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Permanent Deacons Hold 2018 Retreat

By Deacon James King, Special To The Message
Bishop Joseph M. Siegel, center in back, stands with Diocese of Evansville permanent deacons and their wives for this group photo during the Sept. 28-30 deacons retreat at St. Nicholas Lodge in Santa Claus.

Permanent deacons of the Diocese of Evansville gathered Sept. 28-30 for the annual deacon retreat, held this year at St. Nicholas Lodge in Santa Claus. Wives are also invited on this weekend, and many were able to attend.

The retreat master for the weekend was Benedictine Father Eugene Hensell of St. Meinrad, and he led us using the parables of Jesus as paradigm for pastoral ministry. There were many spiritual insights and opportunities offered in Father Eugene’s talks as he opened Jesus’ parables. I left the weekend feeling renewed in how the Love of God works in the world, and in our ministry as deacons.

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel opened the retreat on Sept. 28 by celebrating Mass with our group. In his homily, the bishop spoke about the Gospel, remembering our ministry and the challenges the church faces.

He thanked us for our ministry and our wives for their support of our ministry. He opened with the Gospel of the Day, focusing on the question Christ asks in the Gospel; who do you say that I am?

He reflected that our answer not only speaks of how we view Christ and experience his presence in our lives, but also how we live our lives in response to him and his call to discipleship and particularly to the diaconate.

The Bishop also addressed the current sexual misconduct crisis in the Church, calling us as deacons to be part of the healing process through our prayer and support for victims of abuse.  He spoke about the diocesan safe environment program and new initiatives in the Church that mandate greater accountability for bishops.

The Bishop reminded us that it is when we live our diaconal vocation with fervor, devotion and integrity, conforming ourselves to Christ through our prayer, service and ministry of the word, that we can help in the purification and renewal of the Church.

He called us to be attentive and available to everyone in our parishes, especially the sick, the poor, the grieving and those who just need someone to listen to them.  It is by ministering with joy and zeal, even in these difficult times, that we answer Jesus's question, proclaiming that he is truly our Lord and Savior.

This was a wonderful way for us to begin our weekend together and through the course of the retreat we celebrated Mass each day, prayed together, ate together, and enjoyed each other’s fellowship. It was good for us, and we are all thankful for the prayer and support of the communities we serve.

Deacons who were able to attend include Albert Frabutt, Bill Brandle, Bill Consley, Charlie Johnson, Charlie Korresel, Cletus Yochum, Cyril Will, Dave Cook, David Rice, Dennis Hilderbrand, Dennis Russell, Don Yochum, Earl Ruppel, Ed Wilkerson, James King, Jim Woebkenburg, John Huether, John McMullen, Joseph Siewers, Kevin Bach, Levi Schnellenberger, Marc McDonald, Mike Helfter, Mike Jones, Mike Waninger, Paul Vonderwell, Reynoldo Carandang, Richard Leibundguth, Rocky Mattingly, Tim Cox, Tom Cervone, Tom Evans, Tom Holsworth, Tom Kempf, Tom Kirsch, Tom Lambert, Vince Bernardin, Joe Seibert, Dave McDaniel and Jim Flynn.

Deacon King serves at Christ the King Parish in Ferdinand.