Deacons honored at anniversary dinner

Seventeen deacons, including two marking 40 years of service, were honored Aug. 27 at the annual anniversary dinner of the Archdiocese of Omaha permanent diaconate.

Honored for the 40th anniversary of their ordination were Deacons Keith Pavlik and Andrew Foray.

Deacon Pavlik, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., and now serving St. Wenceslaus Parish in Verdigre, his hometown, received a plaque from Archbishop George J. Lucas.

Deacon Foray, ordained in the Archdiocese of Chicago and now at St. Mary Parish in Bellevue, was unable to attend.

The two honorees were ordained in the very early years of the return of the permanent diaconate after Vatican II, and Archbishop Lucas noted that many people can’t remember a time without permanent deacons.

He called the diaconate a vital part of life in the archdiocese, and said that presence is especially evident in this Year of Mercy. Deacons play an important role in making mercy personal, the archbishop said, through their ordination personifying Jesus and the mercy of the Father.

"Works of mercy always have been at the heart of the diaconate," he said.

"Thanks on behalf of the church," Archbishop Lucas said to the deacons, calling his message both "official and personal."

Other deacons honored (parishes in Omaha unless noted):

Thirty Years: Deacons Frank Hilt, Our Lady of Lourdes-St. Adalbert; Stan Kurtz, St. James; and Eugene Schimonitz, St. Pius X. Deacon Chuck Weskirchen, now living in California, did not attend.

Twenty Years: Deacons Ken Batenhorst, St. Mary, West Point, and Skip St. Arnold, Sacred Heart, Norfolk. Not present were Deacons Jim De Blauw, now part of the Des Moines Diocese; Roland Kaiser, Arnold, Mo; and George Knockenhauer, St. Leo the Great.

Ten Years: Deacons Charles Sukup, now serving in Florida; and David Klein, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Not present were Deacons Richard Crotty, Sacred Heart; Greg Mouton and Jeff Olsenholler, both serving in Texas; and Benedictine Brother Andrew Fuller, Christ the King Priory, near Schuyler.

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