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Deacon Steven Clifford of St. John Bosco dies at 71

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Deacon Steven M. Clifford of St. John Bosco Church in Woodstock died June 26, at age 71. A convert to Catholicism, he was involved in multiple ministries at the church, including as a catechist, and served as deacon from his ordination until his death.

Deacon Clifford was born April 22, 1950, in Logan, Utah, and grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where his family had been members for five generations.

He received a bachelor’s degree in foreign language and literature from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, in 1975 and a master’s in information systems from Golden Gate University in San Francisco in 1992. He spent more than 23 years in the military, serving four in the Air Force and 19 in the Army.

He married his wife, Anne, a Catholic, in 1971 while stationed in Germany with the Air Force. The couple had two daughters whom they raised Catholic.

In 1994, Clifford was received into the Catholic Church at St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton. That same year, he retired from the military and began a second career as a contractor for the Department of Defense, retiring in 2012 after 16 years. He remained active with consulting work, activities in the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office as the sheriff’s chaplain and auxiliary deputy sheriff, and with various ministries at St. John Bosco.

In 2009, he entered the Arlington diocesan diaconate formation program and was ordained to the permanent diaconate Jan. 18, 2014. He was assigned to St. John Bosco, where he served for seven years.

During his time at St. John Bosco, he served as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion, assisted with the John Bosco youth group, and was an instructor for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

He taught eighth grade confirmation for years. As a convert himself, he said he became a catechist to help spread the faith. “It’s a way that I felt that I could help others to come to the faith and to know Christ and to help share my faith with others,” Clifford told the Catholic Herald in 2012. “I look at the youths as being the future of the church and it’s very important to make that investment in the kids and to help them to know the faith and be better Christians in the world.”

Deacon Clifford is survived by his wife, Anne; two daughters, Caroline Spinelli and Jenny Luetkemeyer; eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and his sister, Sue Kidman. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021