The convocation was held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Largo.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl celebrated Mass in the morning, then had to head out to another appointment. But he had some heartening words to say about the diaconate—and noted that every priest and bishop is also a deacon.
A highlight was reconnecting with some old deacon friends, including Tom Devaney and his wife, Maureen—Tom was ordained for the Diocese of Brooklyn and will mark his 25th anniversary next year.
I also got to reconnect with Clayton Nickel, a longtime Facebook pal, and met his lovely wife, Simone.
And this was a treat: I got to meet another Pope! Msgr. Charles Pope hosted me at his rectory Friday night and drove me to the convocation, where he spoke to a gathering of single and widowed deacons.
I began my talk—on “The Ring and the Collar,” focusing on the deacon’s two vocations as a husband and a member of clergy—with a prayer.
Several people asked me for a copy, so I’m happy to repost it below. It was written by Deacon Lazaro J. Ulloa.
A Deacon’s Prayer
Come to my assistance my Lord and my God, that I may do for You all that you ask. Strengthen me in adversity and do not let me succumb to my feelings of worthlessness. Help me to feel in my heart all that You speak to me, and help me to understand. May I be to others what they need: a body to work when others cannot; a heart to love those who are forgotten; a shoulder to console those whose soul is in need; a smile to brighten the most somber of Your children; a mouth to proclaim Your love. Let me be to You, as a brush is to a painter, worthless without You, but capable of transforming the human heart by the power of Your mercy. Send me, my Lord if you need me, to touch others as You would touch them, to hold them as You would, to love them as only You can. Make my heart like Yours, that I may forgive everything and love beyond my own human frailty. Come live within me, that I may die to myself so You may fill my very being. Let me serve others as You would serve them, that in doing so I may serve You. Do not let me fail, oh Lord, or lead Your people astray. Allow me to live in Your presence today, that tomorrow I may die in Your hands and may You raise me one day that I may touch your face and live in Your glory.
Thank you, Washington!
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