SAN DIEGO — Bishop Robert W. McElroy will ordain six local men to the permanent diaconate on Friday, June 7, during a 4 p.m. liturgy at St. Thomas More Parish in Oceanside.
The following are profiles of the soon-to-be-ordained.
Most Precious Blood Parish, Chula Vista
Scott Frampton returned to the Church in 2006, and he brought with him a desire to serve. Plunging himself into the various ministries available at Most Precious Blood Parish, he took on the roles of lector, cantor, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and even head of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program.
But, somehow, that still wasn’t enough.
“I always felt a tugging to use my gifts to the fullest,” he said.
At Mass, opening his eyes after a period of prayer, he found himself “riveted” by the actions of the deacon at the altar. He felt that this was precisely the ministry to which God was calling him.
“By serving the Church as a permanent deacon, I feel I am fulfilling God’s will for me,” he said. “I find that I am using all the gifts He gave me when I was created.”
Frampton, 56, has been retired since June 2015. He previously served as a U.S. Navy Nuclear Engineering Officer and as a medical health physicist at the Naval Medical Center.
As a deacon, he looks forward to helping “bring God more fully into” marriages, families and the formation of men as Catholic leaders.
He and his wife, Jennifer, split their time between Most Precious Blood Parish, where he has been a member for more than 13 years, and St. Rose of Lima Parish, where she teaches seventh grade and has been a lifelong parishioner. He will exercise his diaconal ministry at Most Precious Blood.
Edward “Ned” Heiskell
St. Mark Parish. San Marcos
“Ned, I want you to serve Me as a deacon.”
That was what Edward “Ned” Heiskell felt that Jesus was telling him in early 2013 as he knelt in silent
prayer after receiving Communion at Mass.
It was “a profound experience” and both “surprising and unnerving,” the 54-year-old said.
Deciding to use that upcoming Lenten season for vocational discernment, he imagined
two possible futures: one in which he accepted and another in which he rejected
“Saying ‘yes’ always felt right and saying ‘no’ always felt wrong,” he said.
Heiskell, an HOA property manager for Seabreeze Management, said he welcomes the opportunity to serve the Church as a deacon, seeing it as “a precious gift.”
However, it’s a gift that Jesus may have been trying to give him for years before he finally realized it.
Heiskell recently came across a letter he had written to a friend during his college years after discerning that he wasn’t called to the priesthood. In that letter, he wrote that the desire to serve others had been a constant in his life since high school and acknowledged that God doesn’t engrave our vocations in stone like the Ten Commandments.
“Here I am a few decades later and, although I still don’t have any stone tablets, I do know for sure that I have found my true vocations in life” as a husband, father and deacon, he said.
Heiskell and his wife, Kathy, have been married for almost 30 years and have attended St. Mark Parish since 1992.
Jose Marino Hernandez
St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish, Oceanside
In 1994, Jose Marino Hernandez’s wife fell deeply in love with the Lord.
She had always been Catholic, but something changed, and she began filling her days with Bible reading,
religious music and prayer groups.
Hernandez admits that, at the time, he was “totally opposed to her new way of living.”
But, before the end of that year, he had his own life-changing encounter with God.
“From that day on, we started following the Lord as a couple and as a family,” said Hernandez, 55.
In the years that followed, priests (including future Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan) and others would encourage him to consider the diaconate. But he still didn’t act on it.
Then, while serving as sacristan at Mass, Hernandez was watching the priest elevate the Body and Blood of Christ, and he heard Jesus asking when he would accept the call to diaconal service. With tears in his eyes, Hernandez determined that it was time.
“I give thanks to God for setting His eyes [on] this unworthy servant,” Hernandez said, grateful that Jesus would choose him when others might be equally or better qualified.
Hernandez, who has worked as a city bus driver in the North County area for seven years, describes the diaconate as “a big responsibility” and one for which he will need the prayerful support of the entire community in order to “serve them with the dignity they deserve.”
Hernandez and his wife, Andrea, have been married for 35 years, and have attended St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish for 25 years.
Santa Sophia Parish, Spring Valley
Michael Moore said he and his wife were devout “Sunday Catholics,” but he felt “there had to be
He first searched for it in the Knights of Columbus, which led him to Cursillo and involvement with Kairos Prison Ministry.
During a chat with a deacon who was also involved with detention ministry, Moore
asked what had led him to the diaconate.
“His answers were a mirror of everything I had been experiencing — knowing there was more that God wanted from me,” said Moore, 57. “He encouraged me to pray about it.”
When he recounted that conversation to his wife, she smiled and replied, “I always said you should be a deacon.”
They prayed about it and ultimately decided to enter the diaconal formation program.
For Moore, who has worked for SDG&E since 2001, being a deacon is about “service, plain and simple, wherever there is a need.”
The past four years of formation, which included involvement in hospital, hospice, homeless and prison ministries, have been a blessing.
“It has shown me how many people need God’s love and mercy, and I’ve learned that He will use me to bring His gifts to His children,” he said.
Though he looks forward to baptizing new members of the Church — one of several new duties that he will assume as a deacon — he is most excited about discovering God’s plan for his life.
“I know He’s got something in store,” he said.
Moore and his wife, Aimee, have been married for 39 years and have attended Santa Sophia Parish since 2014.
Holy Trinity Parish, El Cajon
When Sister Carlotta DiLorenzo, then director of the diocesan Office for the Permanent Diaconate, spoke about diaconal ministry during a visit to his parish, Daniel Ramos didn’t realize that she was talking about his future vocation.
“I was too young to even be considered a candidate,” the 39-year-old said, “but I had originally thought the diaconate would be great for my brother.”
Over the next two or three years, he forgot all about the diaconate. But, during a period in which he was reflecting on how he might better serve the Lord, he found Sister DiLorenzo’s business card. At the time, he and his wife also had been struggling with infertility and praying to be blessed with children.
The same year he scheduled his meeting with Sister DiLorenzo about the diaconate, his wife also discovered that she was pregnant with their first child. (They have since had two more.) Ramos took that as a sign.
As a deacon, he believes that he is called “to be open to God’s will and to be attentive to the needs of the people.”
“The role of the deacon in parish life,” he said, “is to be a servant to the priest during liturgy and to the community … by being [a] herald of the Good News and by glorifying the Lord with my own life.”
Ramos and his wife, Erika, have been married for almost 20 years, and have been members of Holy Trinity Parish since 1992.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish,
It was Pope Francis that provided the impetus for Timothy Schulz’s discernment of a call to the diaconate.
In March 2013, during his first general audience, the Pope had called on Catholics to get out of their comfort zones.
“I really felt like he was talking to me personally,” said Schulz, 58, who at the time was already actively involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an organization dedicated to serving the poor.
“The pope’s call seemed to be asking me for more, to reach down deeper inside and share my talents with a larger group of people,” said Schulz, who has been a facility manager at UCSD Central Utilities/Cogeneration Plant for 13 years.
At first, Schulz didn’t know what leaving his comfort zone would entail, but through prayer, he came to believe that it would involve the diaconate.
“Serving the Church as a deacon, for me, means taking on the task of building the kingdom of God here on earth, which will hopefully prepare us all for the kingdom of God in heaven,” said Schulz, who believes that permanent deacons are also well-positioned to be “the bridge between the laity and clergy.”
He looks forward to working with and for his fellow parishioners, encouraging them through his example to serve one another and the Church.
“Through that service,” he said, “we will grow in communion as a Christian family.”
Schulz and his wife, Esther, have been married for 33 years and have been members of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish for 19 years.