By Marnie McAllister, Record Editor
Twenty-two deacons from the Archdiocese of Louisville and 21 deacon wives attended the 2018 National Diaconate Congress in New Orleans July 22-26.
They were among about 2,800 attendees who represented 15 countries. It was just the third time U.S. deacons had gathered for a congress since 1994. The event celebrated the 50 years that have elapsed since the diaconate was established in the United States and looked to the future of the still-budding ministry, said Deacon Dennis Nash, director of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Diaconate Office.
“It was a good time to stop and think about where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed,” he said in an interview after the gathering.
The week-long congress included a variety of workshops that addressed formation of deacons, the life of a deacon and other topics, he said. Several prelates spoke to the participants, emphasizing the value of the ordained ministry, he said.
“Every bishop and cardinal, including the papal nuncio, was strongly supportive of the need for deacons in the church,” he said. “I think most attendees left very energized because of the support and excitement the bishops exuded.
“We were also challenged to be more, in terms of how we witness to the church,” he said.
Deacon Nash said deacons are called to become bridges between clergy and laity because they have feet in both the secular and the clerical worlds.
“We are at the altar, but we are also at the nursing home, hospital, prison and jail,” he said. Many deacons, he noted, also have families.
The Archdiocese of Louisville is now accepting applications for the diaconate.
“It’s challenging, it’s humbling, but it’s also exciting,” said Deacon Nash. “It takes a leap of faith to answer a call to the diaconate. I thank God everyday I had the courage to be what God called me to be.”
Men and their wives, if married, may call the diaconate office at 636-0296 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.