At this time last year I was both looking forward to my ordination with great anticipation… and wondering just what the future as an ordained member of the clergy would hold. This morning at 6:08AM when my iPod popped up a message from Danielle E. Cummings, Diocesan Director of Communications, announcing the appointment of the Most Reverend Robert J. Cunningham as the next bishop of our diocese , effective May 26, 2009, I wondered once again about that future. My first thought: where do Permanent Deacons fit into Bishop Cunningham’s vision of the future for the Diocese of Syracuse? Our present bishop, James Moynihan, has been a solid supporter of the diaconate. But what of the new leader of the diocese?
A bit of research yielded some indications. According to the Summer 2005 Region II Permanent Deacon News, “After the spring of 2004 and the installation of Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, the diocese developed and began to implement a new program.” of diaconate formation. The diocese had just come off a two year hiatus without a program after the closure of the Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg. The new program, heavily invested in on-line instruction through Notre Dame’s STEP program (Satellite Theological Education Program), has prepared over a dozen men for ordination.
The diocesan efforts have paid off, with 13 men to be ordained to the (deaconformationrequest_march2009) permanent diaconate on September 19, 2009, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg, New York. A bright future for the diaconate in this north country diocese… and a sign of support from the new bishop designate.
Indeed, what a difference a year makes!
LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Press Release, Diocese of Syracuse