Seminarian will be ordained to the transitional diaconate

After he’s ordained to the transitional diaconate for the Archdiocese of Louisville Feb. 18, Michael Schultz is looking forward to sharing in the lives of God’s people.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating the sacraments with and for the people of God,” said Schultz during a recent interview. “You get to share in the joys and sorrows. You become a representative of Christ in those moments.”

Schultz is one of 11 men in formation for the priesthood for the archdiocese and one of five being ordained to the transitional diaconate this year. His ordination will take place at 11 a.m. Feb. 18 at the Cathedral of the Assumption. The other four men will be ordained on March 25.

Schultz is being ordained separately because the archdiocese has invited Bishop John Michael Botean — of the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton, Ohio — to be present at the ordination.

Schultz, 24, was born in Sibiu, Romania, and adopted by Kathleen and Greg Schultz. He describes his adoption as a “great grace.”

“Being adopted is a fundamental part of my life story and vocation story,” he said. His parents “treasured” the fact that he was adopted and encouraged him to explore his Romanian heritage, he noted.

The archdiocese has also been supportive of Schultz as he explored his heritage as it connects to his formation, he said.

Schultz spent time last summer in the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George “deepening” his connection to his heritage and learning about the Byzantine rite under the guidance of Bishop Botean.

Father Martin Linebach, interim vocation director, said archdiocesan leaders consider Schultz’s heritage and unique faith formation to be a benefit to the archdiocese.

Archbishop Emeritus Joseph E. Kurtz saw a need to serve members of the Eastern rite churches and realized how Schultz could be of service, Father Linebach said. Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre has also been supportive of the possibility of Schultz being “bi-ritual” (able to preside over rituals in both the Roman Catholic and the Romanian Catholic traditions), said Father Linebach.

Schultz noted that, as a deacon, he will be able to assist, in a limited capacity, with the celebration of some of the sacraments in the Byzantine rite.

When Schultz is ordained to the diaconate he will begin a final year of preparation for the priesthood. The transitional diaconate is a is a step on the path to ordination.

Father Linebach said he hopes Schultz — and the other four seminarians to be ordained deacons in March — will “grow in appreciation for the sacramental life of the church” during the diaconal year.

Ordination to the transitional diaconate affords the new deacons the “opportunity to preach, sharing in the proclamation of sacred Scripture and the Gospel,” something he hopes Schultz and the others will “relish,” Father Linebach said.

He added that it has been an “honor and a privilege” to walk with Schultz and the other men on their path to priesthood.

Following the ordination, an evening prayer service and reception will take place at 7 p.m. at the cathedral. A Mass of thanksgiving, where Schultz will preach, will be celebrated Feb. 19 at 11 a.m. at St. Athanasius Church, 5915 Outer Loop. All are invited to attend the celebrations.

Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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