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Deacon’s Council Minutes - November 28, 2007

Present: Rev. Bill Kelly; Deacons, Crimmins, Donoghue, Shanahan, Boyle, Turner, Spiri, Whipple, Straub, Delaney, Guerini, Pepi, and Hardcastle.

  1. Opening Prayer: The meeting was convened at 7:10PM with opening prayer led by Deacon Guerini.

  1. Minutes of the previous meeting were reviewed and accepted. These will be posted on the archdiocesan diaconate web page.

  1. Father Bill Remarks: Cardinal Sean was not present since he had just returned from the consistory in Rome. Fr. Bill noted that Sister Mary Reardon is now Associate Director of the Diaconate, assuming the position once held by Sr. Clare O’Keefe. Sr. Mary will be the liaison to the wives, as well as assist in post ordination follow up.

  1. Upcoming Events: Deacon Guerini noted that The Deacon’s Convocation with Cardinal Sean will take place on February 23, 2008 at Saint Patrick Stoneham. Deacon Fornier will be the guest speaker, with Mass at 11AM, luncheon, talk, and conclusion before 4PM to allow for deacons to assist at scheduled Mass service sin their parishes. Deacon Whipple suggested that this be well publicized to maximize attendance. Deacon Guerini noted that a mass mailing will be made (hard copy) in addition to e-mail announcements. Deacon Pepi mentioned an earlier suggestion that name of attendees be publicized as returns come in to encourage others to attend. This was taken under advisement. Deacon Delaney suggested a better method to reach non e-mail Deacons, of which there are 59. Deacon Guerini reiterated the mass mailing, and will follow up on suggestions for telephone communication for other events, as Mass mailing becomes somewhat expensive. Deacon Spiri seconded the need for telephone contact and suggested a deacon representative sub contact chain. Deacon Boyle inquired about a later date to avoid the winter season; Fr. Bill noted that Easter, First Communion, and increased spring parish activities dictated the February timing.

    On April 24, 2008, a Jubilarian celebration of permanent deacons (Class of 1980, 82, and 83) will be held at Saint Julia parish in Weston. More info will follow as the date approaches.

  2. New Positions: In addition to adding Sr. Mary as Associate Director, Deacon Pat Guerini has accepted the positions of both Assistant Director of Clergy Personnel and Assistant Director in the Office of Clergy Support and Ongoing Formation
    Deacon Guerini will keep all informed on retreats, continuing education opportunities, deacons and their families in need of prayer, deaths, post ordination, and other issues. Deacon Guerini was applauded for his efforts, already visible in much increased communication.

    Deacon Guerini noted that the Office of Canonical Affairs should be the first contact for relocating deacons to obtain credential letter as a deacon in good standing.
  3. Director of Formation Update: Deacon Donoghue noted that there are 18 new candidates for the class of 2007 currently in formation at Fr. Sessani’s parish (Our Lady’s) in Newton. They are meeting twice a week along with their wives. Saturday programs are planned in homiletics, and perhaps the Liturgy Practicum, and other opportunities. Classes will alternate between the South (Braintree) and North (location to be determined) for all new classes which will now begin yearly. Ten Spanish deacons and 17 English speaking deacons will be ordained on May 31 of next year. New classes for Spanish deacons will form after each current class is ordained, so there will always be a Spanish class in formation.

    Deacon Donoghue mentioned that numbers are dropping at the NADD annual convention currently held at Newport (340 compared to earlier 500) and perhaps it is time to look at alternate (less expensive) sites with good amenities. A survet will be sent in the mail.

    The US Bishops have restructured one national office for Clergy, eliminating Deacon Ditewig’s position. The good news is Cardinal Sean has been appointed director of that office.

    Regional Reports: Deacon Turner reported it was good to be with Bishop Irwin who may seek deacon assistance at all Confirmations, particularly due to his mobility. Deacon Spiri reported that the West region meetings are quiet since June, and will likely pick up once again. Deacon Boyle noted that the South region had dinner with the new Bishop Dooher and it was a good night. Deacon Guerini noted the Central Region was quiet – it is difficult together many in that area. Deacon Crimmins said the regional meeting the past year with Bishop Allue had over 30 deacons in attendance and the Bishop was very upbeat and supportive toward diaconate.
  4. Regional Representative Issues
    Deacon Pepi noted that he and Deacon Crimmins are in the West Region as part of restructure but are representing Merrimack, and are happy to do so, but at some point this may need remedy. Deacon Guerini noted new elections are pending next year. Regional representatives should be from the parish at which they minister, not necessarily where they reside. Composition of the Deacon Board will be discussed at the February 2008 meeting.

    Deacons Delaney, Spiri, Boyle and others reiterated need for better communication beyond email.

    There was considerable discussion on the acknowledgement of diaconal community contributions and one of the deacons wondered if the PILOT office knows that deacons exist. Fr. Bill noted that publicity opportunities to promote diaconate would increase, as will Pilot coverage; currently, Pilot reporting is understaffed. A deacon present noted that deacons need no praise for their work, but often their services are not acknowledged from above, and sometimes that hurts. Several deacons present noted that they are not in the loop and are sometimes made to feel not an integral part of the clergy. There was additional discussion on fees being assessed new deacon candidates (on the order of $3500 over four years). Many felt this excessive and even demeaning to potential clergy who serve without remuneration. Deacon Straub noted that deacons are not included in the general parish mailings, such as Presbyteral Council and Parish Council minutes, and Fr. Bill noted he would look into remedying that.

    With regard to board meeting frequency, some felt that in the absence of the Cardinal perhaps the vicar general could be present, but Fr. Bill noted that is no the role of the vicar but rather his role, and others noted the fine job being done by Fr. Bill. It was suggested by Deacon Whipple that the board meeting be held more frequently, rather than plan around the Cardinal’s schedule and conflicts that might prevent him from attending at any rate. Deacon Shanahan suggested perhaps bi-monthly meetings, with three a year around the Cardinal’s schedule and 3 otherwise, to promote communication and discuss issues at greater length.
  5. Closing: Time prohibited further discussion on the goals of the board and sub committees, which will be discussed at the next meeting on February 13. Fr. Bill Kelly led us in a closing prayer, and the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Deacon John Pepi
Deacon Community Board Secretary

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