Hearing the news this morning about the election of Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph Kurtz as USCCB president, a deacon friend dropped me a line to report that the new president is “very deacon-friendly.”
He was certainly friendly to this deacon when I met him a couple years ago in Nashville at the annual convention of the National Association of Diaconate Directors. I was heading across the street for Mass at the cathedral and saw him standing on the corner, alone, waiting for the light to change. “Archbishop Kurtz?,” I said. He turned. “Hi there,” I said, extending my hand. “Deacon Greg Kandra from Brooklyn.” He grabbed my hand and smiled. “Oh, the one with the blog!,” he said. The fact that he took time to be in Nashville for a diaconate convention spoke volumes, I thought.
This morning, Rocco linked to a write-up he did on Kurtz in 2007, which noted:
Earlier this month, the Knoxville diocese ordained its first class of permanent deacons, 29 in all. In a separate liturgy, Kurtz simultaneously ordained a father and son to the diaconate: permanent for the elder candidate, transitional for the younger.
The archbishop himself wrote warmly about the diaconate just this summer:
One of the main areas of ministry for deacons that is unnoticed is ministry within the workplace. Deacons bring the presence of Christ to those they work with day in and day out with their calm demeanor, positive attitude, and openness to listening to others. And, I can’t speak about our archdiocesan diaconate without acknowledging the wonderful ministry provided by deacons’ wives, who support their husbands in ministry and who often share ministry with their husbands in areas such as marriage preparation, Communion to shut-ins, and youth ministry. We are truly blessed with the gifts of these men and women.
When I present each newly ordained deacon with the Book of the Gospels, I charge each one with these words: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” Through their service in the liturgy, their outreach to those in need, and their witness of faith, our deacons are truly heralds of the Gospel. Please take the time to pray for all deacons and to personally thank those deacons who are serving you.
Thank you, archbishop—and congrats!