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Beating cancer, serving the church

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/15/15

Seton Hall University in New Jersey has posted on its websitethis profile of a newly ordained deacon, telling a story of perseverance, sacrifice and faith:

As a two-time cancer survivor, Deacon Peter Barcellona knows that life doesn’t always go as planned. “You can’t control life sometimes, so I like to make the best of it,” he said. 13540584_peter_barcellona_ordination-copyThis year, Deacon Barcellona did just that as he graduated from Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology’s Center for Diaconal Formation in May and was ordained a deacon by the Diocese of Metuchen in June. Although Deacon Barcellona often pondered the thought of the diaconate, he questioned whether he was too busy and ready for the academic rigor the program would require. After a deacon at his Diocese of Metuchen parish invited him to an information session for the upcoming formation class of deacons, he realized he had found his calling. “Deacon Barcellona is a shining example and a model for all deacons who are ordained and configured to Christ in their roles as servants in love towards God and neighbor,” said Deacon Andrew Saunders, M.A., director of the Center for Diaconal Formation. “His lifetime of leadership and service exemplifies on the local and global level that deacons are, as St. Pope John Paul II noted, ‘meant to be living signs of the servanthood of his Church.’” (Address of his Holiness John Paul II to men ordained to the permanent diaconate, Ford Auditorium, Detroit, September 19, 1987) A senior public health investigator for the Woodbridge Township Health Department, Deacon Barcellona was first drawn to social justice projects in 1989, when a deacon friend asked him to help create a food pantry at St. James Church in Woodbridge Township, N.J. Three years later, Deacon Barcellona became a founding member of the organization We Feed – Woodbridge, which assists local food pantries in securing adequate food supplies for needy families in the Woodbridge Township community. Since then, Deacon Barcellona has gone on to serve the Diocese of Metuchen’s Catholic Charities Solidarity Team, Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services, the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. …Despite his two-time battle with cancer in 1998 and 2000, Deacon Barcellona feels blessed. “Sometimes the things that are most difficult in life become a pair of blessings and that’s what happened with me” he said. “Without them, I would not be where I am today, a Seton Hall graduate and a newly ordained deacon.”

Read it all. 

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