Bishop Cullen ordains John Hutta transitional deacon

By TAMI QUIGLEY  Staff writer

John Hutta took the next step on his journey to the priesthood when Bishop Emeritus of Allentown Edward Cullen ordained him to the order of deacon May 20 at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena, Allentown.

“It’s uplifting to witness an ordination ceremony – it’s beautiful and brings out the presence of God calling a young person to the Sacrament of Holy Orders,” said Bishop Cullen. “The person said yes to the call from God.”

Bishop Cullen was ordaining prelate and principal celebrant of the Ordination of a Deacon during which he ordained Hutta, 28, a transitional deacon.

As a transitional deacon, Deacon Hutta will administer the sacrament of baptism, preside at weddings and rites of Christian burial, assist a priest or bishop at Mass, proclaim the Gospel, and deliver homilies.

The ordination commenced with a public request from Msgr. David James, director of the diocesan Office of Vocations, for Bishop Cullen to ordain Hutta. When the bishop asked about his worthiness, Msgr. James replied, “I testify that he has been found worthy.”

After accepting the candidate, the bishop asked for the approval of the assembly, which it granted with its applause.

Hutta stood before the bishop, who questioned him on the Office of Deacon before he declared his intention to be ordained to the diaconate and fulfill its duties. Hutta then knelt before the bishop and placed his hands between his, promising respect and obedience to his ordinary (bishop of the diocese), and perpetual celibacy.

Hutta was vested with the proper stole and dalmatic by Deacon Edward Girard of Sacred Heart, Palmerton.

Hutta prostrated himself before the altar, symbolizing his humility and dependence on God’s grace during the Litany of Supplication (Litany of the Saints). Then Bishop Cullen laid his hands on his head, signifying the conferral of the Holy Spirit and the commission to service.

Bishop Cullen presented the Book of the Gospels to the new deacon, indicating his ministry of preaching and teaching the Gospel message.

At the Kiss of Peace, all deacons present offered the fraternal kiss of peace to the newly ordained as a sign of welcoming into the Order of Deacon.

Addressing those gathered before the Mass drew to a close, Bishop Cullen led a round of applause for Deacon Hutta and thanked all who helped him reach this day – his parents, family and priests who have helped during his formation years.

Bishop Cullen said Deacon Hutta affirmed he wanted to be a deacon by making his promises of celibacy for the rest of his life and obedience.

“We have seen expressed a supreme desire to be a priest whatever it takes,” Bishop Cullen said.

Bishop Cullen said we all have supreme desires, though for most people it is to have worldly things. “This young man chose the spiritual side – it’s wonderful to see. This can only be maintained by him being alive in prayer.”

Bishop Cullen said Deacon Hutta is on a journey of getting to know his God better and better and getting closer and closer to him. He has to avoid anything that would separate him from God.

“He’s on an internal journey for the rest of his life – it’s magnificent.”

Bishop Cullen said Deacon Hutta will gain understanding and knowledge through these years and understand, as Jesus, that he has “come to serve, not to be served.”

“He will be strengthened as he goes on this internal journey,” Bishop Cullen said.

“There will be trials, as there are for everyone in life. He needs your prayers. They will buoy him up.”

Principal concelebrants were Msgr. Alfred Schlert, diocesan administrator; Msgr. Gerald Gobitas, diocesan chancellor and secretary of the Secretariat for Clergy; Msgr. James; Msgr. Francis Schoenauer, rector of the cathedral; and Father Christopher Cooke of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia.

Msgr. Victor Finelli was master of ceremonies. Deacon John Rother, transitional deacon assigned to the cathedral, assisted.

Deacon Hutta’s nieces and nephews presented the offertory gifts.

The Allentown Diocesan Choir, directed by Beverly McDevitt, director of music at the cathedral, provided music for the liturgy. John DeAngelo and seminarian Zachary Wehr were cantors. Seminarian Juan Rodriguez and Anne Girard, wife of Deacon Girard, were lectors.

Deacon Hutta will serve his transitional deacon year at St. Anne, Bethlehem.

Deacon Hutta is a parishioner of Sacred Heart, Palmerton and the son of John Hutta and Diane Hutta. He has five siblings – Angela, Vanessa, JoLynn, Shawn and Skyler. “I have many nephews and nieces, whom I adore very much,” he said.

“I have a huge family, plus my own heritage,” said Deacon Hutta, who grew up in a cultural background because of his grandparents, “who are very dear to me.”

“My family have supported me in my faith, and I think through my witness of my faith life has strengthened theirs also in some ways,” Deacon Hutta said.

“Slovak, Italian and Irish, those customs are my roots to the faith and fostered my vocation also,” he said.

Deacon Hutta said as a deacon he is looking forward to be present to God’s people and administering the sacrament of baptism.

“I’ll be able to spend more time in a parish with real people who lead real lives and build relationships with them, and I’ll be able to proclaim and preach the Good News at Mass and to baptize new children to our beautiful faith.”

Deacon Hutta’s home parish is the former SS. Cyril and Methodius, Coaldale and he is a graduate of Tamaqua High School.