Bishop Michael G. Duca ordained six local men to become deacons Aug. 8 at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge.

The six men represent the first deacons who received their intellectual formation at the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Baton Rouge.

“This is one of those great moments when we see the church renewed by the faith of the people and by these men who have felt called and been called to serve the church as ordained deacons,” Duca said.

The Order of Deacon is the foundational level in the church’s Sacrament of Holy Orders, the two higher levels being the presbyterate (priests) and the episcopacy (bishops).

The six men ordained are commonly called “permanent deacons” because they do not anticipate ordination to the priesthood. They are all married and, if widowed, they must remain celibate and cannot remarry.

Deacons can proclaim the Gospel, preach, serve at the altar as an ordinary minister of Holy Communion and perform works of charity in service to the poor.

The newly ordained deacons, their home parishes and their parish assignments are:

Deacon Alec Campbell, of St. Alphonsus Parish, assigned to St. Patrick, Baton Rouge; Deacon Chris Landry, of Christ the King Parish, assigned to St. Jude, Baton Rouge; Deacon Billy Messenger, of Immaculate Conception Parish in Denham Springs, assigned as chaplain at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola; Deacon Ehren Oschwald, of St. Jules Parish in Belle Rose and St. Elizabeth in Paincourtville, assigned to his home parishes; Deacon Mark Reynaud, of St. Alphonsus Parish, assigned to Most Blessed Sacrament, Baton Rouge; and Deacon Gabriel Rico, of The Hispanic Apostolate Parish, assigned to St. Theresa, Gonzales.

Men interested in learning more about the diaconate can contact the Rev. Jamin David, formation director for the permanent diaconate, at (225) 242-0310 or