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Jacob Toma ordained a deacon

By Deacon Kyle Eller 
The Northern Cross 

Bishop Daniel Felton ordained Jacob Toma a deacon of the Diocese of Duluth, in a Mass on the diocesan patronal feast, Oct. 7, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Bishop Daniel Felton symbolically hands on the Book of the Gospels to Deacon Grant Toma as part of the ordination rite Oct. 7, as Deacon Grant Toma, the ordinand’s father, looks on. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

Deacon Toma, from Hibbing, was ordained as part of his journey toward priestly ordination. Assisting Bishop Felton at the Mass was his father, Deacon Grant Toma, who is a permanent deacon of the diocese. Among those in attendance were also his mother Deborah, his brother, and his two sisters, along with students from Assumption School in Hibbing and the Holy Rosary Campus of Stella Maris Academy. 

Bishop Felton, in his homily, asked Deacon Toma’s family and friends to consider the call of the deacon and its duties, which include proclaiming the Gospel, preparing the sacrifice of the Mass, distributing Holy Communion, baptizing, presiding at weddings and funerals, engaging in works of charity, and more. 

“Now, the way he goes about these duties, you should be able to recognize him as a disciple of Jesus Christ, who came to serve, not to be served,” the bishop said. “… Because in the end, Jacob, today is really not about you at all but rather is a celebration of what the Lord wants to do in you and through you in your service to and for others.” 

He said the call is to follow the mandate and example of Jesus himself. 

“As Deacon Jacob, how many times you will be called upon to put a towel around your waist, pick up a bowl of water, as you spend the rest of your life washing the feet of the downtrodden, the brokenhearted, and the marginalized,” Bishop Felton said. 

He noted that Deacon Toma’s first job — as a dishwasher — was just one step in preparation for the diaconal call, where he will wash feet and not dishes.

Deacon Jacob Toma, left, and Deacon Grant Toma assist Bishop Daniel Felton during the ordination Mass Oct. 7. (Photo by Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

The bishop also held up the example of Mary to the new deacon, noting that she had been “so present” to Deacon Toma “in these last days of preparing for your ordination.” He said the new deacon had begun his pre-ordination retreat on the feast of the Nativity of Mary, had concluded it on the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, and was being ordained on the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, the patronal feast of the Duluth Diocese. 

“Through the intercession of Mary, may you follow her example and recall always that this ordination is not about you,” he said. “It is all about the Lord Jesus Christ calling you to do as he has done, not to be served but to serve.” 

Deacon Toma is presently assigned to serve the Cathedral and at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Duluth.