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|Published: Friday, February 2, 2007|
Deacons' largest class marks silver anniversary year
The largest class of deacons ordained in a single year for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles celebrates its silver jubilee this week.
On the morning of Jan. 30, 1982, Cardinal Timothy Manning ordained 36 men to the permanent diaconate at St. Vibiana's Cathedral. The men --- all of them married, representing a variety of occupations --- included the first 12 to have gone through the Spanish-language diaconate formation program for the archdiocese.
Among the latter group was Deacon Arthur (Art) Escovedo, 73, who has served as deacon for 25 years at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Claremont. His wife, Nadine, helped him "brush up" his childhood Spanish in order to take classes in that language.
Recently, Art and Nadine celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary which means that fully half of their married life has been spent as a deacon "couple." Parishioners for over 40 years, they raised four daughters at Our Lady of the Assumption and now have eight grandchildren. "He is a much-respected and beloved leader in the Catholic community of OLA," said Msgr. Thomas Welbers, pastor.
Through the years, Deacon Escovedo and his wife have served an important role in the leadership of the parish's Spanish-speaking community, and in sacramental preparation, both in English and in Spanish, for baptism and matrimony. The deacon teaches a weekly Bible study class in Spanish, leads a regular RCIA session for inquirers, and serves as a member of the pastoral team. His ministry includes officiating at baptisms, weddings, vigils, and graveside services.
Escovedo --- who graduated in 1961 from the University of Southern California in pharmacology, and at one time operated a local pharmacy --- was honored to serve at the Papal Mass at Dodger's Stadium with Pope John Paul II on Sept. 16, 1987, as a representative of the deacons of the Archdiocese. He is now in "active retirement."
Ordained with him on Jan. 30, 1982 were the following deacons, many still in active ministry in the archdiocese (current parish assignment in parentheses, as per the 2007 Archdiocesan Directory):
Richard Acquaviva, Bruce Baker, Alden Bohlig (St. Barnabas, Long Beach), Jose Caro, Arthur Carr, Magdaleno Compean, Nino Crisafulli (Mary Star of the Sea, San Pedro), Marvin Estey (Holy Name of Mary, San Dimas), Art Fitzpatrick, Sam Frias (St. John Baptist de La Salle, Granada Hills), Ralph Fry, Juan Galido Jr. (Our Lady of Lourdes, Northridge), Leslie Gaspar, Ted Goodreau, Paul Imrisek, Joseph Ledoux (St. Albert the Great, Compton), Alexander Lipski, Jose Lopez, Reyes Marrero, Harold Miller, Ernest Nosari, Harold Parish (Mary Star of the Sea, Oxnard), John Picard (Blessed Junipero Serra, Camarillo), Leon Ramirez, Valentin Ramos, Norberto Ricamora, Raymond Rivera (St. Bridget of Sweden, Van Nuys), Hernando Rodriguez (Resurrection, East L.A.), Gus Sebenius (San Gabriel Region Office), Clarke Shea, Ernesto Silva, Jose Toruno, Raul Viramontes, Paul Weber and Peter Wilson Jr. (St. Rose of Lima, Simi Valley) .
At the time, the 1982 ordination brought the total number of deacons serving in the archdiocese to 128, with the first group having been ordained in 1975. There are currently more than 230 deacons serving in the archdiocese.