Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Joseph Donohoe

8/13/2013 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (

We are being challenged by Archbishop Aquila, to seek holiness first and to be men immersed in Sacred Scripture

The need for Deacons to be contemplative is now reflected in the formation program where in the first year, men seeking the vocational call will be "dedicated" to contemplation and deep discernment.  This is so important to the life of the Church, that our Archbishop has given us the gift of a full time Spiritual Director for men in formation. Father Dennis Brown, an OVM, who is well versed in spirituality and will help guide the men throughout their formation.

Deacon Joseph Donohoe  is the Director of Deacon Personnel for the Archdiocese of Denver.

Deacon Joseph Donohoe is the Director of Deacon Personnel for the Archdiocese of Denver.


By Deacon Joseph Donohoe

Catholic Online (

8/13/2013 (11 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Deacon Joseph Donohoe, Archdiocese of Denver, Archbishop Samuel Aquila, service, diaconate

DENVER, CO (Catholic Online) - (Note from the Editor in Chief, Deacon Keith Fournier: I recently had the joy of spending a few days in Denver, Colorado. My readers know that I believe that the Archdiocese of Denver is one of the model Catholic Dioceses in the United States. I am intrigued and inspired by the vision emerging for the Diaconate in Christ in that Diocese. After all, that is my vocation.

In 1996, on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (Corpus Christi), I was ordained to the Order of Deacons in the Catholic Church and my life was profoundly changed. When I lay prostrate on the floor that day in preparation for the imposition of the hands of my Bishop and the reception of the Book of the Gospels, I knew that things would never be the same. The diaconate in Christ is a vocation, a call that changes the man who says "Yes". The word vocation comes from the latin Vocare, to call, or to hear a voice. 

As our Catechism summarizes, "The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint ("character") which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the deacon or servant of all." (CCC#1570) Ordination changed me. I now serve as a member of the Catholic clergy in everything that I do. Deacons do not have some sort of "weekend assignment". Ordination affects a man ontologically. Like all clerics, Deacons are called to live a unity of life.  I often say that our own witness is to live in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. Deacons have a vital role in the New Evangelization of the Church. We are an icon of Christ the Servant, going from the altar and the ambo into the world, in order to bring those to whom we proclaim the Good news in word and deed, into the new world of the Church. 

During my time in Denver, I had the joy of participating in the Annual Deacon Day Vigil Liturgy and Dinner on the Feast of the Deacon and Martyr Lawrence. Archbishop Samuel Aquila presided at the beautiful Vigil Liturgy and spoke at the dinner. This joyful and holy Archbishop gave one of the finest homilies on the mission and identity of a Catholic Deacon I have heard. His assignment to Denver one year ago is one more sign of the Lord's favor on this New Evangelization Center for the Catholic Church in the United States.

The Liturgy was followed by a Dinner at which Deacon Joe Donohue, the Director of Deacon Personnel for the Archdiocese, was one of the presenters. I am pleased to offer Deacon Joe's assessment of the state of the Diaconate in Denver below for our readers.)

Deacon Joseph Donohoe: Address at the Annual Deacon Day Dinner 2013 

Your Excellency, Archbishop Aquila, Dearest Vicars and Msgrs, Brother Priests and Deacons, Wives of Deacons and my Brothers and Sisters in Christ; this year has seen wonderful improvements for the Diaconate in Denver, as our Deacon community continues to set the trend for our 15,000 brothers across the country. Indeed, the past year has been rich with transitions for the entire people of the Archdiocese of Denver. 

Just a little over a year ago, we saw the installation of our new Bishop Aquila. That was followed by the installation of Bishop Conley in Lincoln only a few months later.  We witnessed the election of a new Roman Pontiff, who humbly took the name of the Deacon Saint Francis of Assisi.  What is more; we are told he took the Deacon's name to show his love for the Church and for the poor of the world. 

At the same time, we watched, for the first time in 600 years, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, step down from the Chair of Peter and dedicate his life to praying for Holy Mother Church and Her children.  How fortunate we are, to have such grace poured out upon us in this post-modern era of relativism! Confident in the fact that we have a Pope that leads us and one that prays for us! With all these blessings, it is appropriate that the Church has declared this time as "the Year of Faith".  Indeed, it is by the grace of God that in announcing this Year of Faith, the faithful have been called to read and to study the Vatican II documents anew and to evaluate the documents in light of today's world. 

Of course, among those significant historical transcripts are the words that reinstated a dedicated Diaconate within the Church. It is no coincidence; indeed, it is providence, that these Vatican II documents, along with the priorities of Archbishop Aquila, remind us, as Clergy, to reassess our spiritual health and to make the quest for holiness our number one goal. The document on divine revelation, Dei Verbum, calls the Clergy to hold fast to Sacred Scripture through diligent sacred reading and careful study, so that "none of us will be empty preachers." 

At the same time, we are being challenged by Archbishop Aquila, to seek holiness first and to be men immersed in Sacred Scripture-not just reading the text, but, as stated in Dei Verbum, making it 'a prayer' so that in the reading and in the prayer, "God and man may talk together". The Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium, calls the Diaconate to "read the Sacred Scripture to the faithful" and "to instruct and exhort the people". 

