NORTH PALM BEACH | The nine men in formation for the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Palm Beach attended a retreat with their wives July 22-24 at the Our Lady of Florida Retreat Center in North Palm Beach.
Deacon Pete Del Valle, director of permanent diaconate formation, said eight of the men are in their second year of theological studies, and one is starting his fourth year.
The men are: Benny Matos (expected to be ordained in September 2023), and Dony Antony, Fred Bradley, Steve Boehning, Jose Capo, Tim Dube, Mario Neyra, Jim Paige and Oscar Rodriguez, due for ordination in September 2025. They represent parishes from Vero Beach to Boca Raton, said Deacon Del Valle, who also serves as pastoral associate at St. Therese de Lisieux Parish in Wellington.
“I’m really enjoying my time with all nine of them,” he said. “Two years ago, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a class, and God sent us eight wonderful men.”
Deacon Del Valle added that the retreat presenter was Father Hector Troche of the Archdiocese of Miami, who spoke about spirituality and how to nurture it in your family and community.
The wives of future deacons play an integral role in the formation program, Deacon Del Valle said. “Sometimes you get so caught up with your studies and at work, you forget about home.”
Explaining the hierarchy of priorities, he said, “Our thing is it’s God, it’s family, it is work because in order to provide you have to work, and then it’s formation, and then it’s your parish, in that order. And we’re very strict with that.”
On July 20 and 27, he hosted information sessions for men interested in becoming deacons. More than 15 men showed up with their wives to learn about the formation process and the nature of diaconal service.
At the sessions, he presented pertinent facts about the formation requirements, then had others talk about the process and life as a deacon. He concluded the sessions by fielding questions from the men and wives.
“It was really good. I’m happy with the turnout,” Deacon Del Valle said.