahuila, Mexico. “I started having a relationship with God, and through that, experienced a conversion. It led to my call to the priesthood.”
The former construction worker was sent to Mexico where he studied theology and philosophy for eight years at the Seminario Hispano Santa Maria de Guadalupe and The University Pontificia de Mexico. In July 2012, he moved to Wichita Falls and later worked at Fort Worth’s Baylor All Saints Hospital to complete his Clinical Pastoral Education.
Dcn. Martinez improved his English speaking skills and overcame other challenges in his journey toward the priesthood. His mother, Maria Esther Lopez, and brother, Jose, traveled to Fort Worth to witness his ordination.
“It hasn’t been easy,” he admitted. “Becoming a deacon proves to me one more time that God is the one who decides when and where things will happen. His will and grace have brought me to this day. I ask for everyone’s prayers, so I can persevere in my vocation.”
Deacon Picou was a college sophomore when he told his parents, Cathy and Gary Picou, he wanted to become a priest. After graduation, the Houston native entered the seminary but left during his second year of theology to explore what it meant to be a priest.
Deacon Gary Picou serves as the Deacon of the Altar immediately following his ordination.
“I didn’t think I could go forward until I understood it better,” he explained.
Picou moved to Fort Worth and began working as a mechanical engineer for a small firm. After a period of reflection, he re-entered the seminary in 2010 and began his studies at the Theological College, affiliated with Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Now, years later, the young seminarian said he’s looking forward to this next step in his call to the priesthood.
“I have a peace about it,” Picou said, anticipating his ordination. “Each person has to find (out) what it means to be a priest — especially a diocesan priest.”
Now that they are ordained, the new deacons are serving at Holy Family Church in Fort Worth and the diocesan Vocations Office. Official appointments cannot be made while the diocese is without a bishop.
Both men said the encouragement and support of parishioners energizes their spirit as they continue their priestly formation. The letters and drawings they get from Catholic school children are particular mood boosters.
“The artwork can be very creative,” Dcn. Picou explained with a chuckle. “And some of the letters — especially from the younger grades — are so sincere. They thank us for our dedication and giving our lives (to God.)”
Two priests’ lives converged May 24 at St. Patrick Cathedral, when, from differing backgrounds and histories, they lay prostrate in front of the same altar, knelt and promised fealty to the same bishop, and received the same sacrament.
As a young child growing up in Houston, Deacon Gary Picou had a dream. “I wanted to be an astronaut. That was my goal,” he said. However, when the young man took the physical, he learned he was color blind. “My dream of being an astronaut kind of died,” said Dcn. Picou, soon to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fort Worth. But in one of many references to the mystery of God, the deacon noted the color blindness may have been one of ways God works, and a demonstration of his sense of humor and providence.
Reverence and humility show in his eyes, smile, and carefully-worded homilies. Deacon Raul Martinez Lopez worries about his vocabulary and presentation, but to the assembly he delivers his thoughts clearly, even in his new, second language. Dcn. Martinez, whom Bishop Michael Olson will ordain to the priesthood at St. Patrick Cathedral 10 a.m., Saturday, May 24, assisted at Holy Family Parish’s noon Mothers’ Day Mass May 11.
A deacon’s call to teach the faith and serve the community is a vocation — a seed placed by God in the heart of a man. But the family is where that seed is nourished and cultivated. Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel, auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, offered words of praise to the parents of Raul Martinez Lopez and Gary Picou, Jr., before addressing the men he was about to ordain to the transitional diaconate Sept. 14 in St. Michael Church in Bedford.