A 63-year-old former Federal Aviation Administration worker and a 54-year-old retired Air Force officer were ordained deacons Saturday on their paths to becoming priests for the Archdiocese of Portland, according to The Catholic Sentinel.

Rev. Mr. Tom Layton and Rev. Mr. Fred Anthony both spent their youths in Coos Bay, were married, and after their careers entered a special seminary for older men.

Archbishop John Vlazny said in a homily at the ordination Mass, held at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception that some might consider the men too old to be ordained. But he expressed confidence in them, a vote that was echoed by officials at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Wisconsin.

“In God’s gracious providence, when all is said and done, it won’t be the quantity of ministerial service that you provide God’s people that is important, but the quality,” the archbishop said. “As I have come to know you, quality control will be no problem for those who will be privileged to benefit from your lives of service.”

Both men will now continue with their studies and preparations at Sacred Heart Seminary as they work toward ordination as priests.

The archbishop recognized that “these are not the easiest times to accept a call to ordained ministry in the church.”

Results of a survey released in the spring show that half of the 475 men ordained priests in the U.S. in 2007 were age 32 or older. Thirty-six percent of men ordained for dioceses were between the ages of 25 and 29. Three percent were 60 or older. The youngest in the class of 2007 was 25 and the oldest was 68.