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Permanent Diaconate celebrates 40th anniversary

Archbishop Gregory Aymond joined dozens of permanent deacons Aug. 10 at Infant Jesus of Prague Church in Harvey to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Deacon Walter Beyer, 96, joined Archbishop Aymond and former Archbishop Alfred Hughes to cut an anniversary cake. Deacon Beyer, who is a retired master painter, was honored as the oldest deacon in the archdiocese. He was ordained for service in 1983 by Archbishop Philip M. Hannan.

Deacons share in the Precious Blood.

Deacon Jim Swiler, right, currently the chancellor of the Houma-Thibodaux Diocese, was director of the Permanent Diaconate Office in the archdiocese for many years.

The first class of deacons was ordained in 1974. Deacons can proclaim the Gospel, deliver homilies, witness marriages and conduct funeral liturgies. There are 225 permanent deacons serving in the archdiocese – 182 active, 23 retired and 20 on duty outside the archdiocese or on leave. They serve in a variety of ministries.

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