Office of the Diaconate

The Permanent Deacons of the Diocese of La Crosse, like their brother deacons around the world, seek to live their vocation as humble images of Christ the Servant (the word “deacon” is derived from the Greek diakonia, which literally means “service”). They are men mostly with wives and families. They have had-and often continue to have-active careers, and before they began their formation toward the permanent diaconate they were already serving their parishes as dedicated members of the laity. But they felt a deeper call and followed it, and now serve the Church as ordained members of the clergy.

The permanent deacons of this Diocese provide an invaluable service in visiting the sick and the homebound, preparing couples for marriage, teaching in the RCIA and faith formation programs, preaching the Gospel, administering baptism, officiating at weddings and wakes, assisting at the altar, carrying out administrative tasks, and more. But of all these forms of diaconal ministry, it is the service of charity-to the weakest, the most vulnerable, the suffering, those who hunger for heartfelt care, but also for the reassuring light of Christian faith and truth-that lies at the very heart of their vocation to the permanent diaconate.

A small number of permanent deacons in this Diocese are employed full time in parishes, but most offer their ministry on a voluntary, part-time basis while continuing to hold jobs in the secular world. Indeed, the deacon is uniquely an inhabitant of two worlds, the clerical and the secular, thus forming a bridge between the two. He has a precious opportunity to infuse the world of secular work and society with the light of Christ and, conversely, to enrich his diaconal ministry in the Church with firsthand experience of marriage, family life, and the secular world.

The Diocese of La Crosse has benefited greatly from the humble and qualified service of these men who are ordained to image Christ the Servant, and there is a need for more of them.  A new class of aspirants to the permanent diaconate is started every two years, with the next class to be launched in the fall of 2021.

If you wish to learn more about the formation, life and ministry of the permanent deacon, two excellent Vatican documents can be found at: http://www.cin.org/docs/deacon98.html

Ordination to the Diaconate from St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Catholic Life Articles

Here are a few Catholic Life articles. To read the full article, click on the blue colored title.

  • Diaconate Ordination 2022Diaconate Ordination 2022
    On Saturday, May 7, Bishop William Patrick Callahan ordained Mr. Jonathan Anderson, Mr. Paul Arbanas, Mr. Terrence Bell, Mr. Tony Biolo, Mr. Kevin DeCook, Mr. Todd Hoerter, Mr. Alex Kren, Mr. Anthony Shay, Mr. James Sniadajewski, Mr. John Woehrle and Mr. John Zweber to the Order of Diaconate. Front row… Read more »
  • A Calling of Service – Deacon Sage helps those most in needA Calling of Service – Deacon Sage helps those most in need
    Deacon Richard Sage has served the Diocese of La Crosse for almost 40 years. He felt a calling to ordination and service at a young age, so, for him, discerning the priesthood was a logical step. “From the time I was very young,” he said, “I was very much drawn… Read more »
  • Looking ForwardLooking Forward
    Anthony’s Faith journey leads him to the diocesan diaconate formation program “I am a cradle-to-grave Catholic, a prodigal son and an intentional disciple,” Anthony Shay states when describing his Faith journey thus far. The 52-year-old parishioner of Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Viroqua readily admits he was… Read more »
  • Called to ServiceCalled to Service
    On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 10 a.m., Deacons Arturo Vigueras Estrada, Michael Kamrowski. Martin Kulak, John McDonnell, Gordon Ruplinger and Kurt Zakrzewski were ordained by Bishop William Patrick Callahan for the Diocese of La Crosse at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral. Through his ordination, a deacon is called to… Read more »
  • Diaconate Ordination 2020Diaconate Ordination 2020
    On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, at 10 a.m., Mr. Arturo Vigueras Estrada, Mr. Michael Kamrowski, Mr. Martin Kulak, Mr. John McDonnell, Mr. Gordon Ruplinger and Mr. Kurt Zakrzewski were ordained deacons for the Diocese of La Crosse by Bishop William Patrick Callahan at St. Joseph the Workman Cathedral in La… Read more »

Contact Information

Deacon Bryan Hilts,
Director of the Office of the Diaconate

Father William Felix
Director of Deacon Formation

Christopher J. Ruff S.T.L.
Assistant Director of Deacon Formation

Mary Lou Berg, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 608.791.2652
Fax: 608.791.0176