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On Deacons: “It’s Like Being a Bridge; but Bridges Are Things That Are Walked On”

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 11/13/15

My diocese held its annual diaconate convocation last weekend; unfortunately, I was unable to attend because I was out of town on business. But there’s a very good write-up in The Tablet: 

To show his gratitude and support of the diaconate ministry, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sponsored a day of prayer, reflection and hospitality for deacons and their wives. “We thank God for the gift of the diaconate that helps the Church in so many ways,” he said during Mass. “We are here to better understand your roles as deacons and deacons’ wives.” During his homily, the bishop recognized the deep biblical history of the diaconate. He recounted how in the early days of the Church the apostles chose men who could better serve the immediate needs of the people as the Church grew. They would be the ones that would look after the widows, orphans and the sick. Today deacons continue in their roles as mediators, the bishop said, especially between priests and the people. “It’s like being a bridge; but bridges are things that are walked on,” he said. This hit home for Gerarde Pierre-Antoine, the wife of Deacon Clemenceau Pierre-Antoine. “Everybody walks on bridges; you need to accept it,” she said. “Be strong and keep the faith, and God will help.” Deacon Pierre-Antoine said he is grateful for the eight years he has served as deacon. He said he likes the role because it allows him to serve the Lord by serving God’s people. “I didn’t become a deacon on my own; it was a gift from God,” he said. Deacon Jorge Gonzales, the director of diaconate formation for the diocese, said helping deacons not to feel alone is a big part of the yearly Diaconate Convocation held this year on Nov. 7 at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston. Deacon Gonzales said these men are busy in their parishes and don’t always have time to catch up with each other. Nonetheless, he said, the diaconate is a brotherhood. And although this year’s convocation was a time of celebration, it was also marked by sadness. That morning many deacons attended the funeral Mass of Deacon Patrick Logue. “This is a ministry that is not done alone; it is done in community with our bishop, our priests and our brother deacons,” he said. “This is how we keep the deacon family together.” He said the yearly convocations are an important day for deacons to attend “to remind ourselves that we are not alone in our ministry.”

Read it all.

We in Brooklyn are blessed to have a bishop who is very “deacon-friendly,” and who knows what this vocation is and can be.

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