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From the desk of Fr. Speier 

Dear Parishioners:  

One very important milestone happened this past week with very little excitement. The Permanent Diaconate in the United States is now 50 years old. That certainly is not only worth mentioning but very important for all parishes around the country who are blessed to have deacons as part of their staff. 

 Since the diaconate has been revived in the United States I have worked with many deacons who spent a great deal of time not only in study but in ministry. We are blessed to have four deacons working in our parishes. I would just like to give a highlight of their service to our parishes, the diocese and community. 

Let me start with Deacon Leroy Houghton. Leroy is of senior status with the diocese but is very active in all aspects of parish life. Preaching, baptizing, wake services, assisting at funerals, leading the rosary, leading communion services, assisting at mass are just a few of his activities within the parish. Leroy also helps with the RCIA program. 

Deacon Ron Peeps also preaches, celebrates baptism, gives baptismal instruction, assists at funerals, leads rosaries and wakes services, and communion services. In addition to all of these ministries he is the leader of the combined RCIA process for both of our parish communities. He is also my partner at Walleye hockey games along with my brother-in-law Mike. 

Deacon Ron Plenzler does the same ministry as our other two deacons along with coordinating the ministers who take communion to the sick, scheduling the deacons for masses, preaching and communion services, coordinates and leads our continuing education programs for both parishes. In addition to all of this he and his wife Carol are very involved in prison ministry around our diocese and in parts of Michigan. 

Deacon Michael Learned of St. Catherine of Siena Parish does the same type of ministry at St. Catherine of Siena Parish but his main ministry is the leading and coordinating of Annunciation Radio along with his wife Kris. This takes up a great deal of their time but both of them do the best they can for our parish. Deacon Mike started Annunciation Radio and brought it up from infancy to where it is today. This is a very important ministry for the diocese as a whole. He tells me often that he and Kris have to make trips to the areas of the diocese to make sure the station is up and running. They also lead the Share-a-thons that happen twice a year to make ends meet for the stations. His ministry is a little different than he planned but, nonetheless, a powerful ministry for the diocese. 

We see deacons in traditional roles of service to the altar and other parish ministries but we are blessed to have deacons that go beyond those ministries and help the community in other important ways. Deacon Dan Waters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish is the lead Chaplain for St. Charles Hospital. He does this ministry in addition to his parish commitments. Deacon Bob Lesinski of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish and Deacon Dave Smith of St. Patrick Historic Parish are volunteer Chaplains for the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department. They do this ministry in addition to all they do in their parish communities. I am sure that there are many other deacons that work in the community as well that I am now aware of. Our deacons are important and valuable to the diocese and parish communities. Pray for them and their ministry and pray that more men will consider making a commitment to the diaconate.