The event’s importance was underscored during the Rite of Ordination, when Bishop Matano formally elected Deacon Chichester for ordination and the congregation showed its consent — in the form of a long ovation that grew louder and louder, with many well-wishers rising to their feet.
Father Chichester said that his personal highlights from the Mass included music from the diocesan choir, which he described as “just fantastic,” as well as “the prayerful support of all the people who were here, as well as those who wanted to be here and couldn’t be.” He noted that a busload of people traveled north to the Mass from his home parish of St. Luke the Evangelist in Livingston County, and that additional supporters were on hand from parishes around the diocese at which he has served while preparing for the priesthood. Father Chichester’s mother, Elaine, served as lector for the Mass (his father, David, passed away in 2014), and several family members brought up the gifts.
Father Chichester is due to begin his first priestly assignment at St. Joseph and Holy Spirit parishes in Penfield, where he will serve as parochial vicar.
Deacon Nguyen, 46, is a Vietnam native who lived in Florida until 2009. At the ordination, he was surrounded by his family, including his wife, Vy, and their two young daughters, ages 4 and 7. Many parishioners from the Vietnamese faith community at Parish of the Holy Family in Gates also were present.
For Deacon Walter, the moment represented saying yes to God. A parishioner of Our Lady of Victory/St. Joseph in Rochester, he currently attends St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, Mass.
“I know I’m giving myself to God,” said Deacon Walter, 36. “The bishop is accepting (me) for the church … and for the saving of souls.”
Vocations are God’s way of saying to the faithful, “I’m still here,” to heal them, shelter them and care for them, he added.
“It’s very beautiful,” said Deacon Walter.