Support for Deacons, Who Serve With Love

Deacon Giovanni Messina of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish in Astoria

In celebration of the annual Deaconate Ordination at the end of May, we are pleased to welcome newly ordained deacons into our diocese. Our deacons play a crucial role in assisting our priests, serving our parishioners, and protecting the unity of the church.

For Deacon Giovanni Messina of St. Francis of Assisi parish, the Deaconate Formation program provided him with a way to live out his calling to serve God. “I always had a feeling of wanting to do more in my faith and in the Church,” he said. “I often thought about the roles of the deacons in my own parish and became inspired by them.”

For a man to be ordained a deacon, he must go through a 5-year program of formation and theological study. Funding comes from Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn and Queens and the Annual Catholic Appeal. Covering the program cost allowed Deacon Giovanni to complete his Master of Theology degree. “It was a blessing to be able to go back to school after 20 years,” Deacon Giovanni remarked, “I only had a bachelor’s degree and never thought about going back to school. The rigorous coursework brought out things I thought I knew about my faith, and we got to dive deeper. It was a great, enriching experience.”

Deacon Giovanni emphasized that parishioners receive a valuable return on their investment in the education of deacons through the Annual Catholic Appeal. “The deacons who go through the master’s program are better formed and more knowledgeable about the Catholic faith through their coursework,” he observed. “They are trained and taught on how to interlock faith with modern times and our current society. The parishioners benefit from having better educated deacons!”

To learn more about how the Annual Catholic appeal supports our deacons, visit