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Volume XVIII
Number 3
October 1998

Bill EmersonBill Emerson Celebrates 25th

The Permanent Diaconate Community of the Archdiocese of Boston offers congratulations, prayers and best wishes to Deacon Bill Emerson who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary of ordination to the Diaconate. Deacon Bill was ordained on September 5, 1973 in Omaha, Nebraska, making him the deacon in the Archdiocese who has been ordained the longest. He is the Director of Youth Ministry and a deacon at St. William’s Church in Tewksbury.

In addition to his work at St. William’s, Bill is a member of the Board for the Governor’s Alliance Tewksbury Chemical Abuse Committee, Lowell area Division of Social Services. He also was instrumental in opening an Adolescent Shelter in Tewksbury and serves on the Board of Directors for the Shelter. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the newly reopened Tewksbury Teen Center.

To mark the occasion of his 25th Anniversary, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at St. William’s Church.

Presenting the Class of 2002

On September 10 ,1998 we welcomed the following men and their wives to the Permanent Diaconate Formation Program. The first year is devoted to spiritual awareness and discernment. Please remember them in your prayers as they begin this journey of service to the Church.

John & Donna Alexander, St. Joseph's, Hanson

Richard & Patricia Brennan, Blessed Sacrament, Walpole

Francis & Judith Corbett, Immaculate Conception, Weymouth

Brendan & Peg Fitzgerald, St. John, E. Bridgewater

John & Marie Grover, St. Mary's, Rowley

William & Dorothy Koffel, St. Jeremiah's, Framingham

Jacques & Marie McGuffie, St. Patrick's, Roxbury

James &. Barbara McLaughlin, St. Bridget's, Abington

John & Claire Nicholson, St. Matthias, Marlboro

Paul & Mary Rooney, St. Anthony's, Cohasset

Thomas & Mary Smith, St. John's, Wellesley

John & Carolyn Sullivan, St. Christine's, Marshfield

Francis & Virginia Tremblay, St. Timothy's, Norwood

From the Director’s Desk

Deacon Leo Donoghue What an exciting time to be part of the diaconate community! As you read this, 15 new deacons join their brothers as clergy in the Archdiocese of Boston. Twenty four candidates are commencing their second year of studies, 8 Latino candidates are beginning their first year while 13 aspirants are starting their first year of discernment.

Deacons are serving as hospital chaplains, prison chaplains, shelter directors, DREs. CREs, and assisting parishes and parish clusters in ways that were only dreamed about 20 years ago. Deacon Bill Kane '90 has followed Deacon Walter Miles '80 as the new Director of Prison Ministries. More and more deacons’ wives are sharing ministry with their husbands and an increasing number are participating in the days of reflection and retreats organized just for them. In addition, the Vatican has just published new norms for the life and ministry of deacons. These norms will soon be crafted by our National Conference of Bishops into a new directory for all deacons in the USA. Life in diaconate community is never dull!

Leo Donoghue ’92

Congratulations Catalina

Catalina Montes Catalina Montes was the recipient of an Honorary Degree from Boston College at their May, 1998 commencement. Her husband, Eddie Montes, a deacon at St. Columbkille's Church in Brighton called the office to share the good news with the diaconate community. At the commencement Catalina was introduced as "a remarkably dedicated educator whose professional venue, the microcosm of the public school, echoes with vibrant sound of young voices speaking 27 languages. With the backing and endorsement of a broad range of community, institutional and agency support, you apply your pedagogical gifts and love for your charges to realize the vision of an extended services school to help alleviate social ills and remove barriers between students and learning."

Since arriving in the United States from her homeland of Cuba in 1963, Catalina has achieved much. In addition to raising a family of five children and working as teacher and principal, she earned four college degrees: a bachelor's in education and master's in school administration from Boston State College; a master's in special education from Regis College; and a doctorate in administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Presently Catalina is principal of the Gardner Elementary School in Allston. The diaconate community salutes Catalina for her achievements as well as truly living and modeling a life of service.

Reflections Prior To Ordination

I was asked to try to envision my Ordination to the Order of Deacon and to project what I might be feeling. I offer the following:

The pathway to the altar from the assembly area seems long and ominous. Here I am, with a white alb to my ankles and for the first time going public with my profession of faith in Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. Walking this pathway, in front of the entire congregation, gathered at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross-, on this day of ordination to the Permanent Diaconate, Class of 98, I am nervous. Is this what it feels like to be a "public servant?"

As I proceed, with my classmates, along the aisle, my feelings are those of fear, hesitation and excitement. Now, my family and friends are looking at me with smiles of approval. Am I worthy of this? How did I get myself into this situation? Where is this path leading me? Am I ready? Can I be faithful to my surrender of self to God? I pray, "God, I have more questions than answers."

