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Saint of the Day: The “Apostles of Picardy”
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Meet a busy deacon named Jesus


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/29/16

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From CNS: 

When it comes to walking in the shoes of the people one serves, Deacon Jesus Herrera has been doing that since he was a child. After his mother died, young Jesus lived with relatives in poverty in Mexico. In eighth-grade he quit school to work and moved to New Mexico, where he became a U.S. citizen. These early years of suffering and sacrifice shaped his Catholic faith and led him to devote his life to serving others. In America he became a roofer. He also married, had three children and became active in his parish in the Diocese of Las Cruces. For years he begged Bishop Ricardo Ramirez, then head of the diocese, to help him become a deacon. No diaconate training was offered in his own diocese, but an opportunity arose to train in another diocese. After his ordination Deacon Herrera was assigned as administrator of three mission churches south of Roswell, which operate as one parish. Here he launched a home visit program. He knew many Catholics in the area were not engaged in the church. “Families have domestic problems and are hurting spiritually,” he told Extension magazine. “For the immigrant families especially, they face fear, shame and insecurity.” In meeting one-on-one with individuals and families, he invites them to reconnect with the church. He describes the parish’s religious education, youth groups and sacramental preparation. He also discusses the Cursillo movement, which encourages people to consider how they can bring God’s presence to those around them. Deacon Herrera recalled his own life-changing experience at a Cursillo retreat. As an experienced roofer, he knew he could fix homes. This became part of his “apostolic action” — his special ministry. To this day Deacon Herrera repairs people’s spiritual homes and fixes their physical homes. During home visits, he assesses living conditions.

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