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“Doctor-Deacon” Serves Mass — and Math

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/20/15

How could you not love a deacon in a bow tie?

From The Catholic Herald in Arlington, Virginia comes this profile of Deacon David Conroy:

Deacon Conroy, 73, has a doctorate in education from American University in Washington, and has been teaching math at NVCC for 48 years. He was ordained a deacon 38 years ago by Arlington Bishop Thomas J. Welsh. Deacon Conroy lives in Fredericksburg and works in Annandale. During the school week, he stays in Annandale, coming home to wife Patricia — whom he calls his bride — on Friday. He stays the weekend to perform his diaconate duties at St. Patrick Church in Fredericksburg and St. Timothy Church in Chantilly. Weddings and baptisms fill the time. On Monday, he’s back in Annandale teaching. It’s a tough schedule, but one he loves. He said he wears two hats — educator and deacon — and is able to blend both. Mathematics scares many people. Deacon Conroy makes it accessible and understandable. And he listens. He is the head of the NVCC campus ministry but now mostly does his ministering one-on-one. He wears a wooden cross around his neck, and that gets new students talking. “I explain it on the first day of class,” he said. He tells the students, a mixture of different religions and cultures, the differences between priest and deacon. Some of his students come in to talk about a math issue, but some move into more personal areas — relationship problems, stress and family issues. “They see it as counseling,” he said of the students who come to his office. Deacon Conroy never tires of talking about the good he sees in his students. In his acceptance speech for the CATE award, he told the story of a young woman in his math class who came to talk to him. She said that there was a young man in the class who had holes in his shoes. She wanted to buy him a new pair, but didn’t want him to know it was she who bought them. She asked Deacon Conroy to be the intermediary. He was, and the man never knew who the generous student was. “This is just an example of the kind of goodness and generosity I wave witnessed over the years which is a hallmark of so many of our students,” he told the audience.

Great stuff. Read it all. 

Photo: Dave Borowski / Catholic Herald

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