Deacon Richard Dodd: “It was grace that helped me answer the call”

Richard Dodd experienced the call to become a deacon three times since the late 80s. However, he had three teenage daughters and felt that the timing was not right. After losing his first wife to breast cancer, he became widowed.

It wasn’t until three days after his second marriage, when he heard the call again, but this time he answered it.

“Through prayer and reflection, the Holy Spirit guides a man or woman to what is in their hearts,” Dodd said. “I pray for one thing. I pray for grace. It was grace that helped me answer the call. How that grace will guide me remains to be seen.”

Dodd has been commissioned as a Catholic Lay Evangelist, is a second grade sacramental prep teacher, head of Holy Family Men’s Emmaus Ministry, and he serves as a prison chaplain in multiple state prisons.

“I have found great joy in serving the inmates,” he said. “I love the unlovable. I hope for the hopeless. We have had great success in bringing them out and transitioning them out into society through St. Peter Claver Ministry.”

Dodd said one of the things that he has learned throughout his discernment and prayers are how loved we are, and how we are called to love others.

“I know that I love more deeply and I’m grateful for faith and family and everything in what we do is part of God’s story,” he said. “I am blessed to be an instrument of His love for others.”

Dodd is a native of Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia and has been a member of Holy Family since 1997. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from George Washington University and holds a master’s in theology from St. Leo University.


1 of 10 men who shared stories of faith on their diaconate journey before Ordination to the Permanent Diaconate on June 10, 2017