by Deacon Mike Whitehead
It has been a little over 11 years since the first Permanent Diaconate formation for the Diocese of Shreveport ordained 18 men in 2005, and three years since 16 more men joined them in 2014. Currently, there are 33 active deacons serving God and the people of this diocese in this ministry.
“Feedback on their service has been very positive and Bishop Duca is asking for more,” said Deacon Clary Nash, Deacon Formation Director.
A third formation for the Permanent Diaconate is scheduled to begin in September and the Diocese of Shreveport is again seeking men who are being called to a life of service. The application and selection process is now under way. If you feel God is calling you to this ministry, now is a great time to formally begin the discernment process, open a dialogue and have your questions and concerns answered.
Deacons can reach out to the Church community in many different ways. They are called to live the Gospel in every way, every day. The function of a deacon is to serve the Church by using their gifts and talents already given them by God for the purpose of service to God in serving God’s people.
Formation is designed to enhance those gifts and prepare these men for a lifetime of service, thereby adding a quality of life for them, our Church and surrounding communities. One of the roles of a deacon is to increase the involvement of the laity by support and guidance.
St. Pope John Paul II said, “The deacon’s tasks include that of promoting and sustaining the apostolic activities of the laity. To the extent he is more present and more involved than the priest in secular environments and structures, in common service to the kingdom of God.”
The deacons of Shreveport have answered the call to service. They help make Christ more relevant, human and understood in the world. They give witness to Christian values in the marketplace as ordained ministers. Deacons are called to leadership, to find ways to promote justice and charity and support Christian values in the world, in the name of the Catholic Church.
“As a deacon for over 30 years for the Diocese of Shreveport, God has blessed me abundantly in every day of my service,” Deacon Nash said. “It has been my honor to be the director of their formations.”
Since the institution of diaconate formation in the Diocese of Shreveport, the people of God have experienced a surge of energy, evangelization, inspiration and outreach to those in need.
“One of my cherished memories is of Deacon Sonny Daigle, who with terminal cancer, had a special ministry and love to those incarcerated,” Deacon Nash said. “His frequent visits included scripture study, personal examples, encouragement and his sincere concern and love for God and all God’s people. As a result, several men had life-changing experiences, converted and were confirmed into the Catholic Church. Their new-found faith upholds, sustains and now inspires others during this period of their life. With Deacon Sonny gone now, who will take his place? God is calling.”
To learn more about the role of a deacon in your parish, please contact Deacon Clary Nash at 318-868-4441, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for inquiries into the diaconate program is Monday, April 3, 2017. •