And so, a renewed emphasis has been placed on Deacons to study scripture and know the Gospels intimately, so that when we teach and when we preach, we speak from the heart of Jesus Christ who was obedient to God the Father, even unto death. Lumen Gentium also tells Clerics that we are "Bound! - to bring our hearts and minds" in accord with our vocation by our "constancy in prayer".

The need for Deacons to be contemplative is now reflected in the formation program where in the first year, men seeking the vocational call will be "dedicated" to contemplation and deep discernment.  This is so important to the life of the Church, that our Archbishop has given us the gift of a full time Spiritual Director for men in formation. Father Dennis Brown, an OVM, who is well versed in spirituality and will help guide the men throughout their formation.

Also, to enhance our conversation with the Triune God, we have increased the number of silent retreats for active Deacons so that our souls may be refreshed and clear from all outside distractions during our retreat experience.  These retreats are designed to enable us to contemplate deeply on the word of God, and configure our lives to the Cross of Jesus Christ, the Deacon.

For as Pope Francis explained, "when we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are NOT Disciples of the lord.  We are worldly." As Deacons, we must be examples to others by carrying our cross with humility; otherwise, our words and deeds are empty. It is important for us to know, that the Deacon cross is marked with the martyr's stole, requiring us to be witnesses even unto death, if necessary.

In consideration of these words, the Deacon Council has also established an Emmaus group similar to the Caritas group for Priests. This program enables Deacons to help each other in spiritual enlightenment and daily prayer. This year has also seen an increase in the Deacon's ministry of charity; especially as it relates to the Archbishop's ministry of service. In Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Letter, Ad Pascendum (a product of Lumen Gentium), it states "the Deacon is at the disposal of the Bishop in order that he (the Bishop) may serve the whole people of God."  It is this statement and our own ordination promises that call us to a radical availability to the mystery of Christ and to the service of the people of God.

With the help of the Holy Spirit, initiatives are underway to help Deacons seek out those situations where the Archbishop's diaconal ministry is not being realized and to assist those who have been neglected and forgotten.  And through the blessing of the Archbishop, dedicated Deacons, as servant leaders, are increasing their presence in the homeless shelters, work camps, prisons and hospitals, in coordination with Catholic Charities, Centro San Juan Diego and the Deaneries. Deacons continue to be present in nursing homes, hospices, and assist living facilities, bringing Christ to homeless, the poor, the elderly and the dying allowing them to have solace and peace in their lives and to give comfort to their family and friends.

In this year of growth and transition, we have also witnessed the first Encyclical of our new Pontiff, Lumen Fidei and the family that brings children to God through faith and light. Deacons, working with the Office of Evangelization and Family Life, are finding ways to promote the sanctity and holiness of a Sacramental Marriage between a man, a woman and God.  These Deacons are doing research to help their brother Clergy in defending the Holy Sacrament against a society unable to comprehend that truth; goodness and beauty have their origins in Almighty God.

In this Archdiocese, Deacons have long been assertive in protecting life from conception until natural death.  So, as a part of Archbishop Aquila's priority, the Diaconate, in conjunction with the Office of Regina Caeli Counseling Services, have been participating in training sessions to better assist those who suffer from the guilt of an abortion-encouraging them to get help and leading them into the confessionals and into the church.

With all the transitions and improvements over the past year; we have much to do and much to inspire us.  In our prayers, let us thank God for our Archbishop and his leadership and for the Grace of the Holy Spirit that leads us to the work of the Father in the name of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Deacon.

Deacon Joseph Donohoe  is the Director of Deacon Personnel for the Archdiocese of Denver. Visit their web site


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.


More U.S.

Archbishop Chaput Speaks at the Napa Institute Conference on Pope Francis and Economic Justice

Image of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is one of the preeminent Churchmen of our age. He offers a prophetic voice for this important time. He not only grasps and articulates Catholic Social Doctrine well, he also understands the real treasure we have been given in this Pope who took the name Francis. I believe that his insights into Pope Francis need to be read by as many people as possible.

By Catholic Online

In matters of economic justice, Francis' concerns are the same as Benedict's and John Paul II's and Pius XI's and Leo XIII's. He understands economic matters through the lens of Church teaching in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. Like his ... continue reading

Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading

Bridget of Sweden, Marriage and Family, and the Need for Canonized Married Saints Watch

Image of St Bridget of Sweden, her husband Ulf, and all the modern Popes call Christian married couples to become the 'Sweet and Smiling Face of the Church' in this age. This is an age which is desperately in need of all kinds of saints. I suggest we particularly need examples of married, canonized Saints. That is precisely because this is an age where faithful marriage is now counter-cultural. We need examples of men and women who not only embraced it in Christ, but lived it as a but a path to heroic virtue.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The clear teaching of the Bible, the Christian tradition and the re-emphasis of the last Council in the Catholic Church, the Second Vatican Council, make clear - we are ALL called to holiness in life. That  is what the Catholic Church regularly refers to as ... continue reading

Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading

Obama demands that illegals be allowed to enter U.S. Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of illegal, unaccompanied minors have flooded into the United States since 2014 began, often escaping violence in war torn Central American countries.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama's administration is considering whether or not it will allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras and other war-torn Central American states to enter into the United States illegally and without crossing into the country ... continue reading

Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading

PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading

Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading

A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading

Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading

All U.S. News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Gospel, John 11:19-27
19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 29th, 2014 Image

St. Martha
July 29: "Jesus loved Martha and Mary and Lazarus." This unique ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook

Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter