Most Reverend Adam J. Parker, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, ordained Friar Richard Rome, OFM Conv. to the Order of Deacon on Oct. 6, at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, Md, a ministry of the Franciscan Friars Conventual. Friar Richard can now proclaim Gospel readings, preach homilies, and preside over baptisms, weddings, and rites of Christian burial.
“It is a joy and privilege to be here,” Bishop Parker said as he opened the Mass. “This celebration is a reminder of our Lord’s mandate to make disciples and lived as disciples.” Bishop Parker was filling in for Most Reverend Dennis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop emeritus of Baltimore, who was sick and unable to attend. Bishop Parker delivered the homily Bishop Madden was to give. “This diaconal year is a special time that God provides you with in order to perfect as best you can the gift of service which He has already implanted in you.”
“Friar Rich’s unassuming personality will serve him well as he performs his ministry as a friar-deacon,” said Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv. “His homilies are well prepared and truly touch the hearts of his listeners. I know that the people at Saint Casimir’s Baltimore will help him develop his skills as together they build the Lord’s Kingdom.”
Friar Rome will perform his diaconate ministry at St. Casimir Church in Baltimore, where he will be ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., Archbishop of Atlanta, on June 8, 2024.
“I feel like I am entering into a different kind of ministry for the Church, a ministry of service,” Friar Rich said. “Having said that, I’ve been in a ministry of service the whole time I have been a friar. But I feel like this is a call to serve at table, the table of the Word and of the Eucharist.”
Born in Norfolk, Va., Friar Rome is the son of Sharon and Kenneth Rome, Captain U.S. Navy (Retired). He has a brother, Jim. He grew up in the Military Archdiocese, moving every two years. He lived in Virginia, Maryland, Rhode Island, and Italy. Friar Richard is a graduate of The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and Classics. He received a Master of Science in Supply Chain Management at Towson University in Towson, Md., and is completing his Master of Divinity at Catholic University of American in Washington, D.C. Before entering the order, he spent eight years as a United States Army Civil Servant working in logistics.
Friar Rome spent his postulancy year in Chicago followed by his novitiate at Arroyo Grande, Calif. His post-novitiate studies were performed in Silver Spring, Md., followed by an apostolic year in Shamokin, Penn, and post-novitiate studies in Silver Spring.
“I have thought about the images of St. Francis at Greccio, such as in the Assisi Upper Basilica, where he is leading the faithful in making the ﬁrst live Nativity scene,” Friar Rome said. “In those images, St. Francis is dressed as a deacon holding the Christ-child. In that image, I see what I am to aspire to as a friar-deacon: to bear the Word of God in a way that others can experience Him.”