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First deacon of Arlington Diocese dies at 90

Deacon Daniel F. Resendes, the first deacon ordained for the Arlington Diocese, died Nov. 17 at age 90.

A wake will be Nov. 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Moser Funeral Home, 233 Broadview Ave., Warrenton. The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Nov. 29 at 11 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 271 Winchester St., Warrenton.

Deacon Resendes was appointed the first director of Migration and Refugee Services for the Arlington Diocese in 1975 and was primarily responsible for resettling Vietnamese refugees. His work as an intelligence officer in Vietnam prepared him for that role. He served as associate director of diocesan Catholic Charities from 1976 to 1980.

He was born May 30, 1926, in Fall River, Mass. He graduated from St. Charles College High School in Catonsville, Md., and earned a bachelor’s of science in history and political science from Chaminade College in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1968. He graduated from Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis.

He was drafted into the Army in 1944 and served in the Philippines. He retired from the Army in 1974.

His diaconate studies began in Costa Rica where he was stationed and then continued at St. Joseph Seminary in Washington when he was assigned to the Pentagon. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate Oct. 5, 1974, and served at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

He became program director for the permanent diaconate program in 1981. In 1982 he was the assistant administrator Notre Dame Catechetical Institute and was the vice president of finance administration and treasurer in 1991.  

Deacon Resendes spent from 1986 to 1991 in the Diocese of Gallup, N.M. He served as director of the Sacred Heart Retreat Center, administrator of St. Jerome’s Navajo Mission, diocesan vice chancellor and director of religious education.

He returned to Arlington in 1991 and retired from the diaconate in 1996 after spinal stenosis made it difficult to walk. He was confined to a wheelchair for the last years of his life. Deacon Resendes directed the RCIA program at Fort Myer in Arlington in 1997.

He is survived by his daughter, Ann Gutierrez, and son, Daniel Richard Resendes. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, died in 2009. They were married 62 years.   

 Father James R. Gould, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in WarreDeacon Resendes 2nton, has known Deacon Resendes since Father Gould was called to work with diocesan Catholic Charities.

“He was my first boss and introduction to the diocese,” said Father Gould. “He was a tremendous example to all deacons and a great friend to all priests in the diocese.”

Father Gould said Deacon Resendes was at Mass every Sunday with his breviary in hand. He said he offers his highest commendation to Deacon Resendes’ daughter, Ann, taking care of him.

“His greatest example was his prayer and humility. He was very devout. He will be missed,” said Father Gould. “We’ve lost a great friend and good deacon.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016