Volume III Number 3                         back                                                       April 2018
(54) By virtue of their ordination, a sacramental fraternity unites deacons.   They form a community that witnesses to Christ,  the  Deacon-Servant.

-The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States
Upcoming Events

Parish Mission
Life in Christ: Mission, Mary & Mass
Featuring Thomas Smith
April 22, 23 & 24, 2018
7:00 - 9:00 PM Nightly
St. Benedict Parish, Johnstown
This event is open to 
all members of the diocese

Annual Diaconate Retreat
Fr. Bernard Ezaki, M. Div., M.A.
June 3-7, 2018
Antiochian Village, Bolivar
Retreat begins Sunday with registration at 3:30 PM and concludes Thursday following the 10:00 AM closing Mass

Rite of  Candidacy
Please note date change
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Mass - 4:00 PM
St. Peter Catholic Church, Somerset

Rite of Lector and Acolyte
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Mass - 4:00 PM
St. Mary Catholic Church, Hollidaysburg
Rows of colorful cup cakes decorated with birthday candles and sprinkles.
April 3           Mike Condor
April 12         Cathy McFee
April 13         Sam Albarano
April 13         Sarah Becker
April 13         Chris Conner
April 14         Grace Szwarc
April 15         Gene Neral
April 19         Diane Little
April 25         Karen Janosik
April 28         Tom Buige
May 10         Helen Buige
May 13          Jack Orlandi
May 13         Nancy Russo
May 16         Bernadette Visinsky
May 19         Barbara Neral
May 26         Patricia Leap
May 26         Kathleen Weaver
May 30        Jay Pyle
June 1         Kathy Woomer
June 7        Jim Woomer
June 11       Sam Cammarata
June 17      Jill Kolonich
June 19      John Roth
June 26      Don Gibboney

Tom & Cathy McFee

Bill & Karen Underhill

Jim & Kathy Woomer

Joe & Anne Dalla Valle

Chuck & Sherry Ahearn

Phil & Anne Gibson

John & Grace Szwarc

Dave & Patricia Hornick

Sam & Joan Cammarata

John & Rosmary Concannon

'Where vocation is concerned, there is no such thing as a selfie! Vocation demands that somebody else take your picture."  - Pope Francis

Over the past few months we have addressed a variety of questions concerning incensation, purification of the sacred vessels, and other issues. Deacons are formed according to the instructions approved by Bishop Mark. Whenever there is doubt, please refer to the booklet "The Deacon at Mass" that was approved by Bishop Mark in February 2016. The booklet was written using the of  General Instruction of  the Roman Missal, and with the input of Msgr. Mazur and final approval by Bishop Mark. It is suggested that all Deacons review this booklet with the priests in their parish to avoid any confusion concerning the role of the Deacon at Mass.

stack of books on a table in the library

by Karl A. Schultz

by Pope Paul VI and Karl A. Schultz

by Susan Tassone

by Monsignor Edward Buelt

by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins
Does faith come in sizes, 
like shoes or shirts or socks? 
Small? Medium? Large?

St. Paul's faith was extra large, nothing but nothing could separate him from God's love.

Peter's faith more questionable; it struggl ed to embrace suffering and  death.


Poor Thomas, a world class doubter, would believe only on hard evidence.  

But then there are those in life who have no shoes or shirts or socks, 
nothing to wear or eat or drink, who have no faith.

Jesus has a special love for them- we ought to too. 

Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Green Bay Diocese, serves as sacramental minister at  St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish,  Green Bay. 
Making ancient questions matter to modern students
By Ellen B. Koneck

As a new teacher, I am struggling to make something I find so obviously important (ahem, theology) matter to my students.

The spring of 2016-my first semester teaching-I realized quickly it would be an uphill battle to make the concerns in Augustine's Confessions  relatable to my students. Sophomores at my university are required to take my class (a great books seminar focused on the Catholic intellectual tradition), and although many were raised in a Catholic or Christian tradition, the abstract, ancient and seemingly impractical questions about God and religion addressed in my course did not readily compel or even interest them. When the semester ended, I did not feel my class had the impact I had wanted (to my surprise, no one dropped their finance major to take up theology!).

