He lived 18 centuries ago, but much like today, Saint Lawrence encountered troubled times. Still, he never stopped serving others and kept loving the Lord, to the point of surrendering his life.
Bishop David Zubik helped mark the Feast of Saint Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, with a Mass and dinner on August 10 with deacons, candidates to the diaconate, and their spouses.
One of seven deacons of Rome in the third century, Saint Lawrence was martyred in 258 A.D.
“Lawrence became a saint because he hungered and thirsted for the Lord, not only for himself, but for the sake of the Christian community that was being persecuted and tortured in his day,” Bishop Zubik preached in his homily.
“His first lesson to us was to celebrate and to serve the Word of God, and to be an instrument, a visible sign of God’s presence, and endless acts of charity.
“Perhaps the most immediate challenge that you and I face is to call back those who have left this sacred celebration,” he added.
Bishop Zubik has called for a new class of Catholic men to begin formation to serve the Church as permanent deacons. Currently there are 96 deacons in active ministry and 27 men in the formation program, according to Deacon Stephen Byers, director.
“The respondents to Bishop Zubik’s call have been sincere,” Deacon Byers said. “The men who attended the three recent information sessions or have contacted the Diaconate Office are genuinely asking themselves if this might be what the Lord is asking of them.
“It’s a real joy to help men discern a possible call to the diaconate and to walk with those who embark on the formation journey,” he said.
Deacons assist priests at Mass, preach on occasion, and preside as needed at baptisms, weddings, funeral services and other liturgical functions. They also help provide pastoral care to people in hospitals and nursing homes, jails and prisons, and various other settings, sharing the faith by word and example.
Deacons along with bishops and priests constitute the three levels of ordained ministry in the Roman Catholic Church.
Applicants are required to be between the ages of 30 and 59, a college graduate with a secure job or source of income, in full communion with the Catholic Church, and they may be married or single.
To begin the process, a priest or deacon of the diocese needs to nominate the applicant by the deadline of September 1. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-456-3124, or www.diopitt.org/permanent-diaconate.