Deacons Van Dyke, Poyer, Billotto and Guardiola come from diverse backgrounds, but share mission to serve God and His Church

DETROIT — Promises were made, hugs were exchanged and tears of joy were shed Oct. 5 as Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron elevated four men to the office of deacon during an ordination Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Newly ordained Deacons Fred Billotto, Alfredo Guardiola Jr., Aaron Poyer and J. Michael Van Dyke stood with their wives and families as the newest permanent deacons of the Archdiocese of Detroit, ready to serve in parishes and ministries and to use their gifts for the good of others.

Each of the four men will bring their diverse backgrounds as husbands, fathers, businessmen and public servants to their new role as ordained clergy. 

Deacon Billotto, 55, an engineering program manager, will serve at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Northville; Deacon Guardiola, 67, a retired environmental protection director, will serve at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park; Deacon Poyer, 52, who serves in law enforcement, will be stationed at Corpus Christi Parish in Detroit; and Deacon Van Dyke, 57, an automotive supply director, will serve at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

“We thank God almighty, who by His grace and love has brought us here,” said Deacon Poyer, speaking on behalf of his classmates. “The Giver of all good gifts has called us to the ministry of deacon in this time and in this place and despite our wanderings has guided us here. We are most grateful to God.”

Read more about them here, and see photos from the ordination Mass below.

The four men gather in prayer in the sacristy of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament before the Mass of ordination begins.
A full cathedral of friends, family and well-wishers gathers Oct. 5 to welcome four new deacons into ministry for the local Church.
Deacons from across the Archdiocese of Detroit served during the Mass of ordination -- a tradition of brotherhood that goes back to the 1970s, when St. John Paul II reinstated the ministry of the permanent deacon in the worldwide Church.
Family members attending the Mass pledged their support of the new deacons and their ministries, which includes, for each of the four, their wives. 
Deacon J. Michael Van Dyke and his wife, Juanita, sing the opening hymn during the Mass of ordination. 
A woman wears a Marian medal as she prays for the new deacons.
Fellow deacons pray during the Mass. When a new deacon is ordained, he chooses fellow clergy to be his “vesting ministers.”
Soon-to-be Deacon Alfredo Guardiola Jr. waits to be called to the altar by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron with his classmates. 
Family members pray quietly as the four men promise their fidelity to Archbishop Vigneron and his successors.
The soon-to-be-ordained deacons lie prostrate before the altar as the litany of saints is chanted. 
Archbishop Vigneron lays his hands on the head of Deacon Fred Billotto, ordaining him to the permanent diaconate.
Archbishop Vigneron embraces Deacon Aaron Poyer after ordaining him to the diaconate. 
Deacon J. Michael Van Dyke censes the congregation as one of his first liturgical acts as an ordained deacon.
Family members hold hands during the prayers of ordination.
Deacon Van Dyke and the other new deacons offered Communion to their family members and congregants as they served their first Mass.
Deacons of the Archdiocese of Detroit kneel in prayer during the Mass of ordination Oct. 5.
The new deacons offer Communion during Mass at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. 
Deacons J. Michael Van Dyke, Alfredo Guardiola Jr., Aaron Poyer and Fred Billotto smile during a group photo in the sacristy of the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament before their ordination Mass.

Read more about the Archdiocese of Detroit's newest deacons.