I tried Augustine once again this past fall.

Once again, it was an uphill battle-but we were starting to get somewhere.

We spent one class on the chapter in which Augustine frets over the immateriality of God. Immateriality, conceptually, is difficult for Augustine: How can he perceive of God if he cannot picture God, if God does not occupy space? And God certainly cannot occupy space, because that would make God material, and the material world is subject to change, decay and death-things that cannot be true of God (at least, not any God in whom Augustine is interested). In this lies an important issue for Augustine: God cannot be contained in the imagination because the imagination relies on spatial assumptions for its images. And God cannot take up space, lest God be too closely related to the material world. Simple, right? "Click here" to read the full article.

Used with permission from 
America Magazine.  
Article by Ellen B, Koneck, 
August 24, 2017

March 2018

Reminder: The first issue of Deacon Digest will be available this summer.  Take advantage of our special introductory rate and  subscribe today!


Deacon Dispatch Continued

Deacon William Ditewig
many have regarding the unique role of deacons in the Church.

A beautiful account of two deacon brothers -  John and James Somerville, ages 87 and 89, respectively - was featured recently in the Archdiocese of Washington's Catholic Standard. Read their stories  here.

Statement on diaconate study

Deacon Thomas R. Dubois
, executive director of the National Association of Diaconate Directors, released the following statement regarding a national study of the diaconate:

"A major study of the Permanent Diaconate has been conducted by the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD) in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of the renewal of the diaconate in the United States.  The results of the survey will be shared at the 2018 National Diaconate Congress that will be held in New Orleans in July.  Read more

Diakonia: A revolution of tenderness

Published on the website of The Boston Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston, Deacon Dan Burns, Deacon Chris Connelly and Deacon Paul Kline have written a stirring account of the importance of the diaconate in the Church and in our communities. They write:

"In 2018 we mark the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the Permanent Diaconate in the United States.  Since that time the diaconate has grown to more than 19,000 deacons in the U.S. ...  But there is a deeper part of this call, a truth and teaching that this vocation can offer our Church and our world that is longing to see God's face and to hear the Good News.  Pope St. John Paul II saw the ministry of deacons as not simply one ministry among others, but rather as "the driving force for the Church's diakonia." 


The Arlington Catholic Herald in Virginia shares the incredible story of the conversion and call to ordination of Deacon Mark Arbeen , who was hired as the first full-time chaplain program manager for the U.S. Secret Service.  Read Deacon Arbeen's story here.

Bishop David R. Zubik of Pittsburgh is calling for his diocese to raise awareness of the need for permanent deacons.  The Pittsburgh Tribune reported that Bishop Zubik has asked pastors to nominate men to be a part of the diocese's next formation class.  "My hope in calling for another diaconate class is to foster the formation of men who are willing to develop their potential for servant leadership in the Church and to embrace the model of Jesus Christ's humble, loving care for others," Bishop Zubik said.
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Pope Francis Establishes New Feast of Mary as "Mother of the Church"
By John L. Allen Jr.
The restored icon of Mary "Salus Populi Romani" (Salvation of the Roman People) is pictured at the end of a Mass celebrated by Pope Francis at St. Mary Major Basilica in Rome.  (Credit: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia Pool)
ROME - Pope Francis, whose devotion to Mary is well-known, on Saturday established a new feast for the Catholic Church devoted to Mary as the "Mother of the Church," to be celebrated on the Monday after Pentecost.

The decision was announced in a decree by the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, released on Saturday by the Vatican Press Office.

The decree observes that the veneration of Mary as Mother of the Church has ancient roots in Catholic tradition, reaching back to St. Augustine and St. Leo the Great. The title, the document says, is rooted in New Testament accounts about Mary.

"She became the tender Mother of the Church which Christ begot on the cross, handing on the Spirit," the decree said.

"Christ, in turn, in the beloved disciple, chose all disciples as ministers of his love towards his Mother, entrusting her to them so that they might welcome her with filial affection."

