Three to be ordained as transitional deacons at cathedral on May 27

By Dave Jolivet
Anchor Editor

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Three young men will take one step closer to becoming priests for the Fall River Diocese, when they are ordained as transitional deacons during a ceremony to be held at St. Mary’s Cathedral on May 27 at 11 a.m.

Matthew Gerard Gill, Juan Carlos Muñoz, and Daniel Mark Nunes will make a commitment of celibacy and daily recitation of the Divine Office, while obtaining the ability to baptize, preach during Liturgies and witness Marriages.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha will perform the imposition of the hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit on the three men, who are scheduled to be ordained priests for the Fall River Diocese sometime in 2018.

Gill, 27, was born to William and Mary Gill in Providence, R.I. He has one brother, Timothy.

Gill attended St. John the Evangelist School and is a graduate of Bishop Feehan High School, both in Attleboro, and is studying for the priesthood at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.

“The upcoming ordination day is very exciting,” Gill told The Anchor. “I feel very much at peace but also a great joy and excitement. I am looking forward to serving as a deacon for the next year and, God willing, as a priest for the rest of my life in the Fall River Diocese.

“Vocations are beautiful because they mature as God’s grace flows in. Having been in the seminary for five years I have seen the Lord’s grace at work in my formation for the priesthood and I am very excited to start exercising the diaconate ministry for this upcoming year.” 

Gill placed a great deal of credit on the faithful across the diocese during his formation process: “The people of the diocese have been such a blessing throughout my time in seminary. They have sent notes, offered up prayers and been supportive in so many ways and for that I am very grateful.”

Gill will be serving at St. Anne’s Parish in Raynham.  His first Masses serving as deacon, including preaching his first homily, will be at St. John the Evangelist in Attleboro at 4 p.m. on May 27 and May 28 at 8, 10, and 11:30 a.m.

Muñoz, 35, was born in Medellín, Antioquia. He is the son of Jorge Ivan Munoz Toro and Maria Victoria Montoya Rua, one of six children.

He attended primary and high school in Chigorodó, Antioquia. He attended nursing school at Facultad de Enfermería Universidad de Antioquia; and medical school at Facultdad de Medicina Universidad de Antioquia, both in Medellín, Antioquia.

Muñoz’s pre-theology was completed at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., and theology at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton.

“At this time I am full of expectations concerning my ordination, it is a time to put into practice what we have learned at the seminary concerning the four pillars of the priesthood formation: human, intellectual, pastoral and Spiritual,” he told The Anchor. “To keep the balance among these pillars is essential. The thought of all the responsibilities and graces that come with the new ministry, and the thought of my family coming and all the preparations for the ordination must hold this balance. During this time, I have to remind myself that, even though they are important, they cannot take me away from my relationship with my Lord and God.”

Muñoz expressed great appreciation for the many pillars of support he’s encountered on his journey toward the priesthood. “My gratitude toward God and my self-awareness of the ministry soon to be embraced, makes me to think with gratitude in all the elements He has disposed in this path for me to see His call clearly. These elements that I am talking about, are the people and institutions that God has put in my way along all my life; my family, friends, the laity of the Church, the teachers, professors, religious orders, and priests; among them my pastors, my advisors and Spiritual directors, who with their support and instruction have given me the treasure of their own experience in the priestly ministry and the essence of their lives of service. I also give thanks to God for those whom, through different circumstances, have been part of my formation; the seminarians and parishioners who have spent some time with me and have supported me with their prayers and company. I am grateful for all of them, as well as, for all the situations in my life that have helped me to become the person I am right now.

“The thought of this journey towards the priesthood of our Lord cuts my breath and fills my eyes with tears of gratitude and benevolence for the love of God. To be a deacon for the service of God’s ministry is a great step in the life of a person who feels gratitude and love for the One true God. To be a deacon of the Lord is an honor that no human is worthy but that through grace and love is possible. My journey does not finish here; it just only stared and with the grace of God it would be possible.”

Muñoz will serve at St. Mary’s, and Sacred Heart parishes in North Attleboro, and St. Mark’s Parish in Attleboro Falls. He will preach his first homily at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Holy Name Church on May 28.

Nunes is a Fall River native, the son of Paul and Karen Nunes, and grew up in Swansea, along with one brother. He attended Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and later went to Providence College while enrolled at Our Lady of Providence Seminary.

Nunes later attended Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

“I finished my studies at St. John’s in 2010 but I didn’t feel ready for ordination so I left and decided to work in the corporate world for a few years,” Nunes told The Anchor. “I worked as the D.R.E. of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet for a few years,” before he found work elsewhere.

“Though I was working for a company with a great salary and growth potential, I felt empty,” he continued. “God’s call never went away and in fact it got louder. I contacted the Vocations Office and reapplied to the diocese. This last year I was assigned full-time to Christ the King Parish in Mashpee.

“It almost doesn’t seem real. What I mean by that is Christ could have chosen anyone to serve Him, yet He has chosen me and my brother seminarians to be ordained; we broken and flawed men. It is truly humbling.

“My thoughts on how I got here, the old saying is, ‘God writes straight with crooked lines,’ sums up my life. I had a plan for my life and God had a different one. When I was working I had everything the world said was necessary for happiness: a stable job, money, respect, promotion prospects; yet I was not happy. I was not serving God. For those of you who are thinking about a vocation or know someone who is, I encourage you to pursue that vocation. The diocese and the world needs more young men who are willing to be priests and deacons and more young women to embrace the religious life.”  

Nunes will be serving at Holy Name Parish in Fall River for the year. He will preach his first Mass as a deacon at Christ the King Church in Mashpee May 28 at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Father Chris Peschel, associate diocesan director of  Vocations and Seminarians announced three Holy Hours for Vocations that are being held before the upcoming Transitional Diaconate Ordination.

May 24 at 7 p.m. — St. John the Evangelist Parish in Attleboro;

May 25 at 6:30 p.m. — Christ the King Parish in Mashpee; 

May 26 at 6:30 p.m. — Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Parish in New Bedford (bilingual).    

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