Deacon Martin Sandigo, a permanent deacon at Holy Family Catholic Church, presented the Eucharistic gifts to Bishop Barbarito at the deacon appreciation Mass on August 10. Deacon Sandigo will reach his one-year anniversary of ordination in September. (ALEEN STANTON-FC)

Permanent deacons celebrate feast of St. Lawrence

PALM BEACH GARDENS  |  In celebration of the feast day of St. Lawrence, the patron saint of permanent deacons, the Diocese of Palm Beach held a special Mass Aug. 10 in appreciation for the permanent deacons throughout the diocese. 

Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola in Palm Beach Gardens. Sixteen deacons with milestone ordination anniversaries were recognized for their outstanding sacrifice and service to the church. Currently, there are 103 active deacons serving in the 54 parishes and mission throughout the diocese.

“Every deacon has their own special ministry in their parish,” said Lina Salcedo, administrative assistant to the Diocese of Palm Beach Diaconate Office. “They do so much for the Church.” 

Bishop Barbarito touched on the importance of St. Lawrence’s feast day. St. Lawrence was one of seven Roman deacons during the third century who distributed alms to the poor and became a martyr along with Pope Sixtus II. He considered the poor and the needy the “Church’s treasure.” Because of his beliefs, St. Lawrence was condemned to a painful death and, on the day he was executed, he prayed that Rome would be converted to Jesus and that the Catholic faith be spread all over the world. 

“St. Lawrence was a fine example of living the Christian life and for giving his life for the sake of the Gospel,” Bishop Barbarito said. “Your ministry is a reflection of that ministry which St. Lawrence carried out—your service, your ministry at the altar, your ministry of the word, your giving of yourselves to your families.”

Stephen Scienzo, a permanent deacon at St. Peter Catholic Church in Jupiter, said he loves his ministry as a deacon more than he loves his job.

“I am an insurance agent, but I love being a deacon,” he said. “This coming September it will be 11 years I have been a deacon. I oversee the ministry of the sick at St. Peter’s.” His wife, Cherri, said, “I help him by going to the hospital, nursing homes and visiting the homebound, wherever the need is.”  

Bob Golden, a permanent deacon at Holy Family Catholic Church in Fort Pierce, said, “Every year I look forward to this day to see and talk to my fellow deacons and their families. I am so thrilled that we have such a dedicated bishop who celebrates Mass for the deacons on this special day.”