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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.
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.