In the Archdiocese of San Antonio a father and a son were both ordained deacons last Saturday, one to the permanent diaconate and the other to the transitional diaconate.
Usually, fathers inspire their sons, but when Paul Lara left home to study for the Catholic priesthood in 1997, his father became more active in church.
Eventually, Rafael Lara decided to seek ordination as a deacon.
Paul Lara, 38, and Rafael Lara, 64, were among 28 men ordained as deacons Saturday by Archbishop José Gomez. Catholic deacons are ordained ministers who perform such ministries as baptisms, marriages, funerals, burial rites, preaching and visiting the sick.
But Paul Lara is one of three in the group who will go on to become an ordained priest. The rest will remain deacons for life.
Paul Lara is a Legionary of Christ who received special permission to attend his father’s ordination and then his superior asked Archbishop José Gomez if he would perform Paul’s diaconal ordination.
“My wife and I suspected our son’s vocation to the priesthood about two years before he told us,” the elder Lara said. “We started noticing his car parked in front of the chapel at St. Matthew’s late at night. That was very uncommon for a young man.”
Shortly after Paul Lara entered the seminary, his father became more committed in his faith, attending daily Mass and reciting the rosary. He became a Eucharistic minister and began helping prepare the altar for Mass.
In 2002, he received approval to begin studies to become a deacon.
“I was praying that I’d live long enough to see Paul celebrate Mass at least once,” the beaming father said.
The younger Lara is expected to be ordained this coming December in Rome.