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Meet the new permanent deacons and their wives

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(photo/Victor Alemán)

Archbishop José H. Gomez ordained 19 new deacons June 10 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Maselino and Makalita (Lita) Alefosio

The Alefosios have three children and their home parish is St. Catherine Laboure Church in Torrance. Their ministries include Eucharistic ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, Homebound and the parish choir. As a deacon couple, they look forward to “serving God through the people and helping those in need.” To couples discerning whether to enter diaconate formation, they advise them to “listen to your conscience and listen what God says and wants you to follow — [then] pray and act according to [your] decision.”

Margarito and Rosario Barrios

Residents of Pomona, Margarito and Rosario have one child, three grandchildren and attend St. Joseph Church. The ministries they serve are RCIA, baptism preparation, Eucharistic ministry and VIRTUS training. Margarito’s primary expectation is that the five years of diaconate formation has adequately prepared him to “serve the people of God with his whole heart.” For Rosario, the process taught her the importance of “being of service to others and learning how to recognize the ministry surrounding us in our parishes and greater communities.”

Efraín and Dolores Calderón

Efraín and Dolores have two children and are parishioners at St. Mary Church in Palmdale. Their combined ministries include prison ministry, Eucharistic ministry to the sick and others. As a deacon, Efraín expects to reaffirm and put into practice the knowledge he obtained during the five-year formation process in order to be “in constant service to the community.” Dolores said she hopes to “help and support her husband. … Wives learn along with their husbands, to grow together as a deacon couple.”

Marvin D. and Maria Julia Castillo

Residents of Palmdale, the Castillos have two children and are parishioners of St. Junípero Serra Church in Lancaster. Their ministries include Eucharistic ministry, ministry to the sick, baptism preparation and RCIA in Spanish. As a deacon, Marvin feels called by God to serve his children. The Castillos said they believe the best advice they can offer to couples discerning the diaconate is to explore and discuss it extensively together, as a couple, always keeping in mind that the process requires persistence, tenacity and teamwork.

Pedro and María Luisa Chacón

La Puente residents Pedro and María Luisa are longtime parishioners at St. Alphonsus Church in Los Angeles. Over the past 24 years, they have served in marriage ministry, Eucharistic ministry, baptism preparation and more. As a deacon, Pedro anticipates his spiritual education to remain a lifelong process, to help him best serve “my community, work for social justice and meet the needs of the parish by supporting its ministries.” They advise couples considering the diaconate to “support each other and always together with honesty.”

Charlie and Jessica Echeverry

Parishioners at St. Gerard Majella Church in Los Angeles, Charlie and Jessica have “117 children” — including two biological sons, one stepson, one adopted daughter, one unborn child “in heaven,” two foster kids, seven sponsored children and “103 homeless or needy [kids]” via their ministry network. Their ministries include evangelization, catechesis, apologetics and young adult mentorship, and ministering to homeless kids and post-abortive women. As a deacon, Charlie looks forward to “serving Christ by serving his people through liturgy, word and charity.”

Michael and Donna Flores

Michael and Donna have two children and are parishioners at St. Frances of Rome Church in Azusa. Their key ministry to date has been bereavement ministry, which they became involved with “after listening to many peoples’ stories of how they felt that the Church was not there for them in the time of grief,” said Donna. Regarding the diaconate formation, Michael said, “It challenged me to have an open heart and an open mind, and to see humanity from a global perspective, as part of God’s plan of creation.”

Roger D. and Maria Elizabeth Gomez

Parents of two children, Roger and Maria are parishioners at Holy Angels Church of the Deaf in Vernon. As a deacon couple, they both plan to continue their “spiritual formation” as they work jointly to serve their parish and community. To those contemplating diaconate formation, Roger advises them to “listen for God’s call and carefully discern whether or not the diaconate vocation is your calling” — if so, that your love for the vocation will help facilitate the years of studies and preparation.

Felipe and Margaret Guzmán

Parishioners at Resurrection Church in Los Angeles, Felipe and Margaret have three children and reside in Hacienda Heights. Their various ministries include lector, Eucharistic ministry, young adult ministry, baptism preparation, visiting incarcerated youths and others. Felipe said he looks forward to the sacramental responsibility of baptism and expects to further expand his involvement in the parish community. Margaret said she intends to continue supporting her husband, both in their home and outside in the community, and emphasized that their education will continue.

Glen and Ross Heffernan

Parishioners at Our Lady of Grace Church in Encino, the Heffernans have two sons and are mostly involved with evangelization ministries. During the diaconate formation, Glen cherished the opportunity to “walk the same path with others for five years. It is a rare gift to … share such an intimate experience with a few other couples.” As a deacon, Glen looks forward to taking part in baptism, and advises those discerning the diaconate to “just start the process. You will have … the formation staff to help with your discernment.”

