SALINAS, CA – Two prospective Catholic U.S. Air Force Chaplains were ordained transitional deacons on Friday, May 31, 2019, in Salinas, CA. The Reverend Mr. Tyler Harris (right center in photo), 2d Lt, USAFR, and the Rev. Mr. Adam Woodward, 2d Lt, USAFR, both hope eventually to serve as priests on active duty with endorsement and faculties from the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA(AMS).
Both new deacons are participating in priestly formation at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA. Their diaconal ordination was celebrated at Madonna del Sasso Catholic Church through the laying of hands and the prayer of consecration invoking the Holy Spirit by Bishop Daniel Garcia of Monterey, CA. The AMS was represented by Auxiliary Bishop Joseph L. Coffey, CHC, CAPT (Sel), USN, who concelebrated the 6:00 p.m. ordination Mass.
Diaconal ordination marks the next-to-last step in the formational journey to priesthood. Deacons Harris and Woodward are scheduled to be ordained priests next year, after which each will serve for three years in their home Diocese of Monterey and in the Air Force Reserve while preparing to go on active duty.
The Rev. Mr. Harris, 39, is a 2014 graduate of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, CA, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy. He has served for eighteen years in the Air Force and the Air Force Reserve. “It’s a humbling experience,” he said, commenting on his diaconal ordination. “I feel honored to serve at the altar and proclaim the Gospel to the people of God. I’ve waited a long time for this day and it was wonderful to share it with my family and friends.”
The Rev. Mr. Woodward, 35, is a 2005 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, MA, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications. He was employed for several years as a social worker, mental health counselor, and educator, and he joined the Air Force Reserve in 2013 before entering the seminary. “The call closer to God has patiently drawn me all my life,” he said. “The call to priesthood became clearer as a result of being brought closer to God. God constantly pursues our hearts and fights for our attention so that He can overwhelm us even a little more with His love which changes our desires and causes us to want to love others. This gift seeks to captivate us by unearned grace, always trying to give us more. I am grateful.”
Young men interested in discerning a priestly vocation, and the vocation within a vocation to serve those who serve in the U.S. military, can find more information at www.milarch.org/vocations, or may contact Father Aidan Logan, O.C.S.O., at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 719-3600.