Diocese of Norwich Diaconate


Deacon Happy House in Haiti

Diocese of Norwich Deacon's Happy House

A typical Haitian house, near Jérémie.

A typical Haitian house, near Jérémie.

Since 1997, the HHF has been providing housing for the homeless and for poor families residing in hovels in rural southern Haiti.  Housing for many in rural Haiti is deplorable. Often, large families live together in small, rickety shacks of cardboard, tin, rags, and straw with dirt floors. Vermin – including mice, rats, and insects – are impossible to control, and the straw roofs constantly leak or are blown away by even fairly mild rainstorms. Space is so sparse that people often sleep in shifts.


The Haitian Health Foundation's Happy House program replaces these shacks with concrete block buildings with a cement floor, a tin roof, windows and doors. Recipients are selected by a vote of Village Committees to ensure that only the most needy receive them. They participate in building the houses by providing labor when possible, as well as sand, rocks, and water. The Happy House construction costs approximately $1,250 per house. Families often feel that their Happy House is a mansion when compared with their previous dwelling.


The Happy House program builds homes made of made of cement, with a tole roof, windows, and doors.

The Happy House program builds homes made of made of cement, with a tole roof, windows, and doors.

The Happy House provides humane living conditions, improved sanitation and dignity. In addition:

  • Communities grow through cooperation and care for the extremely poor.
  • Protection from the elements and improved sanitation results in improved health.
  • Poor families are empowered through their contributions to the realization of their own home.
  • Trades workers and other laborers gain employment and opportunities to improve their skills.
  • The local economy benefits from the sale of building materials.


In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Diocese of Norwich Diaconate Community purchased one house each year.  We are now building on that good work with a home in 2015.  

Please contact Deacon Larry Goodwin with your contributions to this project.

Happy House, before and after.

Happy House, before and after.

Happy House, before and after.

Happy House, before and after.

Deacon Convocation -January 2018

Deacon Convocation January  5-7, 2018


Immaculata Retreat House, Willimantic CT



The Diaconate at 50 Years: 
A Look at Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Presenter:  Deacon Greg Kandra

Greg KandraDeacon Greg Kandra is a Roman Catholic deacon serving the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York.  In February 2011, he was named the Executive Editor of ONE, the acclaimed magazine published by the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA). 

Prior to his work with CNEWA, Deacon Greg enjoyed a long career in broadcast journalism. He spent nearly three decades as a writer and producer for CBS News, where he contributed to “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” “60 Minutes II,” “48 Hours,” (Emmy Award, Writers Guild of America Award) and “Sunday Morning.”


Deacon Greg is also featured in the three homily collections “Hungry and You Fed Me,” “Naked and You Clothed Me,” and “Sick and You Cared for Me” by Clear Faith Publishing. All sales of those books benefit charities in New Jersey.

Deacon Greg grew up in Maryland (Go Terps!) but he and his wife today live in the beautiful borough of Queens, New York.





Deacon Convocation 2017

Deacons and Wives and Candidates,


You are invited to attend to participate in our 2017 Diaconate Convocation at Immaculata Retreat House in Willimantic on January 6-8, 2017.  The convocation theme this year is:






Our convocation presenter is Fr. Daniel Renaud, OMI 


Renaud Daniel.OMI

Fr. Daniel Renaud is a Roman Catholic priest (ordained in 2003) with the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI). After many years working as a certified Drama educator, he earned a Bachelor of Theology at Saint Paul University, Ottawa (1999) and holds an MA in Youth Ministry from Boston College, Massachusetts. Preacher, speaker and spiritual guide in both Canada and the USA; Fr. Renaud was director of Campus Ministry for more than ten years at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, On, Canada. He has extensive experience in spiritual direction and in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and is a member of Spiritual Director International (SDI).

Fr. Renaud also studied in the Christian Spirituality Program at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Ronald Rolheiser, president of the Oblate School of Theology (OST) in San Antonio, TX, mentored him in retreat ministry. In January 2016 he joined the staff at Immaculata Retreat House in Willimantic, CT for retreat ministry and spiritual direction as he continues itinerant preaching to lay and religious in the USA and Canada.






I think this convocation will be one of the best yet.

This year we will once again have Bishop Cote celebrating with us. Friday will be our annual prime rib dinner with wine. 

There will be a state of the union address by the Director.

There will be a status report on our two newly ordained Deacons

There will be an update on those men in formation with tentative ordination in the Summer of 2018

We’ll also talk about the identification and vetting process for new diaconate candidates and plans for starting a new larger diaconate formation class.


Many thanks for your service,


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Deacon Convocation Jan 8-10, 2016


Dear Deacons, Wives, and Candidates,


It is time to register for the Annual Diaconate Convocation. All Deacons, Wives, and Candidates are invited to attend. The Convocation will be Immaculata Retreat Center in Willimantic starting on Friday, January 8th, and concluding on Sunday, January 10th. A tentative schedule is attached. Plan to arrive between 4:30 and 5:00 PM. Assemble for Mass at 5:45 PM in the Chapel. All Deacons please bring along an alb and wear your alb and Diocesan White stole for the Mass. Mass with Bishop Cote begins at 6:00 PM.


Our speaker this year is Deacon Dennis Dorner, Director of Diaconate & the Atlanta Eucharistic Congress, Archdiocese of Atlanta. The theme of our Convocation is “The Deacon as a Minister of Mercy”. I will be calling individual Deacons to arrange for Morning and Evening Prayer and to assist at Mass. A final schedule for the convocation will be sent out about a week before the convocation.

Deacon Dennis Dorner serves as the Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate. In addition, Deacon Dorner is the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  Married for 43 years, he is the father of four and grandfather of three.  He graduated from Ohio Dominican University, Columbus, OH in 1974 with a BA in Business Administration.  Ordained in 2004 as a Permanent Deacon,  Deacon Dorner is assigned to St. Brigid Catholic Church in Johns Creek, GA. 


As you know, the Convocation is mandatory per Bishop Cote. My expectation is that everyone will attend unless there are medical issues or emergencies. I’m sure, based on past emails, that you have already blocked out these dates. If you have any problems with your registration please contact Deacon Michael Berstene, our deacon web master, at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please remember to include any food allergies or special diets when you register. We need to start finalizing the arrangements. More information to follow.


Many thanks,


Deacon Michael
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