To be ordained as a Permanent Deacon in our diocese requires the completion of a five-year program comprising the four dimensions of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. Candidates are formed in the human and spiritual dimensions by ordained deacons from the diocese. For their intellectual formation, they attend four years of virtual classes at the Josephinum Diaconate Institute in Columbus, Ohio. In order to address the pastoral dimension of their formation, candidates must complete three ministries. Typically candidates perform their ministries for three months from May to July, and this year our candidates completed their second ministry.
Earlier this year, Deacon Dan D’Amelio did a survey to identify areas of need in the diocese. Deacon Dan compiled a list of areas of pastoral need, and each of our five candidates was assigned to a specific ministry. The candidates were matched to ministries that would be commensurate with their respective skill sets, but in some way be a “stretch” beyond their comfort zone. The ministries varied from soup kitchens to nursing homes to data collection and databases. The results were very profitable, both for the institutions they served and the pastoral formation of the candidates.
Joseph Delaney made weekly trips to a nursing home, offering a Bible study every week and visiting residents in their rooms. Joe was able to draw residents who rarely socialized out of their rooms, and the director reported that he had a significant effect on one individual who now attends daily Mass.
Mark Desrosiers also made an impact in the nursing home that he visited weekly. Many of the residents there suffered from the traumatic effects of COVID-19, such as increased isolation and loneliness. Staff reported that Mark was a “bright spot” in the residents’ day and that he also had a significant effect on one resident who was severely depressed before meeting Mark.
Christopher Hammond researched and cataloged all RCIA resources in the diocese. He contacted RCIA teams in every parish and identified what resources and programs they currently utilize. This list will eventually be posted on the diocesan website as resources for all diocesan RCIA teams.
David Imhof identified all bereavement support groups within the geographic boundaries of the diocese, including all Catholic parishes and other church denominations. He cataloged when they meet and how they meet - virtually or in person. This list will also be available as a resource on the diocesan website.
Ronald Krystofic assisted at a soup kitchen with food deliveries, unloading and stocking supplies, and other help needed with food item collecting and disbursement. He also served as a van driver and overall “man Friday” who chipped in whenever and wherever needed. The staff greatly appreciated his service.
Each candidate expressed how meaningful their individual experience was for their growth and awareness of the needs of the diocese. Such awareness is exactly what is desired in a deacon.
Photo by Kathy Hoffman
Photo: Bishop Michael R. Cote bestows the Rite of Candidacy on (from left to right) Ronald Krystofic, Christopher Hammond, Joseph Delaney, Mark Desrosiers, and David Imhof. The ceremony took place at St. Andrew Church, Colchester, on Sunday, April 18. The five men recently completed their summer pastoral ministry assignments.
By Deacon Ben LoCasto