Deacon candidates and their wives: (top from left) Elisabete and Carlos Desousa; Rosilane and Elcio F. Dos Santos Jr.; Pamela and Alan Doty; (bottom from left) Charles and Virginia Landry Jr.; Cleyton and Simonny Moreira; Brian and Maureen Shea; and Mao and Van Vuong Nguyen. Photo courtesy/Deacon Timothy F. Donohue
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BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley will ordain seven men as permanent deacons at St. Edith Stein Parish in Brockton on Sept. 30, 2017 at 10 a.m.
The four-year journey to the diaconate for these seven men began in September 2013 when they began attending classes two nights a week with their wives. The Deaconate Formation Program also requires two retreats a year, one with wives and one together as a class, and monthly meetings on Saturdays for special speakers and topics not covered in the curriculum. The program now offers the men the option to complete a master's degree in theology after ordination with a few additional courses at The Theological Institute for New Evangelization.
Here are brief biographies on each of the men being ordained this year.
Carlos Alberto Desousa
Carlos Desousa and his wife, Elisabete, have been married for 14 years. They have one daughter, Ashley Elizabeth. The Desousas are originally from the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores, Portugal and are parishioners at St. Anthony Church, a Portuguese parish in Lowell.
When asked how he heard the call to the diaconate, Desousa said, "From an early age, I always felt a call from God to serve him. One day, I was watching a program on CatholicTV on diaconate formation. At that time, I asked my wife to watch the show with me. When the program finished, I turned to Elisabete and asked her 'What do you think?' she immediately replied, 'What are you waiting for!' Truly, with the prayers, assistance, and encouragement of my family, friends, and priests, I entered the Diaconate Formation Program."
Desousa commented that the past four years have been an outpouring of blessings from God to him and his family. He said Christ as been always at the center of his family's life "in all that we do, but most importantly, in all that we are."
Desousa will be assigned to Lowell Collaborative and also to the Archdiocesan Office of Cultural Diversity.
Elcio F. Dos Santos Jr.
Elcio F. Dos Santos Jr. and his wife, Rosilane dos Santos, both originally from Brazil, have been members of St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham for 25 years. They have three children: Junianny, Laurianny and Jonathan.
Dos Santos works as a surgical technologist at Boston Out-Patient Surgical in Waltham and is a member of the Family Pastoral Team at St. Tarcisius. He teaches baptism preparation and marriage preparation classes and assists at baptisms and eucharistic adoration at his parish regularly.
Before he came to the U.S., Dos Santos formed his strong faith through the teachings of the priests and nuns at Carmelite Middle School and Franciscan High School.
He said he found his initial calling to the diaconate 27 years ago when St. John Paul II, launched the Evangelization 2000. He felt his call to serve the Church flourished during the many seminars he attended centered on preaching and discipleship. "I felt deep inside of me that I was call(ed) to something (but) I did not know what it was."
Dos Santos recalls strong memories of his childhood, listening to his mother and grandmother pray the rosary in Italian and hearing his uncle, who was a permanent deacon, leading prayers and preaching. He said his wife and Deacon Manoel Basilio, a senior deacon at St. Tarcisius, "have been a blessing in my journey to the diaconate."
Dos Santos will be assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Marlborough and also to the Archdiocesan Office of Cultural Diversity.
Alan Doty and his wife Pamela live in Walpole where they raised their three children, Lauren, Meredith and Ross. Alan is employed as a senior product manager at Philips Healthcare in Cambridge.
Doty has attended Blessed Sacrament Parish in Walpole for more than 20 years. He has been active in his parish as a lector, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, and member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Doty said he first felt drawn to the diaconate as a young man through his friendship with Deacon Joseph Papile. He credits the support of his wife, the counsel of his spiritual advisor, and a lifelong devotion to the Blessed Mother as significant factors in his discernment to start the inquiry process.
"Formation has been a long, often difficult, but always deeply fulfilling journey," Doty said. "I constantly rely on my wife Pam, my classmates and, most importantly, the Holy Spirit for counsel, and the Blessed Mother for encouragement. I thank God daily for my vocation and for all that He has done for me in bringing me to this point. I look forward to serving his people as a deacon."
Doty will be assigned as deacon at Walpole Collaborative and is also assigned to the Archdiocesan Pro Life/Respect for Life Office.
Charles Landry Jr.
Charles Landry Jr. and his wife, Virginia, have been married for 42 years. Their son, Charles Landry III, and his wife Debbie have five children: Charles, Patrick, Benjamin, Julie Marie and Sabina Grace.
