Diocese in Spain gets its first permanent deacon

From Catholic News Agency: 

Alberto José Gonzalez is a 50-year-old retired police officer, married with two daughters, who recently began his ministry as the first permanent deacon in the Diocese of Gijón, Spain.

Whether it is in the National Police Force or as a member of the clergy, “a service is provided to the people and that is precisely my vocation,” he told the newspaper El Comercial.

Gonzalez said he was always a believer and since his youth, “the great mysteries such as life, the universe, and things related to God always greatly impressed me.”

After some health problems prevented him from continuing his work as a policeman, he decided to take an early retirement.

It was while he was on sick leave that the possibility of becoming a permanent deacon matured.

Key to his discernment was an “intense conversation” with a priest who had experienced a conversion and been ordained following a life of drug use far from the Church.

Gonzalez retired from the National Police Force in August 2011. In September that same year, he enrolled in the San Melchor de Quirós Higher Institute of Religious Studies in Oviedo, Spain where he studied for three years.

He was ordained on Dec. 13 last year, along with two other men who had studied alongside him – one to the permanent diaconate and the other to the transitional diaconate.

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