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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.
Deacon Joe Milligan, like most of the deacons in the Diocese of Fort Worth’s first homegrown diaconate class, has served the Church during the last 25 years through preaching and ministering the sacraments, but he has also been dedicated to helping those attempting to recover from addictions. Dcn. Milligan said that so many people try to fill the hole inside of them with other people, places, or things when the only thing that will fill it is admitting that they need help and finding God in their lives.