Deacon Fernando Enrique Luces (MA in Theology, 2021) is a permanent deacon at St. Rita’s Church in Long Island City, New York. He works as a director of religious education at Our Lady of Light Parish in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens. Permanent deacons cannot work at the same parish they serve in his diocese.
“My studies have helped me feel more confident with my theological knowledge in general and in facing the challenges I have found in my work as a DRE,” Deacon Luces says. “As a deacon, I have developed a profound spiritual insight that I apply in the Catechesis with the students.”
“The flexible time to study, the classmates of various cultures, and the excellent faculty and staff made it possible for me to achieve my goals,” he adds.
Deacon Luces most enjoys working in the house of the Lord. “It is a blessing for me, because I have the opportunity to pray daily with God in the tabernacle and ask His advice to work out any difficulties I might have,” he says.
A big challenge in the Diocese of Brooklyn during the pandemic is following the diocesan protocol. All attending Church must wear a face mask, take their temperatures, disinfect their hands, and keep their social distance. At the end of the Mass, the whole Church is clean and disinfected.
Deacon Luces is grateful to his wife, Roxana, for helping him with his diaconate and her support as he completed his theological studies. He likes to read religious books and watch classical religious movies in his free time. “Being grateful for the blessings and gift of God is what is essential and illuminates my service as a DRE and a deacon,” he says.
Reflecting on his undergraduate education, he says it was secular and not as challenging as his theological education. “My educational experience at CDU is incomparable,” he says. “I experienced the presence of God through constant prayer in my studies, who guided me spiritually all along.”