Letter from the President
Over 360 deacons and wives from 26 states attended the 40th annual National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education (NDICE), July 20-23,2014, at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme of this anniversary session was “Forty Years of Service: Continuing the Call.
Bishop Joseph Binzer of Cincinnati celebrated the opening conference Mass on Sunday evening, and Deacon Jeff Hall, concluding his two-year term as NDICE president, welcomed attendees, which included 50 deacons who were attending their first NDICE conference. Deacon Greg Kandra, editor of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) award-winning publication ONE and the author of the popular blog The Deacon’s Bench, got the conference off to great start with his presentation, which may be found on the NDICE website at www.ndice.net .
An enthusiastic Deacon Thomas Winninger, an internationally recognized speaker and author was the presenter for the first two sessions on Monday. A motivational speaker for many major business groups, his presentation is also on the NDICE website. Mass, celebrated each day at NDICE, followed and in the afternoon, Deacon Kandra provided attendees many helpful ideas for their preaching ministry. He especially urged making use of modern media for their mission of proclaiming the Word. The day’s activities concluded with a presentation by Daniel Mulhall, a national catechetical advisor who is the author of several books and is a recognized authority in the field of catechesis.
Following Mass on Tuesday morning, Matthew Kelly gave an inspiring presentation discussing the lack of engagement among Catholics. More than four million have attended his presentations in fifty countries, and he founded The Dynamic Catholic Institute to research why Catholics engage or disengage. He gave sobering statistics about the lack of attendance at Mass, not only in the United States but in countries throughout the world. After his presentation, attendees participated in an extended dialogue with Kelly. The final presentation on Tuesday morning was given by Sr. Lois Paha, O.P., Director of Formation and Pastoral Services for the diocese of Tucson, Arizona.
On Tuesday afternoon, the NDICE business session was held, as well as the session for wives attending this 40th anniversary conference. Three outstanding candidates for the position of President-elect…..Deacons Jim Galbraith from Texas; Paul McBlain from Pennsylvania and Syl Galvan from New Jersey…..were presented to attendees, and Deacon Paul McBlain was elected to a two-year term. Elected to a two-year term as treasurer was Deacon John Hempen from Illinois. These candidates from three distant states, as well as the fact that attendees came from 26 states, show how NDICE is truly “national” in scope. Actually, “international”, since Fr. Mike McEntee, Diaconate Formation Director for the Melbourne, Australia diocese, was also an attendee at this year’s conference.
The hilarious Deacon Follies, which gave attendees the opportunity to display their acting, musical and story-telling talents, followed the banquet, at which Barry Mersmann was honored for his service to NDICE and the diaconate while he was Director of the Cincinnati archdiocesan diaconate office. With his two-year term as NDICE president ending with the conference, Deacon Jeff Hall was recognized for his leadership, as Deacon John Gerke began his two-year term as president.
Bishop William Skylstad, retired bishop of Spokane, Washington, who attended his first NDICE while serving as USCCB president in the mid-1980’s and has attended nearly every NDICE since, gave the Wednesday morning presentation. He spoke about the past, present and future of the Church and the diaconate, and reminded deacons and their wives that they have been a part of a truly remarkable period of Church history….”you have seen the very beginning and rapid growth of the permanent diaconate, and today there are more than 40,000 deacons world-wide”, and added that nearly half that number are from the United States. At the concluding Mass of the conference, Bishop Skylstad formally installed the NDICE officers for the coming year.
Youtube videos of many of the presentations of the 2014 conference will be available to watch on this website by the end of August.
A truly outstanding NDICE….and plans are underway for a tremendous conference in 2015 ! The U.S. bishops have declared 2015 “the year of marriage and the family,” and NDICE will participate in recognizing the importance of family with a theme of Deacons: Living in and Ministering to the Domestic Church. The 2015 NDICE will be held July 19-22, 2015, again at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Mark your calendars now to attend
Deacon John Gerke