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Memorial Mass for Deacons and Wives

Some of the deacons who attended the Memorial Mass. (l-r) Back: Don Sifferman, Pat Allen, Brian McKenna, Bruce Zorio, Front: Juan Aquino, The Hoang, Jaime Garcia, Joe Alvarez, John Vu, Vicente Perez, Nhut Ho, Andrzej Sobczyk, Dung Tran, Sunny Offorjebe. (Photo by Sarah Flowers)

The deacon community of the Diocese of San Jose celebrated its first annual Memorial Mass for deceased deacons and wives of deacons on Saturday, Nov. 4. The Mass was celebrated at Saint Francis of Assisi parish. Monsignor Gene O’Donnell presided and Deacon Phil Flowers preached.

The Mass provided an opportunity for the diaconate community to remember prayerfully those who served the faithful of the Diocese and to reflect on the loving support given by spouses as partners in ministry.

When the Diocese of San Jose was formed in 1981, there were about 20 deacons who had been ordained in the Archdiocese of San Francisco. One group of deacons was recruited specifically to minister to the Spanish-speaking people of the Archdiocese; that group included Joe Alvarez and Vicente Perez, both of whom were present at the Memorial Mass. Flora Saenz, widow of Deacon Israel Saenz, was also present. The second group, ordained in 1979, included Carl Bunje, Tom Combellick, whose late wife Eunice was honored at the Mass, and Sal Alvarez, whose widow Sylvia, along with their children and grandchildren, attended the Mass.

Marybarbara Zorio, chair of the Deacon Community Board, said, “this first Deacon Memorial Mass provided the San Jose deacon community an opportunity to come together to remember and celebrate the lives of these faithful men and women. They all loved doing the Lord’s work, and each one left things better off than they found them.”

During the General Intercessions, the names of the deceased deacons and wives were read. They were: Sal Alvarez, Carl Bunje, Eloy and Margaret Chavez, Eunice Combellick, Bruno Garcia and Trinidad Garcia, Shirley Hoffman, Felipe (Phil) Marquez, Don McLaughlin, Jim Nuñez, Gene and Lois O’Sullivan, Israel Saenz, Lila Santos, Ernie and Sara Segovia, Tom and Mary June Sweeney.

A reception for the deacon community followed the Mass, sponsored by the Deacon Community Board.