In 1964, at the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), Blessed Pope Paul VI formally declared Mary as the "Mother of the Church," and invited Catholics to invoke Mary's help under that title.

During the jubilee year of 1975, the Vatican produced a special Mass, called a "votive Mass," for Mary under the title of Beata Maria Ecclesiæ Matre, or "Blessed Mary Mother of the Church," and also approved inserting the title into various prayers in honor of Mary.
With the new decree, devotion to Mary as Mother of the Church now becomes an approved feast for the universal Church.

"Having attentively considered how greatly the promotion of this devotion might encourage the growth of the maternal sense of the Church in the pastors, religious and faithful, as well as a growth of genuine Marian piety, Pope Francis has decreed that the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, should be inscribed in the Roman Calendar on the Monday after Pentecost and be now celebrated every year," the document said.

"This celebration will help us to remember that growth in the Christian life must be anchored to the Mystery of the Cross, to the oblation of Christ in the Eucharistic Banquet and to the Mother of the Redeemer and Mother of the Redeemed, the Virgin who makes her offering to God," it said.

The decree stipulated that the feast should appear in all calendars and liturgical books. It also said that once translations of the texts for the new feast are approved by bishops' conferences, they will be published after the congregation gives its confirmation.
Last October, Francis transferred primary responsibility for overseeing many matters of liturgical translation from the congregation to bishops' conferences around the world.

Reprinted from CRUX (Taking the Catholic Pulse)
Visit:   www.crux.com
Please note the following change:
The Rite of Candidacy 
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Mass - 4:00 PM
St. Peter Catholic Church, Somerset
In This Issue

"Rediscovering the Beauty and the Power of the Rosary"

Fr. Bernard Ezaki, Retreat Master 
June 3 - 7, 2018
Antiochian Village, Bolivar

Retreat begins Sunday with registration at 3:30 PM and concludes Thursday following the 10:00 Am closing Mass
The foundations of Catholic devotion to Mary can be found in both Scripture and Tradition. The rosary is just one of the beautiful devotions to Mary that we as Catholics practice. Pope Pius XII once said, "The Rosary is the compendium of the entire Gospel."  That is to say, that each decade is dedicated to a single and significant moment in salvation history. 

Fr. Ezaki will reveal how the rosary is not just a series of repetitive prayers but a format that cultivates mental peace and interior space for meditation on these moments in the life of Christ that encapsulate the mystery of the Incarnation, the person of Christ, and the beautiful relationship that has been built between our God and his creation. He will discuss how this devotion is very Christocentric and nourishes our interior and spiritual life in a way that non-meditative prayer does not.
Father Bernard J. Ezaki was born in Allentown, P en nsylva
nia, on January 31, 1957.   Legally blind from birth, Father was kicked out of the Cathedral Scho
ol because of his poor eyesight. 
After attend ing Jefferson Elementary School and South Moun tain Junior High, he was graduated from William Allen High School in 1975.   Today  he holds degrees from Moravian College Harvard Divinity School and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. 

Father has learned that the secret of Christian joy is nothing less than gratitude.  At age forty-five, he discovered a sentence in a book that changed his life:  "I'm not grateful because I'm happy; I'm happy because I'm grateful."  Today he is a grateful assistant pastor at Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Church in Easton, Pennsylvania. 

To learn more about Fr. Ezaki and explore his essays please visit www.apologyanalogy.com
Pictured left to right: Vickie and Christopher Conner, Bishop Mark, John and Lisa Roth

Candidates Christopher Conner and John Roth were called to Orders by Bishop Mark while attending their Canonical Retreat at Saint Vincent Archabbey, Latrobe.  We pray for continued blessings to the candidates, their wives and families.
Join us at St. Benedict's Church in Johnstown for
Misson, Mass & Mary
Our Mission Speaker
Thomas Smith
Author and Retreat Director
"Thomas is in the top 10% of the best Catholic speakers today.
-Dr. Tim Gray, Presiden of the Augustine Institute, author of Praying Scripture for a Change

In this dynamic three-night mission, Thomas  will begin by sharing how we can embrace our baptismal mission to share the faith with others, using his own conversion to the Catholic faith as a guide.  Next, we will reflect on the Mass as the source of our strength, a model for personal payer, and an invitation to intimacy.  Finally, on night three, we will explore the indispensable role of Mary as a model disciple, powerful intercessor and protector.