I answer my own questions by simply telling myself that "I answered the call." I am still answering the call. The call today is at the end of this pathway, the Altar, and to kneel before my Bishop in obedience. I trust in this "call" that God will provide the answers I need as I proceed along my future path as Deacon.

I look quickly at my nine classmates. They look calm and peaceful as they walk this path to the Altar. Do they feel as I do? I wonder. I also notice that I took strength from them, each of them as I continued to walk. Will this diaconate community of strength developed during the past four years continue? We will need each other?.

Seeing the presence of my wife, Muriel, and all my children is a joy and a reminder. Their continued support on this journey was needed and gracefully given. However, the most substantial support, given every step of the way from the first days of class on spirituality at St. Williams Hall, was from Muriel, my partner in the Sacrament of Marriage. The Diaconate staff and Faculty are looking at me. Have I made them proud? Do I reflect what they taught? Will I be the Deacon they hoped for?

I hope so, because I am deeply appreciative of their contribution and presence to my life.

And so many others, many here present, who encouraged me with their kindness also helped me to get to this point in my journey and continue to support me with their friendship,

As we approached the altar, my feelings of fear dissipate, and new ones replace them. I am overcome with the splendor and beauty of it all. The music lifts me off the ground. I am in the presence of God, the God who called me to His altar. I feel God's call to holiness, again.

My God, I cannot give you holiness. You know my weaknesses are many, all I can give to you is my struggle for holiness. That, I will give with all my strength. Not that being a Deacon has any special capture on "holiness," for all vocations are invited to this "right relationship with God," I remind myself.

The words of Psalm 110, remind me that I am not doing this alone . . . "from the womb before the dawn I begot you. The Lord has sworn an oath he will not change." This path of diaconate service, into the future, holds a promise for me. The Gospel reading touches my fear and anxiety, "I have bestowed my Love upon you . . . live on then in my love. You will live on in my love, if you keep my commandments." [John: 15.9]. Now we are back to the struggle, and that I can do.

The ceremony is moving and my feelings turn to privacy. I feel a relationship with my Bishop. I am entering a vocation, guided by Cardinal Law and full of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Accepted by the Church and bolstered by His grace, my ordination opens a ministry of service to others in the name of Jesus.

At the close of the most meaningful Mass of my new life, I turn to face the congregation. I have to again walk the aisle as a public person, called Deacon. My feelings are those of overwhelming grace and joy; I am no longer fearful being on this pathway but anxious to hear the commands of the Lord.

The Spirit of God is upon me; he has anointed me. He sent me to bring good news to the poor, and to heal the broken hearted. Luke 4:18

James V. Kerrigan '98

In Memoriam

Please remember in prayer our loved ones who have died and those who mourn their loss.

Catherine Kerrigan Fitzgerald, mother of Deacon James V. Kerrigan '98

Mary E. Fitzgerald, mother of Brendan A. Fitzgerald '02

Brenda Gorondy, mother of Pearl Martino ’00

Jean Kane, mother of Deacon William F.X. Kane '90

Thomas Kane, brother of Deacon William F. X. Kane '90

Agnes Merchant, mother of Margaret Cordeau '83

Katherine A. Connor, mother of Deacon John P. Connor, ‘94

Domenic Sicuso, father of Deacon Anthony Sicuso '86

Yvonne Whalen, mother of Patricia Boyle ’00

Some Interesting Statistics

From what geographic areas of the Archdiocese do our candidates come?

  1998 2000 2002 Totals
North 4 3 0 7
South 4 13 8 25
West 1 2 3 6
Central 4 2 1 7
Merrimack 2 5 1 8
Totals 15 25 13 53

Diaconate Formation Programs and Candidates (National)

  1996-97 1997-98
Latin Rite arch/dioceses which have programs 122 127
States (including DC) with diaconate formation programs 45 46
Diaconate formation programs reporting enrollments 117 77
Total enrollments 2,183 2,338
Average enrollment per program 19 20

Diaconia Editorial Staff

Coordinator of Publication: Sister Clare O’Keefe

Editors: Andrew J. Acampora, Charles A. Cornell, Sarah Gindel, Frank Mandosa, Leo Martin, Dennis Vandi

Members of the Diaconate Community are encouraged to submit ideas, articles, photography that might be of interest to the Community. Submit by mail to the office or by email to

Diaconia is the official publication of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate Archdiocese of Boston
2121 Commonwealth Avenue Brighton, MA 02135-3193
Voice: (617) 746-5648 FAX: (617) 746-5699