Thirty-nine men discerning a call to the permanent diaconate attended a Day of Reflection with their wives at St. James Cathedral on May 7. The theme for this year’s Day of Reflection was “Who Do You Love? Who Do You Serve?” Men who answer the call to become deacons, along with their wives, are challenged throughout the formation process to understand that they are being configured to Jesus Christ, the Servant.
The Day of Reflection was led by Deacon Fred D’Angelo, Saint Brendan Parish, Ormond Beach and Deacon Herbie Toledo, St. Peter Parish, Deland. Deacon Herbie identified the vision for the day as having all of those attending experience a shift or movement from within that would lead toward a greater love and deeper faith in Jesus Christ. This vision was achieved through the use of music, dancing, singing, praising, video clips, faith sharing, witness opportunities, and Sacred Scripture and Tradition woven together to inspire and promote the greatest asset as sons and daughters of the Creator: love.
Leaders expressed that what Christ is teaching his followers is so much more than simple service. The ministerial identity of deacons challenges them to always remain faithful Disciples of Christ, while also eagerly accepting the challenge of emptying themselves just as Christ did. Deacons are called to make disciples by introducing people to Jesus Christ and His new commandment, “love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34).
Deacon Herbie explained that music and prayer allowed for meditation and soul searching, the dancing brought laughter, joy and created bonding moments that define family. People that can laugh together, grow into people that can cry together, and they grow into people that can pray together, and then into people with an amazing love of God and neighbor.
This Day of Reflection focused on the men in formation for the permanent diaconate and their wives; yet, its message was universal for baptized Christians. All of the baptized are called to a vocation as Christ’s disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world.