GLASSBORO — On Aug. 10, the Catholic Church remembered Saint Lawrence, a deacon in the early church who was martyred.
It was more than fitting, then, for the diaconate community of the Diocese of Camden to come together that same day for a Holy Door Pilgrimage to the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, part of Mary, Mother of Mercy Parish.
Ninety-one permanent deacons, diaconate candidates and their wives experienced an evening of reconciliation, prayer and fellowship during this Jubilee of Mercy.
Gathering at the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, the community prayed the rosary before approaching, and passing through the Holy Door, making a public acknowledgment of repentance and recommitment to their faith.
Time for reconciliation and adoration preceded the celebration of the Eucharist; afterward, all moved to Mercy Hall for dinner.
In his homily during the liturgy, Father Terry Odien, Vicar for Clergy, echoing the words of Saint Paul in the day’s readings, challenged all to be “cheerful givers,” to “die to ourselves, in a spirit of joy, and be a faithful disciple of Jesus.”
“Mercy is an essential element of what the diaconate community in the Diocese of Camden is doing,” in their work in such areas as hospital and prison ministry, said Deacon Leo McBlain, Director of Personnel for the Office of the Permanent Diaconate. The day brought a “powerful feeling of joy,” he added.
“I am proud to be a deacon, and am thankful that we can be a community that prays together,” said Deacon Russell Davis, from the Parish of All Saints, Millville, and the diocesan Director of Stewardship.
“Father Terry’s words challenged us to be ministers, to love our ministry and allow it to shine out of the core of our hearts, so that others may know Jesus,” he said.