Permanent Deacon Class of 2014

Cardinal Seán O'Malley will ordain 13 men to the Order of Deacon at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Saturday, Sept. 20th. Representing the diversity of the archdiocese this class includes four candidates from the Hispanic community, one from the Brazilian community, and one from the Vietnamese community. The richness of the cultural and spiritual lives of these men and their families will bring great gifts to our parish collaboratives in the days and years ahead.

Francis Burke and his wife of 27 years, Joanne, are members of St. Catherine of Alexandria parish in Westford. The Burke's have two children, Laura and David. Fran recently retired from a career in high tech and is currently pursuing a degree in Theology at the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization and also a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership at Creighton University. Fran and Joanne have worked with the ACTS Retreat group at St. Catherine for the last 6 years. He was called to the diaconate by the opportunity to serve others, hopes to continue his ministry focused on serving the poor and homeless. Fran will be assigned to St. Mary Parish in Chelmsford and to the Diaconate Formation Office following ordination.

Michael Curren and his wife Paula are members of St. Agnes Parish in Reading. Mike and Paula have three children: Brenna is a teacher in Burlington, Maura is an administrative manager at Children's Hospital, and Timothy is a Greek Orthodox priest at St. Vasilios Parish in Peabody. Father Timothy is married to Dr. Nijmeh Hodaly Curren of Beit Jala, Palestine. Mike started his secular career as a social worker and currently works in non-profit administration as a senior vice president for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund in Wellesley. Mike will serve at St. Augustine Parish in Andover and the Office of Ecumenical Affairs following ordination.

William C. Dwyer and his wife Jeane currently reside in Merrimack, NH and are members of St. Catherine of Alexandria in Westford. They have three grown children -- Patrick and his bride Erin, Timothy, and Meghan. Bill's secular career has been in accounting and finance for both large and small companies. Living his Cursillo weekend was a springboard to a deeper relationship with the Lord. He heard a call to the diaconate during the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Bill will be assigned to St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Westford, St. Anne Parish in Littleton, and to the Pro-Life and Respect Life Office following ordination.

George Escotto and his wife Maria are members of St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence. They have been married for 22 years and have been blessed with a daughter, Lesly, who is a student at Northern Essex Community College. George works in a nursing home as a custodian where he has the daily opportunity to be the presence of Christ to those who live there: "I feel like I am living a ministry here and seeing Christ in every one of the people who live in the nursing home every day." George will be assigned to St. Patrick Parish in Lawrence and to the Office of Cultural Diversity following ordination.

Edward S. Giordano and his wife Carol live in Stoneham and are members of St. Patrick Parish. Carol and Ed have two adult children, Mary and Matthew, and a daughter-in-law Jamie. Ed is the Director of Engineering at C.L. Hauthaway in Lynn. Ed feels his four years of academic study and spiritual formation have been a blessing that has allowed him to grown closer to our loving, kind, and merciful Lord, Jesus Christ. Ed hopes that he will serve Jesus and the people of God with that same love and compassion. Following ordination Ed will be assigned to St. Barbara Parish in Woburn and to the Campus Ministry Office.

Chuck Hall and his wife Mary live in Rowley and worship at Our Lady of Hope Parish in Ipswich. Chuck has been a sheet metal mechanic, machinist, singer-songwriter, radio personality and software engineer. He continues an active musical life as a song writer and in producing audiobooks, including a reading of Chesterton's "St. Francis of Assisi." His most recent audio work was the narration of a documentary film on the life Father James Alberione, the founder of the Daughters of St. Paul. Chuck has been influenced greatly by the writings of G. K. Chesterton and the life and ministry of Pope Saint John Paul II. Shortly after being received into the Church, he lived a Cursillo weekend which also was a strong influence in his life. Chuck will be assigned to St. John the Baptist and St. Thomas the Apostle Parishes in Peabody and to the Office of Ecumenical Affairs following ordination.

Franklin Mejia was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Franklin is married to Wendy R. Mejia. They are the proud parents of Gabriel Andres, 10 and Isabella Maria, 7. He and his family are active members of St. Mary of the Annunciation parish in Cambridge. Franklin holds a Political Science degree and has been involved in television production. Franklin came to know Christ as a child thanks to his Grandfather Nicacio Mejia, who introduced him to the spiritual life and the doctrine of the Catholic faith. At a very young age, Franklin was an active member and youth leader of the Salesian Youth Group in his community. Upon arriving to the United States, Franklin worked for the Hispanic Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of Boston organizing inter-parochial youth sports tournaments, youth leadership formation programs and an evangelization ministry dedicated to visiting the youth in jail. Franklin will be assigned to Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden and to Catholic TV following ordination.

