Bishop W. Shawn McKnight ordains Rev. Mr. Derek Hooper a transitional deacon for the Jefferson City diocese on May 30 in the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City.
“With your natural gifts and the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, you shall assist your bishop and his priests to help meet the pastoral obligations we have to those in our local Church,” Bishop McKnight told Rev. Mr. Hooper in his homily. “You are to serve as a pastoral bridge between the shepherds and their flocks with a special mission to remove the barriers and walls that might separate pastors from their flock.
“You will become a sacramental icon of Christ the Servant, Who came not to be served but to serve,” the bishop told him, “even to His death on the Cross.”
Among the concelebrating priests at the ordination were: Rev. Mr. Hooper’s brother, Father Gabriel Greer, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas; Father Michael Baldwin, a priest of the Wichita diocese, who helped Mr. Hooper put on his deacon vestments during the Mass; Father Daniel Merz, pastor of the Linn and Frankenstein parishes and diocesan director of the permanent diaconate; Father Jason Doke, diocesan moderator of the curia; Father Stephen Jones, president of Helias Catholic High School in Jefferson City, where Rev. Mr. Hooper taught for a year before continuing his seminary formation; Monsignor Gregory Higley, pastor of the Hermann and Rhineland parishes, where Rev. Mr. Hooper will minister this summer; and several other priests of the Wichita diocese.
Rev. Mr. Hooper hopes to be ordained a priest of the Jefferson City diocese next year, following the completion of his studies at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago.
“I look forward to growing in love and service of God with the people of the Diocese of Jefferson City,” Rev. Mr. Hooper stated. “I am excited to spend my life in prayer and service for you, and I am incredibly grateful and blessed to live out my vocation in this diocese.” (56 photos.)