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.
Deacon James “Jim” Poole, who served the Diocese of Fort Worth for 20 years in Hillsboro and the surrounding rural areas, said that as a deacon, he is most grateful for a special change that occurred in his life. “They tell us when we are in preparation for the diaconate, that when we are ordained, at that point of ordination, an ontological change takes place,” Dcn. Poole said. “That means it changes who you are. You become a different person than you were before. That kind of change also takes place when you are baptized — especially adult baptism, because you take on a different route in your life.
Deacon Simón Tórrez, who has served at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Fort Worth and Holy Cross Church in The Colony, said he feels grateful to God for the many joys and blessings He has given him during his 25 years as a deacon serving the Diocese of Fort Worth. Dcn. Tórrez said he first thought about becoming a deacon in 1976 while he was serving in the Cursillo Movement in Dallas. Then-Bishop Thomas Tschoepe of Dallas suggested that he consider becoming a deacon. Dcn. Tórrez replied that he would seriously pray about it.
Deacon Doug Wuenschel, who retired as a deacon five years ago but has worked at Immaculate Conception Church and the University of North Texas in Denton, as well as at the University of Dallas in Irving, said working for a Lutheran company actually brought him closer to his Catholic faith and eventually put him on the path to become a deacon. “After I got out of the service (U.S. Marine Corps) and finished my master’s degree at the University of Arizona, I was recruited by a Lutheran company to be an administrator for them,” he said. “It required, regardless of my faith, that I be active in a local church, so I became active in Catholic churches,” Dcn. Wuenschel said.
Comforting the sick and consoling the grief-stricken is an important part of ministry for Deacon Ron Aziere. But there was a time, 10 years ago, when officiating at a wake service filled him with anxiety. Dcn. Aziere’s wife, Cecilia, had died a month earlier, and he was in the throes of personal heartache. “One of the benefits of being a married deacon was knowing that anytime I was out doing ministry work, I knew she was home praying for me,” he explains. “As I drove to the funeral home, I thought about that and started having a panic attack.” But his uneasiness was soon replaced with a moment of clarity.