Deacons hold annual convocation

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WARWICK — About 75 permanent deacons from across the Diocese of Providence, some with their wives, gathered Saturday at the Radisson Airport Hotel in Warwick, for their annual daylong convocation.

Addressing the deacons after leading them in morning prayer, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin thanked them for their service and their wives for supporting them in their important ministry.

“As I travel around the diocese for confirmations, special events and Sunday liturgies I’m always grateful for, pleased by and really very proud of the great work our deacons do in all of our parishes and in all of your special ministries,” the bishop said.

“You make a huge difference in our church on behalf of Christ. We’re very grateful.”

Bishop Tobin also called to mind the Marian Year he has proclaimed in the diocese for 2017, noting how the devotion to the Blessed Mother is such a beautiful and important one to foster.

“She remains the preeminent example of what it means to be a disciple of Christ,” he said.

Father Dean Perri, who serves as a judge on the diocesan marriage tribunal and is pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in East Providence, delivered morning and afternoon presentations on marriage and the annulment process. In the first, he described the differences between a natural and sacramental marriage and how marriage is a public good, while in the second, he hosted an interactive session with the deacons asking how they would rule in an annulment case given various scenarios of petitioners.