FORT MILL—Deacon David Bartholomew is starting a new journey of service to God after being ordained by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone on Oct. 22 at St. Philip Neri Church.
Dozens of deacons and priests attended the joyful liturgy. Members of Deacon Bartholomew’s family, plus friends and supporters from the parish and community also turned out.
In his homily, Bishop Guglielmone described the role the new deacon would have in the life of the parish and the Church. As a permanent deacon, he will be able to proclaim the Gospel during liturgies, assist the priest during Mass, baptize, witness marriages, preside at wakes and funerals, lead benedictions and prayer services, and visit the sick and dying.
“As a minister of Jesus Christ, do the will of God from the heart and serve the people of God with love and joy, as you would serve the Lord,” Bishop Guglielmone said.
During the liturgy, Deacon Bartholomew prostrated himself before the altar during the Litany of Supplication, when the congregation asks Christ, Mary, saints and holy men and women to intercede for the new deacon. The bishop placed his hands on him and prayed. Oratorian Father John Giuliani, pastor at St. Philip Neri, vested him with the stole and dalmatic, worn by a deacon as a sign of his vocation.
After the ordination, Bishop Guglielmone gave a special blessing to the deacon’s wife Lynn, and his mother, Nancy Pacourek, who traveled from Illinois for the event.
Mrs. Pacourek said her son had always completed any task he set for himself, and she was proud he had reached the milestone of ordination.
“It was so awesome to see him become a deacon,” she said. “During the ceremony, I prayed and said ‘Lord, I give him to you.’”
“This was a day of joy, praise and thanksgiving for us,” Mrs. Bartholomew said. “I know David will be a dedicated servant of the Lord because he knows he can’t do it alone and needs God’s grace to help him.”
Deacon Bartholomew was one of four children who grew up in a devout Catholic home, mostly in Illinois. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines right after high school graduation and served for eight years, then moved to Rock Hill in 1988 after leaving the military. He is a steel fabricator and owns his own welding shop.
He said he spent many years discerning how he could best serve God, including during the difficult time after he lost his first wife to cancer. Deacon Bartholomew is an ultra-marathon runner and said it was during one of his daily runs several years ago that he heard God’s call to study for the permanent diaconate. During his five years of study, he balanced the diaconate program with family commitments, work, and classes at York Technical College.
Now that he has been ordained, Deacon Bartholomew said he is especially excited about teaching religious education classes, guiding others on their spiritual journeys and helping the elderly.
“It’s not about me — it’s about the Church and the people,” he said. “I feel like a whole new journey is starting.”