From Today’s Catholic News in the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend:
With over 100 family, friends and faithful in attendance, the deacons of the Diocese of Fort Wayne- South Bend were honored with an anniversary Mass at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend on Saturday, Aug. 10. It was no coincidence that the Mass was held on Aug. 10, it is the feast day of St. Lawrence, one of the greatest deacons to ever serve the Church.
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades served as the celebrant with many priests from around the diocese in attendance.
He expressed his gratitude to the deacons for their years of service. “This is a Mass of thanksgiving,” he began. “Our deacons are a blessing to our diocese. We are thankful for the vocation and remember the deacons who have passed. I thank you for your devoted service of charity in our diocese, for your fidelity and witness to the Gospel. I also thank your wives and families for their support of your diaconal vocation.”
Bishop Rhoades spoke at length about St. Lawrence, the proto-deacon of the Church of Rome, and the archdeacon of Pope Sixtus II. “St. Lawrence is an example of concern and love for the poor. He reminds us that the poor are the true treasure of the Church. And he reminds us that the service of charity is essential to the Church’s mission,” Bishop Rhoades said.
Bishop Rhoades also read a beautiful account by St. Ambrose of the martyrdom of St. Lawrence that included a dialogue between Lawrence and Pope Sixtus when the pope was being led to his martyrdom. The account shows the love and devotion between the two men and their great faith in the Lord. “Holy martyrs teach us this strength of soul, something we need today: strength of soul for the ministry of charity, for the New Evangelization, for the courageous self-giving love. Deacons are called to have this strength of soul as they witness to Christ the Servant, the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep. Bishops and priests need this strength of soul,” said Bishop Rhoades.