The couple is active in St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Hanson, serving as extraordinary ministers of Communion, members of the St. Mathew's Guild and the parish council, and helping with baptismal preparations. Charles Landry works as the director of Retirement Services for Voya Financial Services. His hobbies include gardening and bowling.
Landry found the inspiration to become a deacon through the relationship he developed with Deacon Jack Alexander at St. Joseph the Worker in Hanson. He describes his four years of study as an "enlightening experience."
Landry said he found the work at My Brother's Keeper in Easton and his work with Deacon Mattie Henry at South Shore Hospital very important to his personal spiritual growth during his formation. He continues to work with Deacon Henry on the "No One Dies Alone" Program.
Landry will be assigned as deacon at St. Thecla Parish in Pembroke and is also assigned to the Archdiocesan Metropolitan Tribunal.
Cleyton Moreira and his wife Simonny, both from Brazil, met at St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham and have been married for ten years. They have four children: Danniel, Laura, Davi and Thomas.
Moreira currently leads the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) Program at St. Tarcisius. Cleyton works in the heating and plumbing industry. Moreira will be assigned to St. Tarcisius Parish in Framingham and also to the Archdiocesan Office of Cultural Diversity.
Brian Francis Shea
Brian Francis Shea and his wife, Maureen, are members of St. Mary of the Annunciation Parish in Danvers where they have served in various ministries, such as lector and extraordinary minister of Communion. They have four children: Sara and Patrick, Julie and Christine.
Shea's calling to the diaconate began over 20 years ago, and was complemented very much by Maureen's desire for a deeper prayer life. The couple says the past four years of formation have allowed them an opportunity to walk this path together.
They credit several people with helping them early on in this journey, including Fathers Daniel Sheehan, Gerald Dorgan and Msgr. Frederick Murphy, as well as Deacon John Barton and senior Deacon Tomas Sanchez.
"The formation process was much more than a way to prepare me spiritually, pastorally and academically to live the rest of my life in service to God, his Church and his people through Holy Orders" said Shea. "The four years of study was a way for Maureen to be right beside me every step of this journey, and it has made our married and family life all so much richer."
Today Shea works for a global consulting firm in which he can apply his special knowledge of and experience in the areas of patient safety, pharmaceuticals, and information technology.
Brian will be assigned as deacon at St. Mary Parish in Danvers and is also assigned to the Archdiocesan Office of Campus Ministry.
Van Vuong Nguyen
Van Vuong Nguyen was born in Vietnam and is married to Mao Nguyen. The couple has a son, Dan Nguyen, and a daughter, Mai Linh Nguyen. He works as a manufacturing engineer at Symmons Industries.
The Nguyens' home parish is St. Thomas More Parish in Braintree. They also worship at Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden where they attend Mass in Vietnamese and sing in the choir.
The couple usually attends the 11:30 a.m. Mass at St. Thomas More Parish in Braintree and then bring Holy Communion to the people at Pope Nursing Home. They also visit the Norfolk Prison once a month.
When asked about his vocation to the diaconate, Nguyen said, "Mao and I have been greatly blessed by God and have experienced God in many wonderful ways during our married life. I have a yearning to have a more intimate relationship with God by learning more about him and the Church. I felt that I cannot love God if I don't know him personally. I also wanted to help others to know God better, to have a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. To speak the Good News, to serve where needed and lead others by example in loving care for the poor, sick, lonely and needy. I have been very blessed throughout my life, and I hope, by the grace of God, to be a blessing to others and bring them closer to him."
Nguyen will be assigned as deacon at the Quincy Collaborative and also assigned to the Archdiocesan Office of Cultural Diversity.
The Permanent Diaconate Program is open to men between the ages of 35 and 60, married or single, who are called to serve as ministers of the Word, of the Liturgy and of Charity. There are currently over 200 men serving as permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Boston and over 19,000 men serving across the U.S. In the Boston area, deacons serve as chaplains in hospitals, prisons, high schools and on college campuses. Deacons regularly assist at the liturgies in parishes, administer the sacrament of baptism, preside at weddings outside of Mass, conduct wake services and grave-side services, administer viaticum to the dying and serve in administrative positions in the archdiocese. Permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Boston are given two assignments, one to a parish and a second assignment to a particular department within the archdiocese.
If you would like more information about the permanent diaconate or know someone who might be interested, please call: Deacon Christopher Connelly at 617-746-5649 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.