Sergio and Arcelia Islas

Sergio and Arcelia have three children and are parishioners at St. Francis Xavier Church in Pico Rivera. Their primary ministry to date has been baptism preparation. Sergio plans to continue serving the community and, above all, answering the desire to “do good” and always “keeping the doors open to those most in need.” The memory they cherish the most from the formation process was “discovering ourselves as human beings and children of God, as we embraced the dignified ministry [of the diaconate].”

Raymond Michael and Mary Theresa (Terry) Jaurequi

Raymond and Terry have six children and seven grandchildren, and attend and serve the parish community of Holy Angels Church in Arcadia. Their combined ministries include lector, bereavement, liturgical ministry, Eucharistic ministry to hospitals and rest homes and more. Raymond looks forward to committing more time to social justice ministry, and Terry hopes to “utilize the skills I’ve honed over the years to truly serve those who are in need.” The diaconate formation process “has enhanced every aspect of my life,” said Raymond.

Amante and Christina Pulido

Amante and Christina, who have two children (and two “children-in-law”), are parishioners at Holy Name of Mary Church in San Dimas. They serve in senior ministry, retirement center outreach, confirmation catechist, music ministry, pastoral council and more. Amante’s advice to couples discerning the diaconate is to try to “be on the same page” with each other during the lengthy process. Throughout formation, Amante said he enjoyed the “deepening intimacy and relationship with God, self-discovery and the deeper interpersonal discovery with my wife.”

Angel and Rosa Rodríguez

Parishioners at Divine Saviour Church in Los Angeles, Angel and Rosa have two children and five grandchildren. Their parish ministries include Eucharistic ministry, Bible study, adult catechism and others. As a deacon, Angel looks forward to having a broader ability to serve his community, and Rosa plans to keep supporting and working alongside her husband — while always continuing to learn. What do they recall most about the formation process? “A lot of homework! But thanks to that we learned our true potential and grew in our faith,” said Angel.

Jose F. and Debra Ann (Debbi) Siordia

Married since 1977, the Siordias are parishioners at Santa Rosa de Lima Church in San Fernando. They have been self employed at Now Image Printing since 1983, have four children and six grandchildren. The parish ministries they have served on include the St. Ferdinand/Santa Rosa Outreach Center, lector, bereavement, Eucharistic ministry and more. As a deacon, Jose most looks forward to “serving the community in a more personal and sacramental way,” while Debbi plans to share her “advice and … accompany him on his journey.”

Gilbert (Gil) and Frances Vargas

Lifelong Angelenos, Gil and Frances have four children and two grandchildren, and attend St. Therese Church in Alhambra. Their ministries include bereavement, Christian service, baptismal preparation, religious education and visiting the sick/homebound. As a deacon, Gil most looks forward to “a break in studies to focus on living out my ministerial call.” He advises couples contemplating diaconate formation to speak with an active deacon couple “to ask them for insight into the formation process, [including] the demands and any challenges they faced.”

William (Jay) and Candy Krueger

The Kruegers, who have three children and one grandchild, are parishioners at Holy Family Church in South Pasadena. Their ministries include the bereavement, pastoral care, restorative justice, the Giving Bank and others. As a deacon, Jay looks forward to “serving the community with the grace received through ordination,” and Candy plans to continue serving and “being a voice for those on the margins.” To couples contemplating diaconate formation, Candy suggests they “listen to the Holy Spirit and trust your instincts [and] and listen to one another.”

Gary and Kathleen (Kay) Mallaley

Parishioners at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Westlake Village, Gary and Kay have three children and two grandchildren (and a third on the way). They both support restorative justice, respect life, baptismal preparation and Homeless Breakfast ministries. As a deacon, Gary plans to continue “serving our Lord through serving his people [and] being an advocate for the marginalized.” Regarding diaconate formation, Kay said, “Even though the wife [is] not ordained, she is a large influence on their new shared spiritual growth and knowledge. They are a team.”

Juan Luis and Sandra E. Quiju

Juan and Sandra, who have one child, are parishioners at St. Ignatius of Loyola Church in Los Angeles. The parish ministries they serve include youth group and Eucharistic ministry. Juan confessed that he has come a long way from his early days of diaconate formation, when his mind was still somewhat “closed” to the spiritual gifts he would receive during the five-year journey. As a deacon, he now looks forward to “serving to the best of his capacity and always making himself available to lend a helping hand, wherever necessary.”

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