John & Christopher Riehl, father and son, received holy orders together May 18, 2007!
Talk about keeping it in the family!
This father-son pair came before the Rt. Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz, Bishop of Knoxville, TN to recieve the sacrament of Holy Orders as deacons.
Christopher is preparing for the priesthood. John, the father of seven, was ordained a little earlier (by a month) than the rest of his class of 29 diaconal candidates so that this momentous event could take place side by side.
As it turns out, these two would not be the only father-son(-to-be-turned-Father)-diaconal duo (ordained at the same time) for long. 24 hours later, 1200 miles away, they were joined by Paul Lara, 38, and Rafael Lara, 64 who were two of 28 men ordained to the Diaconate by Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio, TX.
Paul, a member of the Legionaries of Christ, was given special permission to leave the LC seminary in Rome to join his father to recieve ordination apart from his class. He returned to Rome to join the rest of his classmates who had been ordained to the diaconate in Rome. He is to be ordained a priest in December.
What come’s first, the father’s vocation or the sons? For the Lara’s, the son had already been in formation with the Legion of Christ for some 5 years when the dad began formation for the diaconate.
But sometimes it happens the other way…As it turns out, this is not even the first time that a father and son have both been deacons. In the Diocese of Trenton, Deacon Gregory Wallack (ordained in 1984) served as a deacon at his son’s own diaconal and priestly ordinations in May and December of 2004 respectively. That is pretty cool.
Of course neither of these duos are the first families to have two generations in Holy Orders side by side. The two Greek Catholic priests shown here are Frs. Mikhail & Vitalii Shelemba. They are shown carrying the remains of martyred Soviet-era bishop, Bl. Theodore Romzha when his relics were transported to a new place of repose in Ukraine.