The Diocese of Norwich Deacons and Wives Retreat gathered for a weekend retreat in June 2017.
Deacon Bill Ditewig presented: The Spirituality of the Deacon, seen through the eyes of St. Pope St. John XXIII
Presented by Deacon Bill Ditewig, PhD
June 30 – July 2, 2017
Immaculata Retreat House, Willimantic, CT
During this retreat Bill presented several video clips from the biography of St Pope John XXIII.
Deacon Ditewig holds a Doctorate in Theology from Catholic University of America. He is a noted author, columnist, educator and retreat leader. He has presented and led retreats throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to numerous articles and essays, Bill is the author of some ten books, including: 101 Questions and answers on Deacons; The Emerging Diaconate: Servant Leaders for a Servant Church; To Be and to Serve: The Ministerial Identify of the Deacon. He currently working on his latest book entitled, The Future of the Diaconate: The Next Fifty Years. Bill was ordained Deacon in 1990 by Cardinal James Hickey for the Archdiocese of Washington, DC; from 2002-2007 he served as Executive Director for the USCCB’s Secretariat for the Diaconate. He has been married to his lovely wife, Diann, for forty-six years. They have four children and, at last count, fourteen grandchildren.
I would be called John - Pope John XXIII - videos
At last weekend's Convocation many participants once again enthusiastically endorsed collecting donations from the Norwich Deacon community to build another Haitian Happy House. We collected $1,000 in donations from the participants at that time. Our goal is $1,250, the amount it takes to fund a 'Happy House'.
We were also made aware that there is also a 'Happier House' program which adds several amenities to a 'Happy House' including a 'composting toilet' and costs $1,900. There are also many needs that have resulted from the devastation that hurricane Mathew inflicted on the Haitian people. If we collect more than $1,250, we will donate the extra to the Haitian Health Foundation to apply where they feel it will do the most good.
We are extending an invitation to all Norwich Deacons to contribute to this worthy cause. Last year we donated $1,550 with the help of the donations mailed after the convocation. We are hoping for the same enthusiastic response this year. If you would like to contribute, please mail your donation to:
215 Oakwood Drive
Windham, CT 06280
Please make any checks payable to 'Haitian Health Foundation'. I will be sending out updates as additional donations come in.
Please login to the Norwich Diaconate Website to access more information.
What is a Deacon?
Dedicated to the works of charity and functions of administration, deacons recall the admonition of St. Polycarp: "Let them be merciful and zealous, and let them walk according to the truth of the Lord who became servant of all." (Lumen Gentium, #29)
The ministry of a deacon is similar to but different from that of a priest of bishop. A deacon is ordained and missioned by Christ through the bishop to minister to the needy and the poor and to be a minister of Word and Sacrament, working in obedience to his bishop and in close fraternal cooperation with priests. While all Christians are called to serve others, the deacon is a sacramental sign of this service and he solemnly promises to be a living example of such service for others.
Ministers of Service
Though all are servants by Baptism, the deacon is ordained as a sacramental sign of Christ the Servant. Deacons offer direct service to those in need, and to help church members to discover their participation in the ministry of Christ. Service is the calling of the deacon and he is ordained to be a facilitator and animator of the Church's call to be servant in the world. The deacon "is in the Church a specific sacramental sign of Christ the servant" (Congregation for the Clergy, Direction for the ministry and the life of permanent deacons, 22.2.1998, n. 5) Ministers of the Church
Deacons are ordained for the service of the diocese and are recognized as collaborative associates of the Bishop and priests, lay ministers and professionals. The ministry of deacons in parishes, and in special outreach ministries, calls for a team approach complimentary to the ministries of others.
Deacons share in the Sacrament of Orders with the Bishop and priests. By ordination the deacon is brought into a new relationship in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Graced for ministry, the deacon is publicly acknowledged by the Church as one called by God to serve the community of believers and the evangelizing mission of the church.
What They Do
A deacon’s ministry evolves in response to the specific needs of the Church and his God-given talents. There are three dimensions of diaconal service: Ministry of Service, Ministry of the Word of God, and Ministry of Liturgy.
The deacon reaches out to the poor, the sick, the elderly, the divorced, the imprisoned and others in order to first address their HUMAN needs. He does charitable, administrative and welfare work in the name of the Church. He organizes, leads, animates and supports the many ministries of the Church. He assists in marriage and baptismal preparation as well as being involved in social ministries at every level.
Having thus been identified in the role of servant, he may then become more effectively a liturgical minister to proclaim the Gospel and preach, to assist at the Eucharist, celebrate Eucharistic devotions, to baptize and witness marriages, to administer sacramentals and to bury the dead. In all that they do, deacons act as servants of the church.