September 30, 2017

Local seminarian is ordained a transitional deacon during liturgy in Rome

By Rebecca Drake

Transitional Deacon Frank Furman gives Communion after his ordination in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. (IObserve photo/courtesy of Pontifical North American College)


SPRINGFIELD – Diocesan seminarian Frank Furman was ordained a transitional deacon on Sept. 28 at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Deacon Furman, a native of Easthampton and a student at the Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome, was ordained by Bishop James Checcio, the former rector of the seminary. Springfield Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski and Worcester, Mass., Bishop Robert J. McManus concelebrated the Mass along with several other bishops from throughout the United States.

Deacon Furman preaches his first homily during the Sept. 29 Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, at the Altar of the Chair. (IObserve photo/courtesy of Father Gary Dailey)

Speaking to iObserve by telephone shortly after the liturgy, Deacon Furman said the Mass in St. Peter’s was “very emotional” and said, “I can sympathize with couples preparing for marriage. While they are committing themselves to each other, I am committing myself to the church.”

He said the ordination also gave rise to feelings of nostalgia for him.

“I was thinking about all the people who got me there,” Deacon Furman said. “And I could see God’s hand in all of this and just be thankful for it.” He also said was looking forward to serving as a deacon on the Rome campus of the University of Loyola Chicago.

“I’m just excited to get into ministry. It will be great to get into preaching,” he said. “The preaching is the big thing.”

Deacon Furman also expressed gratitude for Bishop Rozanski’s presence at his ordination to the transitional diaconate. “It was such a blessing to have him here.”

Also present in Rome for Deacon Furman’s ordination and first Mass as a deacon was Father Gary M. Dailey, who on Oct. 1 will conclude his 13 years as vocations director for the Springfield Diocese.

Asked what the experience of seeing a seminarian ordained to the transitional diaconate is like for a vocations director, Father Dailey said, “As a vocations director, you’re a spiritual father. So, it’s like seeing a son accomplish something major. It gives great joy for me, seeing another seminarian who will be a priest celebrating the sacraments, celebrating the Mass.”

On Sept. 29, Deacon Furman proclaimed the Gospel for the first time and preached his first homily. In a video posted on his Facebook page, Bishop Rozanski noted the special significance of the date: the feast day of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.

“This morning as Deacon Frank Furman served his first Mass as a deacon in the Basilica of St. Peter’s, as we gathered with his family and friends, we also gave praise to God for the archangels, particularly St. Michael, who’s the patron saint of our diocese.”