Well, Orlando, at least.
I spent three days rubbing elbows with the deacons of Orlando and their wives—presenting a series of talks for their continuing education weekend on ways to “glorify the Lord” in liturgy, in ministry, and in the home and workplace. The conference was held at the diocese’s lovely San Pedro Center, a sprawling complex of buildings situated on a large lake. There was lots of room to roam, and more than enough space for the 70 or so people who took part. I’m told this is also where the guys have their formation. They meet for classes one weekend every month for four years.
It’s a great group, serving in a unique diocese; Orlando’s Catholic reach covers a lot of territory, and one deacon told me that about half the deacons there are not incardinated; they’ve retired from someplace else (usually the icy north.) It’s also a place that gets a sizable number of “snowbirds” for part of the year, which can cause the winter population in some parishes to double. The men usually serve in their home parishes, which means some places have six or seven deacons.
Below are some pictures from the weekend. Thank you, deacons of Orlando, for making me feel so welcome! Thank you, especially, to Pat McAvoy, president of the diaconal council, who invited me down in the first place. You guys rock.