Permanent deacons gather for picnic in Warrenton

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About 50 permanent deacons, their wives and children attended the annual Permanent Deacon Picnic Aug. 25 at St. John the Evangelist Church in Warrenton.

"This is primarily an opportunity for what we call communio, a good brotherhood along with our families,” said one of the picnic organizers, Deacon Donald Libera, Jr.

"Fifty years of anything tells you the commitment of people, deacons and their wives, and also the support of the diocese and the bishops,” Deacon Libera said. “If you don’t have that, you don’t have a program."

This year is a special year, he said, because it marks the 50th anniversary of the reinstitution of the permanent diaconate in the United States.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s already been 50 years,” the parishioner of St. John the Evangelist added.

The diaconate program was reinstituted in the Diocese of Arlington by Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde in 2005. He ordained the first class of permanent deacons in 2011 for the first time in 20 years.

“Fifty years of anything tells you the commitment of people, deacons and their wives, and also the support of the diocese and the bishops,” Deacon Libera said. “If you don’t have that, you don’t have a program.”

About 20 volunteers from the Knights of Columbus Father Veger Council No. 561, the Ladies Auxiliary from Warrenton and Parish Trail Life Troop helped organize the event.

“It’s a special privilege to serve them and to be a Knight,” said Jim Hunt, a Knight of Columbus who volunteered to cook and serve at the picnic.

“The Knights of Columbus are always here to perform service to the church and the community,” said Knight Roy Francis, also a parishioner of St. John the Evangelist. “Particularly in these difficult times, it’s important that we’re out front supporting the church.”

“Thank all of you for the great gifts you are to our diocese and our church,” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge told the deacons in his remarks.

Parishioners gave Bishop Burbidge a tour of the new St. John Preschool. Construction was completed only a few weeks ago. It was built using some of the materials from and infrastructure of an old convent building. Bishop Burbidge took the opportunity to pray over the school, giving the building a special blessing with holy water.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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