The Quarterly Newsletter Of
THE SERRA CLUB OF THE BAY AREA
“Rejoice and be glad this is the Day the Lord has Made”
In an extraordinary moment at a small private gathering celebrating the Ordination to the Permanent Deaconate of Russell Carrol and Andy DeYoung from St. Mary Parish in League City, together with twenty-nine other men from diverse parishes of our Archdiocese of Galveston Houston, that Russell was heard saying:
“ When Cardinal Di Nardo placed his hands over my head I heard and felt the words of Jesus
telling me; I will make you a fisherman of men, just as He had instructed the first Apostles to
forget their fishing boats and follow Him”
And just like him the other thirty men probably heard and felt again, in a very especial, intimate and personal manner the call of Jesus to come forward to do His work.
It is patently clear, Russell and Andy and the other twenty-nine men of our Archdiocese are a most especial group of men, and who are they? How did they get here?
Generally these individuals are middle aged family men successful in their careers and retired or near retirement who desire to rededicate their lives to serve the Church. Their role is that of assisting our overworked and scarce Parish Priests in many of the functions that do not require the faculties reserved to ordained priests such as hearing confessions, the consecration of bread and wine during Mass and perhaps others.
Success of these men is not limited to their professional careers but to their family life as well , as their wives and children play a significant role in accepting and supporting their newly discovered vocation. Wives and children are called to willingly permit their husband and father their increased participation in the work of the church.
These men are the product of the Permanent Deaconate Program established subsequent to Vatican II to provide the much needed assistance to alleviate the shortage of Priests in the Parishes of the Church of the United States. These men join the existing army of Deacons who faithfully and diligently have served our short-handed and overworked parish priests for considerable time.
It appears worthwhile to explore the mechanism by which men are encouraged to join the Deaconate Program as this might reveal some of the reasons that successfully convinced thirty-one men from diverse backgrounds and parishes in the Archdioceses to join and enthusiastically embrace the intense six year curriculum conducted at St. Mary's Seminary. No dramatic finds explaining the great motivation of the men were uncovered other than acknowledging God's call to serve at this time when the acute shortage of priests begs for valiant and generous men to come and serve.
For Andy and Russell the opportunity to serve knocked at their doors six or seven years ago when Monsignor Eugene Cargill then Pastor of St. Mary Church in League City approached them sharing information about the Deaconate Program. A short time later Russell recalls Monsignor asking again and providing more information along with an Application to complete and join the program. More likely Andy was approached and encouraged by Monsignor Cargill in the same manner.
It was then at that approximate time that both Andy and Russell were admitted to the Permanent Deaconate Program and formally initiated their study and formation at St. Mary's Seminary. Life at St. Mary Church did not seem to change but joining the Eucharistic Ministry allowed other parishioners at times participation with Andy and / or Russell at Communion time during Mass. Opportunities to participate in other parish activities with Andy and Russell increased at the same time they were given other assignments from the Deaconate Program at venues away from St. Mary Parish.
It was unfortunate that after a short retirement period our beloved Pastor Monsignor Cargill became ill and died on January 17, 2011. At that time Father Howard Drabek was named Pastor of St. Mary.
These events proved difficult for everyone but providentially provided an opportunity especially for Andy and Russell to grow spiritually as they assisted Father Howard in many aspects during the transition period. In retrospect it seemed the transition period was an eye opener not only for Andy and Russell but for the entire St. Mary Family.
As the days went by parishioners heading the existing Ministries became aware and responsible for their continued implementation, management and growth. Perhaps and most important was the discovery of the magnitude of the Pastoral load the increased population, more than 3,000 families or approximately 6,000 souls, has put on Fr. Howard assisted by two Deacons. No wonder Deacon Andy and Deacon Russell have been received with stretched and thankful , open and welcome arms.
It is probably safe to assume the Andy and Russell story with some pertinent variations has been repeated in the approximate twenty-five parishes the thirty one Deacons ordained on 31, January 2015 are assigned to in the Archdiocese. Equally significant is the population explosion that has increased the number of souls to be cared for and the newly ordained Deacons are a great help in this situation and everyone is thankful to God.
As we celebrate this extraordinary event we thank Almighty God for the generous response of the newly Ordained Deacons which has come to alleviate the burden all our Parish Pastors have as they labor to minister to their parishioners, we need to redouble our work and efforts to increase our work in the promotion of Vocations to the priesthood that is so urgently needed.
Our warmest congratulations to these men that so generously have accepted God's call and focused their lives to the service of the Church, and our gratitude goes as well to the wives and families of these generous men who have graciously rededicated their lives to the service of the Church.
As we rejoice by the prospects of the 31, THIRTY-ONE new Deacons we Serrans should take notice and advantage of these added resources with which we can explore additional inroads. We should seek the Deacons assigned to our parishes and offer our assistance, and with our help, plan potential avenues for implementation of activities promoting Vocations to the Priesthood and the Consecrated Religious Life .
Our Chaplain Father Benny will return to these pages on our next edition.
Pope Francis Proclamation of Year of Consecrated Life
On November 30, 2014 Pope Francis opened the Year of Consecrated Life. Cardinal DiNardo asked that the Prayer for the Year of Consecrated Life composed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
(USCCB) be prayed frequently during the year.
PRAYER FOR THE Year of
O God, throughout the ages you have called
women and men to pursue lives of perfect
charity through the evangelical counsels of
poverty, chastity, and obedience. During this
Year of Consecrated Life, we give you thanks
for these courageous witnesses of Faith and
models of inspiration. Their pursuit of holy
lives teaches us to make a more perfect offer-
Iing of ourselves to you. Continue to enrich
your Church by calling forth sons and daugh-
ters who, having found the pearl of great
price, treasure the Kindom of Heaven above
all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
This event will provide the Serrans ample opportunity throughout the year to learn about the consecrated life of men and women and increase our promotion for the much needed Vocations.
Hasta pronto, let me hear your suggestions/comments… and till we meet again let us go and look for the face of Jesus in one another.
Miguel A. Zamora