Deacon Ordained in San Diego

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“Divine grace, which always cures the infirm, and supplies what is wanting, ordains the devout sub-deacon Frank, to the diaconate; therefore, let us pray for him that the grace of the most Holy Spirit may descend upon him, and let us all say: Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy.”
– From the prayer of ordination

On Sunday, May 18, Bishop Richard (Seminack) ordained Mr. Frank Avant to the sacred order of the Diaconate at St. John the Baptizer Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in La Mesa, California.

The pastor of St. John the Baptizer, Fr. James Bankston served as ecclesiarch.  Fr. Mykhailo Kuzma, a close friend of Fr. Deacon Frank, and pastor of Immaculate Conception Ukrainian Cath-olic Church in Palatine, Illinois, concelebrated.  Fr. Deacon Artur Bubnevych, of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church in San Diego served as proto-deacon. A number of parishioners of St. Mary Protectress Ukrainian Orthodox parish joined the combined choir that sang responses at the Hierarchical Liturgy which was for the first ordination ever from among the Ukrainian Catholic community in San Diego.

Fr. Deacon Frank was born in Peru in 1951 and was baptized and raised in the Latin tradition.  When he first encountered the Eastern Catholic Church as lived by Ukrainian Catholics, he fell in love with what he found and eventually petitioned and was granted a canonical change to the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Following this change and upon further prayerful discernment, he applied for and was accepted as a seminarian at St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Seminary in Washington D.C.  which serves the  Ukrainian Catholic eparchies of the United States.  Spiritual formation takes place at the seminary under the direction of the Rector, Fr. Robert Hitchens and the Spiritual Director, Fr. Wasyl Kharuk.

Fr. Deacon Frank’s academic studies took place at the school of Theology at Catholic University of America. Fr. Mark Morozowich, a Ukrainian Catholic priest, is Dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America.

Fr. Deacon Frank is married to Susan Avant, a speech pathologist at a San Diego school district. They have two children, Brandon and Erin. Fr. Deacon Frank also felt blessed that his 94-year old mother, Adriana, was able to attend this momentous occasion.

Following the ordination, the parish held a banquet, where Orthodox clergy honored us with their presence, to celebrate this joyful occasion for the Ukrainian community in the San Diego area. The banquet featured Peruvian dishes specially prepared under the direction of a parishioner, Megan Hartman, a young aspiring chef.

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