Gretchen Crowe was there — and experienced the enthusiasm and joy so many of us have been savoring since we left.
From Our Sunday Visitor:
After the Charter, after the safe environments, after all of the apologies, the meeting with victims, the talk of transparency, the classes, the fingerprinting, even the excuses, it feels like we should be somewhere … better. But it turns out that we’re not, and it sure seems like we have a lot of work to do before we are.
So I needed a shot in the arm, big time.
Thankfully, at the end of July, I got one, in the form of 3,000 permanent deacons and their families who were gathered in New Orleans for the National Diaconate Congress.
The first clue that this would be a special event was that the opening Mass, which had been scheduled to be in the historic and beautiful St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter, was relocated to a massive Marriott Ballroom on Canal Street. The cathedral simply was not big enough to accommodate the crowd of deacons and their families. That fact alone was pretty astounding. And while the beautiful setting was sacrificed, the sheer number of participants made for a deeply moving first liturgy. And that set the tone for the rest of the impressive event.
These deacons are, to put it plainly, in love with and on fire for the Faith. And they are hungry for any help or support that they can get as they live out their ordained ministry.
These guys are in the trenches, visiting the sick, caring for the poor, visiting the prisoner. They are the manifestation of Christ the Servant to the world. And their witness is a reminder that while the Church is made up of humans who engage in bad behavior, it is also made up of many humans who are determined to engage in that which is good.