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Where can you find young pilots, nurses, teachers, engineers, social workers, police officers, software developers, and information technology professionals — not to mention priests — mixing and mingling in one place over free drinks and appetizers? A Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) event, that’s where. Founded in 2010 by Jennifer Baugh, a young Catholic from the Diocese of Dallas, the ministry is dedicated to encouraging “young adults in their 20s and 30s to have a deeper relationship with the Lord and to be courageous witnesses in imitation of Christ” as well as reminding young professionals of their responsibility to “apply our Catholic faith to all aspects of our lives — at work, at home, and in all our interactions,” as Baugh stated recently in an interview for the National Catholic Register.
Deacon Ronald “Ron” Aziere, who serves at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Fort Worth, said one of the best aspects of the home-grown diaconate program that started in the Diocese of Fort Worth 25 years ago is that the wives of married deacons were encouraged to attend the training and help their husbands in their ministry.
Deacon Rubén Castañeda, originally from Crowell, has lived and worked in the southwest rural counties of the Diocese of Fort Worth all his life. He knows firsthand the importance of the diocese’s outreach programs in these areas, especially Sharing in Ministry. “We are so far away from the [Fort Worth metro area], and a lot of our families work in farms and oilfields,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of jobs, but it’s hard-working jobs. We don’t have the well-to-do families or the well-off, so they struggle in life, and they struggle with supporting their families and parishes,” said Dcn. Castaneda.
Forgiveness has played a major role in his ministry to the Church and her people for Deacon Larry Grant Hatch. Dcn. Hatch was ordained in 1989, and then served the next seven years at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Arlington. “I feel very humbled by it [being called to the diaconate] because I spent four years in the Navy,” he said. “I’m a Vietnam Vet. I’m very humbled that God would choose this blasphemer, this great sinner — that He would forgive me and choose me to serve in this ministry.”
Despite the bone cancer which rendered Deacon Raymond “Ray” Lamarre immobile, he still serves from a motorized chair at the altar of St. Philip the Apostle at every 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass. “The first ministry for me is serving right at the altar and helping to bring the presence of Christ to the people,” he said.