Bishop Kulick Ordains Ford City Native to Transitional Diaconate
By Cliff Gorski
The Catholic Accent
Photos by Mary Seamans
The Catholic Accent
GREENSBURG — May 21, 2022- This is a day that Andrew Hamilton has been looking forward to and has daydreamed about. Today at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, the Ford City native was ordained a transitional deacon by Bishop Larry J. Kulick . “We rejoice today that God has chosen and called you to His Holy Orders and on the blessings he has bestowed on us through all of the prayers and support during your formation,” Bishop Kulick said in his opening remarks. Bishop Kulick thanked Deacon Andrew’s parents, family and friends for allowing him to be formed in the Gospel message. Bishop Kulick also remarked with gratitude the tremendous support Hamilton’s home parish, Christ, Prince of Peace parish in Ford City, has given in support of vocations, both past and present. Father Tyler Bandura and Father Eric J. Dinga, are native sons of the parish and were part of the liturgical celebration. Father Dinga is the Pastor of Christ, Prince of Peace and St. Lawrence Parish in Cadogan.
Deacon Hamilton graduated as salutatorian of his Ford City High School Class in 2015. He went on to attend Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to major in history. In 2016 he was accepted into the priestly formation program. In 2019, he graduated from Gannon University and completed college and minor seminary at St. Mark Seminary, both in Erie. He currently attends Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.
Despite growing up in the Catholic faith, it was not something that Hamilton had a desire to practice or seek greater understanding of its principals. As he went off to college, he began to question his purpose in life and his place in the universe. “A God whose nature is love finally made sense to me and I realized that I would not exist if not for God wanting to will me into existence to share in His divine life,” he said.
It was through an invitation by other faith-filled young people at Saint Vincent College that Deacon Hamilton returned to the sacraments. His new zeal in faith caused him to consider the seminary and the priesthood. After touring a minor seminary on a whim, Deacon Hamilton realized he wanted to study to be a priest. “A question consistently popped into my head: ‘If not me, then who?’”
During his Homily, Bishop Kulick reminded Deacon Andrew that it is now his responsibility to preach the word of God. “You become an agent of evangelization in a world that not only needs to hear the Word of God, but needs to hear that Word explained to them,” Bishop Kulick said. “You will be called to baptize and bring people through the dry desert of the world to the pools and springs of everlasting life.”
During his ordination, Deacon Hamilton solemnly committed himself to serving the people of God with humble charity, faithfully proclaiming the Gospel, living a life of prayer, conforming his life to Christ, and practicing celibacy and obedience to the Diocesan bishop.
Deacon Hamilton is anxious to begin his summer assignment in the Diocese. He has been assigned to St. Joseph Parish, St. John the Evangelist Parish. St. Mary (Nativity) Parish and St. Therese, Little Flower of Jesus Parish, all in Uniontown. “I am looking forward to helping the four parishes this summer and assist in any way that I can, pastorally,” he said. As a deacon, he can preside at weddings and funerals outside of Mass, preach the homily at liturgical ceremonies, and offer blessings, including benediction. Until he is ordained a priest next year, he is not able to celebrate Mass, consecrate the body and blood of Christ, hear confessions, or anoint the sick.
Deacon Hamilton holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Gannon University. He is the son of William and Donna Hamilton of Ford City, and he has a sister, Kathryn.