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Brooklyn Diocese welcomes new transitional deacon with dedication to deaf community

Bishop Brennan ordains new transitional deacon Samuel Mwiwawi on Jan. 7, 2023.
Bishop Brennan ordained a new transitional deacon, Samuel Mwiwawi, on Jan. 7, 2023.
Courtesy of DeSales Media

Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan ordained Samuel M. Mwiwawi to the transitional diaconate in southern Brooklyn this past weekend.

Mwiwawi previously studied philosophy and theology in both Kenya and Uganda before joining the Dominican Missionary Foundation in New Jersey, which serves the deaf community. He then went on to attend the Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Massachusetts for a year, prior to his eventual service to the Diocese of Brooklyn, where he began work in 2018.

Deeply committed to serving his Catholic community, Mwiwawi learned American Sign Language (ASL) to be able to communicate with deaf parishioners, according to the diocese.

“Deacon Samuel’s love for sign language and the deaf community helps to foster a spirit of worship, that access to God who loves us so much,” said Bishop Brennan in his remarks on Jan. 7. “You proclaim the Good News, you lift the burdens, and you set people free. In the parish ministries, the school and religious education, in service to the elderly and to the deaf, it is Christ who you bring, not just social action.”

The ceremony drew hundreds of parishioners to the St. Bernard of Clairvaux Roman Catholic Church on the border of Bergen Beach and Mill Basin area, where Mwiwawi was ordained so he could continue his journey to priesthood.

According to the diocese, the role of transitional deacon allows those studying for ordination to have the same abilities as a permanent deacon, while still pursuing priesthood.

Monsignor Joseph Grimaldi vested the new deacon during the Mass of Ordination which granted Mwiwawi the ability to administer the sacraments of marriage and baptism as well as preaching. He will be ordained as a priest in June of this year. 

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