2020 Diaconate Retreat Highlights

The retreat was record breaking, as it was the largest attended retreat for the diaconate community, with 257 Deacons and wives from across the Diocese!

The weekend took place on February 7-9, 2020 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Columbia, SC.

Deacon Greg Kandra, Blogger (TheDeaconsBench.com) and Author, was our retreat master this year and presented the theme of “Deacons as Bridge-Builders”. Deacon Greg shared many experiences both as a deacon and as a married couple which allowed for a wonderful weekend for all who attended.

Rev. Peter Sousa, CSsR, Pastor of Our Lady of the Hills, celebrated the Vigil Mass Saturday evening, followed by a terrific banquet that included recognition of years of service as well as information about our growing Diocese. The evening ended with special dance performances from the Hispanic Community. We hope all who attended the retreat enjoyed the time spent together!

Photos of the weekend

Who was the speaker?

Deacon Greg has written two books: “The Living Gospel: Advent Reflections for 2018” (Ave Maria Press) and “The Busy Person’s Guide to Prayer” (Word Among Us Press)

Deacon Greg Kandra

Deacon Greg Kandra is the creator of “The Deacon’s Bench.” The blog has garnered over 20 million readers from around the world since its inception in 2007. Additionally, he serves as the Multimedia Editor for Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), a pontifical association founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926. He oversees the agency’s blog “One-to-One” and is one of the editors of its award-winning magazine, ONE.

Before joining CNEWA, Deacon Greg spent nearly three decades in broadcast journalism, most of that time at CBS News, where he was a writer and producer for several programs including “48 Hours,” “60 Minutes II,” “Sunday Morning” and “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.” He was also the founding editor of “Couric & Co.,” Katie Couric’s blog at CBSNews.com. In addition to his work with CBS News, from 2000 to 2004 he served as a writer and producer on the live finales of the hit reality series “Survivor.”

In 2002, he co-wrote the acclaimed CBS documentary “9/11,” hosted by Robert DeNiro, which told the story of firefighters on September 11, 2001. The film showed the only footage shot inside the World Trade Center that day, and featured the last images of Father Mychal Judge, moments before he became the first official fatality of the attacks.

Deacon Greg has received two Emmys, two Peabody Awards and four awards from the Writer’s Guild of America. His spiritual writing and essays have been honored multiple times with awards by the Catholic Press Association. He also travels the country directing retreats and parish missions. In May 2016, at the invitation of the Vatican, Deacon Greg was one of the featured speakers at the international Jubilee for Deacons in Rome. In 2017, he became the first deacon to be honored as Clergy of the Year by the Catholic Guild at Our Lady of the Skies Chapel at John F. Kennedy Airport. He was one of the speakers at the 2018 diaconate Congress in New Orleans, marking the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the diaconate as a permanent order.

He is the author of two books: “The Living Gospel: Advent Reflections for 2018” (Ave Maria Press) and “The Busy Person’s Guide to Prayer” (Word Among Us Press)

A Maryland native, Deacon Greg graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in English in 1982. He was ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2007. He and his wife live in Forest Hills, New York, where he serves at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs parish.