CARY – Deacons from throughout the diocese gathered Saturday, Feb 11, at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary. The convocation, which took place on a spring-like day, began with morning prayers led by Monsignor Michael Shugrue, diocesan administrator. After prayers, Monsignor Shugrue and Father James Garneau, director of the Permanent Diaconate, led a conversation in the fellowship hall. Topics included issues and concerns of deacons, deacons’ wives and their parishes.
Father Garneau explained the process of selection of a bishop for the diocese. He outlined the steps in the process and the roles played in the selection.
Monsignor Shugrue remarked on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and the need for ecumenical unity. He recalled the 50-year-old covenant for church unity that was adopted statewide between Lutherans and Catholics. He urged the assembled deacons to find ways to promote church unity and celebrate shared values within communities. Monsignor offered his impressions of service as diocesan administrator, particularly the pride he felt learning of the work of Catholic Charities in Lumberton following Hurricane Matthew.
Deacons offered observations, including relevant concerns for the current environment within the Hispanic community. Monsignor Shugrue advised that a diocesan statement on the “national discussion regarding immigration and refugees” had been issued. He also noted that that statement would be read in parishes.
The day concluded with Mass. Father Garneau preached about Father Thomas Price and his devotion to the Holy Mother of God and the Immaculate Conception. He also noted Father Price’s North Carolina roots, mission work in China and association with St. Bernadette, the visionary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
Father Garneau asked deacons and their wives -- who were also present at convocation -- to be reminded of Father Price’s devotion. Referring to scripture, he encouraged deacons to remember the broken and damaged. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” he quoted.
Following the homily, Monsignor Shugrue led the diaconate community in a re-dedication of their vows.
The Diocese of Raleigh is served by 79 permanent deacons, and 18 men are in formation to serve.
-Deacon Bob Bridwell