Much has changed in the 40 years since the calendar clicked over to 1977.
Numerous things have gone by the wayside, including — thankfully — bell-bottoms, disco and gas-guzzling vehicles. Secularly, we're on our seventh president and, in the Catholic world, our fifth pope and our fifth archbishop of St. Louis.
We've also experienced a drop in vocations to the clergy and to consecrated life, with Catholic education transitioning to the laity as a result. But thankfully, we've seen a great increase in the diaconate in the archdiocese, men firmly committed to serving the Church.
By Dave Luecking | firstname.lastname@example.org | twitter: @legacyCatholic
Newly retired Kurt Loeffler of Queen of All Saints Parish in Oakville asked God for a sign that dioconate formation was the right move for him. God answered in the form of a parish deacon who called out of the blue asking Loeffler if he had ever considered the diaconate.
"I wanted to get hit over the head with a two-by-four ... and He hit me," Loeffler said, with a laugh. "That was my sign."
Deacon Mark Byington, who serves at St. Joseph Parish in Farmington, was a Dallas police officer for seven years, from 1987 to 1994, and teaches criminal justice at Jefferson County Community College. So, he provides the unique perspective of a criminal justice expert viewing the tragedy in Dallas through the eyes of faith.