FOREST HILL — The first degree of Holy Orders took on a rare air Aug. 8 at St. Ignatius, Hickory.
Deacon Scott Kady was the only man ordained to the transitional diaconate for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Instead of being downtown at the Baltimore Basilica, the usual location for the rite, it was held at the Harford County parish where he began the 2019-20 school year on weekend duty and has been in residence since the coronavirus pandemic reordered lives in mid-March.
Deacon Kady, who initially was scheduled to become a transitional deacon May 16, remains on track to be ordained a priest in June 2021.
“It’s humbling, but it’s not frightening. It’s joyful,” he said after pledging an oath to embrace “humble charity, steadfast faith, prayer and the Christian life,” to Archbishop William E. Lori, his fellow priests and the faithful, all observing social distancing.
Deacons Zachary Crowley and Evan Ponton, whose ordination to the priesthood was similarly delayed from June 20 until Aug. 22, assisted the archbishop. Besides him, they were the only other clergy to welcome Deacon Kady with the “fraternal kiss,” a tradition akin to a receiving line.
Concelebrants included approximately two dozen priests. Joining the archbishop on the altar for the liturgy of the eucharist were Bishop Adam Parker; Bishop-designate Bruce Lewandowski, whose episcopal ordination is Aug. 18; Monsignor Jay O’Connor, episcopal vicar for the eastern vicariate, and Monsignor James Barker, pastor of St. Ignatius.
Monsignor James Hannon, pastor of Our Lady of Grace in Parkton, vested Deacon Kady with the stole and dalmatic. His former assignments included being pastor of St. Peter in Westernport, Deacon Kady’s home parish, but the priest described himself as a proxy for Monsignor Paul Byrnes. The retired pastor led the parish in in the early 1980s, when Deacon Kady converted from the Methodist faith.
“When Scott came home, he would attend daily Mass, and that crowd adored him,” Monsignor Hannon said. “It was an older group, but he was present to them, this younger guy. He became part of their community, and cared a lot about them.”
Back then, home for Deacon Kady was Houston and Saudi Arabia, where his career in the oil business took him. In his homily, Archbishop Lori referenced the life experience that the 58-year-old will bring to the priesthood.
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“I want to thank you for your responsiveness to a vocation that you embraced with the wisdom that only experience can bring, but also with a joy and enthusiasm characteristic of the young,” the archbishop said. “Let us thank Jesus, the good shepherd, who led you along life’s highways and byways.”
Deacon Kady is a native of Piedmont, W.Va., part of the “Tri-Towns” that include Westernport and Luke across the Potomac in southern Allegany County. Family and friends in attendance included his brother, Bill, and his wife, Kay.
Deacon Kady said that his gratitude includes both returning to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore for the 2020-21 school year, and that St. Ignatius will continue to be his weekend assignment during his final year of preparation.
A few hours after his ordination to the transitional diaconate, Deacon Kady was to offer his first homily at the Saturday 4 p.m. Mass there.
The morning liturgy included the first whiff of incense since Christmas for some of the laypeople in attendance, among them Rosina Cascio, a longtime receptionist at the parish, who turned 100 June 27.
Earlier in the rite, as Deacon Kady prostrated himself at the altar, rays of light through windows on the east side of the church touched his left shoulder.
In his homily, Archbishop Lori referenced not just the three readings, but how the second, Acts 6:1-7, “expanded into a host of charitable ministries” that follow Jesus’s words in Matthew 25.
“Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, welcoming the stranger,” the archbishop said. “There is no substitute for a ministry of charity that is ‘hands on’ – and it must signal that, as a priest, you will continue to love the poor and in some way serve them personally, not just programmatically.”
The archbishop’s closing blessing included a plea to pray for vocations: “Pray that God will send us many fine future priests, just like Scott.”
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