The Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids now has three new transitional deacons.

The men were ordained Tuesday night at a Mass in downtown Grand Rapids, at the Cathedral of St. Andrew.

They were joined by many priests from parishes throughout West Michigan.

Their new title -- transitional deacons -- means they are on their way to becoming priests.

"The church is continuing to grow here in West Michigan," said Holy Redeemer pastor Fr. Ronald Hutchinson. "We need to have more priests to serve the people of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and this is just one step in making that happen."

"It's exciting; we've been preparing for this for a long time. Obviously, [I'm] a little nervous, too -- it's kind of like your wedding day in a certain sense," said newly-ordained Deacon Kyle Kilpatrick. "I'm making a commitment for the rest of my life, but I feel great; more excited than nervous, so I'm ready to go."

After Tuesday's ordination, the three men will continue to study and are expected to be ordained to the priesthood in 2017.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids plans to ordain four other men to the priesthood on June 4 at the Cathedral.