Toronto deacons celebrate 35 years of service

  • May 9, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - After 35 years the men ordained to the permanent diaconate for the archdiocese of Toronto are still discovering new ways to be deacons — new ways to serve God and the church.

Deacon Rob Kinghorn does it by walking some of the most dangerous streets in Toronto on Thursday nights between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. and praying with the people he meets – transvestite prostitutes, crack dealers, the lost and the lonely.

Deacon Dan Murphy, one of the originals ordained in 1974, has learned to be a deacon by encouraging other people to give themselves — their time, their abilities — to build up the church. Murphy serves by mentoring other deacons, lay people, whoever may make themselves available for service.

Bill Radigan, who will be ordained May 31, has learned to be a deacon by helping prison inmates and their families.

Each of these deacons is doing the most important thing required of deacons by their ordination, and required of all Christians in the Mass, Archbishop Thomas Collins told over 300 people who gathered at Villa Columbo May 6 to celebrate 35 years of the diaconate program in Toronto, and to welcome nine ordinandi into the fold.

As servants, deacons follow the example of Christ who washed the feet of his disciples at the last supper, Collins said.

“Washing the feet is central to the celebration of the Eucharist,” said the archbishop.

Over 35 years 225 men have been ordained to the diaconate in Toronto. There 110 currently active. Nine more will be ordained May 31, and 15 are in the formation program with the support and participation of their wives.

Deacons do some of the most essential and central work of the Christian community, said Collins.

“It’s not rocket science. It’s not complex. It’s very simple,” said Collins. “But it’s not easy.”

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