By Deacon David Gray, Director of the Permanent Diaconate
On February 18-20 the Diaconate community of the Diocese of Orlando attended their annual retreat at the San Pedro Spiritual Development Center. This year’s retreat focused on the servants at the foot of the cross and provided an atmosphere of silence and prayer as a time to listen to God. As they reflected on the Passion of Christ, deacons were invited to enter into a reflection of the Paschal Mystery (dying and rising) in their lives. The retreat included spiritual conferences, time for quite reflection, perpetual adoration and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, morning and evening prayer, confessions, recitation of the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Benediction and the celebration of the Holy Liturgy on Saturday and Sunday.
Just before the Holy Liturgy Saturday morning, a prayer service was held to honor the deacons and the wives of deacons who were deceased. During the prayer service, 100 candles were lit – one for each one who had died over the years.
Sunday’s liturgy included the Rite of Acolyte celebrated by Bishop Noonan where eleven candidates in formation and discernment for diaconate ordination were installed into the Ministry of Acolyte (see list of newly installed acolytes below). As part of this special liturgy, Bishop Noonan addressed the diaconate community (deacons and their wives) along with the 11 candidates called to the Ministry of Acolyte as he connected their baptismal call to discipleship to the Ministry of Acolyte and the call of the ordained deacon.
Newly Installed Acolytes
- Israel Colon, Saint Augustine, Casselberry
- George Ferrioli, Saint John Neumann, Lakeland
- Mark King, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bartow
- Scott Lindeman, Sts. Peter and Paul, Winter Park
- Bill Timmes, St. Margaret Mary, Winter Park
- Luis Baez, Our Lady of the Lakes, Deltona
- Rick Chabot, Holy Family, Orlando
- Jim Ferruzzi, St. Stephen, Winter Springs
- Jerry Hempstead, Good Shepherd, Orlando
- Jim Spindler, Church of the Resurrection, Lakeland
- Bill Terneus, Ascension, Melbourne
The diaconate community was blessed by the presence of Bishop Noonan who presided over the Benediction on Saturday night and the Holy Liturgy on Sunday Morning. They were also blessed to have Father Jorge Torres as retreat director and guide throughout this 3 day spiritual journey. Father Torres serves as parochial vicar at Most Precious Blood Parish in Oviedo and as a campus minister at the University of Central Florida. Father Torres recently completed a Training Programs in Christian Spiritual Direction offered by the Institute of Priestly Formation at Mundelein Seminary.
Photos by Valeta Orlando