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Retired Deacon Herman Williams praying for kidney transplant

When Herman Williams was ordained a permanent deacon in 1993, the director of the permanent diaconate office, Deacon Jim Swiler, advised him and 18 deacon classmates to fill out their funeral arrangements so that the Archdiocese of New Orleans could keep the information on file.

Deacon Williams, now 68, didn’t follow up right away, but after facing serious health issues the last several years, his file is up to date.

 “I even picked out the clothes I’m going to wear, the music I want played and the Scripture readings,” Deacon Williams said. “Everything is planned, but I’m still here. The good Lord hasn’t seen fit to pull my card yet. I’m enjoying every moment.”

Because of kidney failure, Deacon Williams is undergoing dialysis weekly at Tulane Medical Center. The Tulane Transplant Institute recently approved him as a candidate for a kidney transplant.

Because of his age and condition, the transplant likely will come from a person who has died rather than from a living donor, Deacon Williams said. The call could come at any time.

“They will call and I will have an hour to get back to them,” Deacon Williams said. “I feel fantastic because I’m not concerned about anything. If I get one, fine. If I don’t, that’s still OK. I thought I was going to check out a couple times the last few years.”

Deacon Williams survived a bout with Stage 3 prostate cancer, so he has been in and out of hospitals and doctor’s offices with more frequency than he would like.

“I was lying down on a bed in the hallway and people there were calling me by name,” Deacon Williams said. “I said, ‘I’m coming here way too often for everybody to know me. It’s like I’m walking into “Cheers.”’”

Deacon Williams said the prayers and support of his family and the entire diaconate community have been a great support. Every third Thursday of the month, the 1993 diaconate class – and a few other deacons from other ordination years – get together for lunch in Metairie. “Prayer works, and I believe in it,” Deacon Williams said. “This is all in God’s hands.”

Deacon Williams lives in Marrero. He has served at St. Joseph the Worker in Marrero, St. Monica and St. Leo the Great in New Orleans, and St. Joseph in Gretna. He was the office manager at St. Joseph in Gretna until his

Anyone with questions about organ donation can call the Tulane Transplant Institute at 988-5344.

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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