Eric Peabody and his wife, Renee, live in Haverhill and have been married 20 years. Eric is a division manager at a national home improvement retailer and Renee is an administrative assistant at St. Basil Salvatorian Center in Methuen. Eric and Renee have two daughters, Haley and Mary. The Peabody family are currently members of the collaborative of St. Lucy and St. Monica Parishes in Methuen. Eric's great uncle, the late Father Dennis T. Nason, encouraged Eric to consider a diaconal vocation. Following ordination Eric will be assigned to Sacred Hearts Parish in Haverhill and the Office of the Catholic Labor Guild.

Jesus Pena and his wife Margarita are members of St. John the Baptist Parish in Peabody and have three grown children. Jesus works as a case manager for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Jesus began his vocational journey in April 2009 when, feeling drawn to serve Christ more deeply, he turned to a trusted priest in the community, Father Alonso Macias, who suggested the diaconate. Jesus feels blessed by the many men of faith who have served as mentors to him over the past twenty years, including many wonderful priests and deacons. Following ordination Jesus will be serve as a deacon at the Salem collaborative of Immaculate Conception, St. James, and St. John the Baptist Parishes as well as in the Diaconate Formation Office.

Alvaro Jose Leiva Soares was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil and married his wife Carla in 1986. Alvaro and Carla are proud parents of three grown children, Alvaro Jr., Ivan, and Natalia. They are members of Holy Family Parish in Lowell and active members of both the Brazilian Apostolate and the Charismatic Renewal in the Archdiocese of Boston. Alvaro holds degrees in Economics and Computer Science as well as an MBA. He is fluent in Portuguese and English, and proficient in Spanish. Alvaro is currently working for Kaspersky Labs in Woburn as a product support engineer. Alvaro is currently responsible for the formation program inside of the Brazilian Ethnic Leaders. Following ordination Alvaro will be assigned to Holy Family Parish and the Office of Cultural Diversity.

Michael Tomkins and his wife Danni live in Wilmington and are parishioners at St. Thomas of Villanova with their five children Hailey, Lauren, Victoria, Joshua, and Meghan. Michael attended Boston University where he received a degree in Computer Science and is now employed as chief technology officer for a financial software company. Raised in an active Catholic family and educated from elementary through high school at Saint Clement in Medford, the seeds of faith were planted at an early age. He and Danni found their true passion was for youth ministry where they served for over twenty years in numerous parishes throughout the archdiocese. In 1999 Michael and Danni each received the Pro Deo et Juventute award given in recognition of continuous and praiseworthy service to young people. Michael will be assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Dracut and the Office of Faith Formation for Youth and Young Adults following ordination.

Tam Van Tram and his wife, Thom, have been married for 39 years, live in Andover, and have two daughters and two grandchildren. They are members of St. Theresa of Lisieux Parish in North Reading and the Vietnamese community at Sacred Hearts Parish in Malden. Tam had a long career in technology and business and now works as an Adjunct Professor at Middlesex Community College teaching Chemistry, Math, and Computer Science. Tam was raised as a Buddhist in Vietnam and grew up during in the midst of the devastating war that raged in his homeland through the 1960s and 1970s. He converted to Catholicism in 1997. Following ordination Tam will be assigned to St. Theresa Parish in North Reading and to the Campus Ministry Office.

Carlos Simon Valentin and his wife, Angelica, have been married for 16 years and live in Lynn. They have two children, Nicholas and Angel. Simon and Angelica have been active parishioners of St. John the Baptist Parish in Peabody throughout their married life. Simon is a draftsman and Auto Cad graduate and is currently employed by Greater Lynn Senior Services as a driver for "The Ride," which is part of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Simon is the youngest member of the Class of 2014 and will be assigned to St. John the Baptist and St. Thomas the Apostle Parishes in Peabody and the Office of Cultural Diversity following ordination.

Nation
Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

World
Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Nation
Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

World
Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

World
God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

World
Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

World
Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Nation
Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

Nation
N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Nation
Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Nation
Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Nation
Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

Nation
#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Nation
Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Nation
Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...