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Sussex Countian
  • Fifteen men to become deacons for Catholic Diocese of Wilmington

  • Fifteen men from throughout Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore will soon become permanent deacons in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. The Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, bishop, is scheduled to ordain the men at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Bear.


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  • Fifteen men from throughout Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore will soon become permanent deacons in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington.
    The Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, bishop, is scheduled to ordain the men at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Bear.
    The men to be ordained are: Bruce A. Abresch, of Salisbury, Md.; Philip A. Belt, of Dover; Michael S. Boyd Sr., of Smyrna; Francis C. Conway, of Wilmington; John L. Davis, of Chestertown, Md.; Kenneth J. Hall, of Lewes; Sherman Mitchell III, of Hartly, Del.; Larry R. Morris, of Hockessin; Kenneth R. Pulliam Sr., of Bear; Heriberto Rodriguez, of Wilmington; Charles J. Schauber Sr., of New Castle; Robert J. Sprouse, of Rehoboth Beach; James W. Walls, of Lewes; Dennis G. Wuebbels, of Hockessin and Luke E. Yackley, of Perryville, Md.
    All of these men are married.
    “The Catholic community in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore is blessed that these men have answered God’s call to serve us as deacons,” Malooly said. “With God’s help and their families’ support; each of these men will contribute greatly to building up the kingdom of God in this very important ministry.”
    After Malooly ordains them, they will be assigned to serve in parishes and other ministries in the diocese. The new deacons will also assist at Mass by proclaiming the Gospel and preaching. They may also celebrate baptisms, witness marriages and preside over funerals.
    “These men have completed an extensive, five-year spiritual, theological and pastoral formation program,” said Dr. Harold D. Jopp, Jr., a permanent deacon and director of the diocesan Office for Deacons. “We celebrate with their wives, families and friends as they begin their service to their parishes, the local Hispanic community, youth or whomever they are called to serve.”
    There are two types of deacons in the Catholic Church, those who are ordained to the order and remain in it (permanent deacons) and those who receive the order while advancing to priesthood (transitional deacons). After this ordination, there will be 109 permanent deacons and 1 transitional deacon serving in the Diocese of Wilmington.
    Most permanent deacons’ active ministry is on a part-time basis, Jopp said. They continue to work in careers in varied fields while devoting evenings and weekends to their ministry efforts.
    “While at their full-time jobs, permanent deacons also minister by striving to be an example of Christian charity in a work setting,” he added.
    The Diaconate is a ministry rooted deeply in Scriptural accounts of the early church. The word “deacon” comes from the Greek word diakonia, which means “to serve.” As Christianity grew, it was necessary to appoint men as deacons to work alongside the apostles. In Acts 6: 1-6, the apostles “laid their hands” on deacons “wise and full of the Holy Spirit” to assist them in caring for the needs of the people of the early Church.
    Page 2 of 2 - More information about the Diaconate program in the Diocese of Wilmington is available by calling the Office for Deacons at (302) 573-2390.
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