April 22-24th, 7:00 pm nightly
St. Benedict Church, 2310 Bedford St.
Johnstown, PA  15904

Tickets are not required.  
A love offering will be taken. 

For more information contact Deacon Michael at (814) 288-3036 or michael.russo@atlanticbb.net
Pope Francis: Where Mary is, 'the devil does not enter'
By Hannah Brockhaus
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at St. Mary Major January 28, 2018.  Credit: Daniel Ibanez/EWTN
At Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major Sunday, Pope Francis said that when we go through difficult times or have problems or worries, Mary is our shield, guarding our faith and protecting us from evil.

"Where the Madonna is at home the devil does not enter; where there is the Mother disturbance does not prevail, fear does not win," the Pope said Jan. 28.

"Who of us does not need this, who of us is not sometimes upset or restless? How often the heart is a stormy sea, where the waves of problems overlap, and the winds of worry do not cease to blow! Mary is the sure ark in the midst of the flood."

Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary Major for the Feast of the transfer of the icon of Salus Populi Romani.

Salus Populi Romani (Protectress of the Roman People) is the title of an ancient Byzantine icon of Mary and the Child Jesus, traditionally held to be painted by St. Luke the Evangelist and to have arrived in Rome in the 6th century.

It was first canonically crowned in 1838 by Pope Gregory XVI and a second time in 1954 by Pope Pius XII. It has a long history of devotion by the Roman people, as well as by popes. It resides in the Pauline, also called Borghese, Chapel in St. Mary Major.

Francis has a special devotion to the image. His first visit as pontiff was to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to pray before the image following his election.

The image has been undergoing extensive restoration in the Vatican Museums, and the Mass also served as the image's official unveiling following the work.

In his homily, Pope Francis said that it is "a great danger to faith, to live without a mother, without protection, letting ourselves be carried away by life like leaves by the wind."

Just like persecuted people once took refuge under the cloak of the noble, high-ranking women of their village, in "turbulent moments" we must take shelter under the mantle of Mary, "the highest woman of mankind," for our own protection.

"Her coat is always open to welcome us and gather us," he said. "The Mother guards faith, protects relationships, saves in bad weather and preserves from evil."

As Christians, we cannot be neutral or detached from our Mother, he continued. "Because without a Mother we cannot be children. And we are, first of all, children, beloved children, who have God for a Father and the Madonna for a Mother."

To illustrate his point, Francis recalled a story of a woman who sat beside the bed of her son in the hospital. He was in pain after an accident, and the mother remained by his bed day and night. 

Once she complained to a visiting priest that God never allowed one thing to a mother, which is to suffer in place of her child. 

"Here is the mother's heart," the Pope said. "She is not ashamed of the wounds, of the weaknesses of her children, but she wants (to take) them on herself."

And this is how it happens every time, he said. Whether we lack hope, or joy, or our strength is exhausted; whatever our problem, our Mother intervenes.

"And she never, never despises our prayers; she does not let even one fall. She is a Mother, she is never ashamed of us, she only waits to be able to help her children."

"Let's make the Mother the guest of our daily life, the constant presence in our home, our safe haven," he concluded. "Let's entrust (ourselves) to her every day. Let's invoke her in every turbulence. And let's not forget to come back to her to thank her."

POPE FRANCIS "I do not grow tired of repeating that indifference is a virus that is dangerously contagious in our time, a time when we are ever more connected with others, but are increasingly less attentive to others. Yet the global context should help us understand that none of us is an island and none will have a future of peace without one that is worthy for all."

Pope Francis on anti-Semitism:

Excitement is building for the 2018 National Diaconate Congress that will be held in New Orleans this July celebrating the 50th anniversary of the renewal of the diaconate in the United States. 

Over 1,100 deacons and wives have already registered for this extraordinary diaconal event.

Congress participants will enjoy liturgies, daily talks, workshop programs, and multiple opportunities to connect with other deacons and wives. 

The 2018 National Diaconate Congress begins with Opening Mass on Sunday, July 22 at 5:00 pm at the historic Cathedral - Basilica of St. Louis which is located on Jackson Square.  Our host, Most Reverend Gregory M. A ymond, Archbishop of New Orleans, will deliver the homily and Keynote Address.

The Marriott New Orleans, the official hotel of the 2018 Diaconate Congress, is where all remaining liturgies and program elements will be conducted. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (July 23 through 25) we begin with Mass and Lauds.  

General Session presentations follow that expand the Congress theme, Christ the Servant: Yesterday, Today, and Forever.
Our General Session speakers include His Eminence Joseph Cardinal Tobin, Deacon James Keating, Deacon Gregory Kandra, Most Reverend Frederick Campbell, Bishop-Elect Rev. W. Shawn McKnight, Mrs. Teresa Tomeo Pastore and Deacon Dominic Pastore, Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, Deacon William Ditewig, and Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila. His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo will conduct the Closing Session and preside at the Closin
g Mass on Thursday, July 26.

A series of afternoon workshops will be offered on topics ranging from practical to entertaining. Certificates will be available for continuing education contact hours.

To learn more about the 2018 National Diaconate Congress, to register, and to book a room at the Marriott, please visit  www.deacon2018.org.  

Registration is $250 for individuals (deacons, candidates, priests, bishops and friends). The cost for wives and deacon widows is just $99. A service fee will be added.

NADD thanks NDICE President Deacon Paul McBlain and the NDICE Board for supporting the 2018 National Diaconate Congress and for this opportunity to encourage your attendance. We hope to see you in New Orleans! 
                                  by Deacon Samuel Taub
(On July 22-26, 2018, deacons in the United States will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the renewal of the diaconate in the United States. In 1971, Deacon  Sam Taub wrote the following article while serving in the office of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on the Permanent Diaconate (BCPD) office in Washington, DC.   This article highlights important diaconate dates prior to 1968.)
On September 28,1964 the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, in four separate votes, gave final approval for the restoration of the permanent diaconate by a vote of 1,903 "Yes" to 242 "No." Implementation on a regional basis at the requests of bishops of the world with papal approval as a norm was approved by a vote of 1,523 "Yes" to 702 "No" votes. The vote for married men of mature age was 1,598 in favor, with 628 opposed. The vote for young married deacons (minimum age of 25 years) failed by a vote of 1,364 "No" to 839 who voted "yes."

On November 21, 1964 "The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church"(Lumen Gentium) was approved and published. Within this document is "Article 29," by which the diaconate is restored as a permanent Order, open to both celibate and married men. 

On February 21-24, 1967, at the request of Pope Paul VI, the Special Commission for the Study of the Restoration of the Diaconate as a Permanent and Proper Order of the Hierarchy met in Rome. At the invitation of Pope Paul, U.S. Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler took part in the work of the Commission, a reflection of his keen interest in the diaconal restoration during the deliberations of the Council. From the work of this Commissiono came the text of the Apostolic Letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem, establishing practical norms for the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Latin Church, published motu proprio on June 18,1967. 

At the plenary meeting of the NCCB on November 13-19, 1967, the members of the Conference requested that a detailed program for the implementation of the permanent diaconate be prepared for the consideration of the members at their next meeting.  This article continues on  page 4 ( click here) of the February 18th NDIC Newsletter.

Printed with permission of the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education
Visit us at: NDICE.net
Office of the Permanent Diaconate
925 S. Logan Blvd.
Hollidaysburg, PA  16648
(814) 693-9870
 Deacon Michael L. Russo                                                                                                                                           Joan M. Noonan
 Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate                                                                          Office Coordinator
michael.russo@atlanticbb.net                                                                                                     jnoonan@dioceseaj.org