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Bishop LaValley to ordain 16 deacons Saturday

Oct. 4, 2017

Bishop Terry R. LaValley will ordain 16 men as permanent deacons Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Profiles of the new deacons follow:

Deacon Richard Lawrence Burns
St. Mary’s Parish, Potsdam

Richard BurnsDeacon Burns was born June 18, 1964,  in Watertown and grew up in Adams. He and his wife, Kathy (nee Stenard) have been married 31 years. They are the parents of one son, Michael, 24, who currently lives in New York City

Deacon Burns graduated from South Jefferson Central School in 1982; earned an associate’s degree in engineering science from Jefferson Community College in 1984; and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Clarkson University in 1986. He currently works as Manager, Community & Customer for National Grid in Potsdam.

As a deacon…I look forward to more deeply sharing in the sacramental life of my parish, through proclaiming the Word, serving at the altar, and teaching others to live their faith.



Deacon Brent A. Charland
St. Andre’ Bessette, Malone

Brent CharlandDeacon Charland was born at the family home in Malone July 17,1962, has been married to his high school sweetheart Becky (McClai ) for 32 years. They have a daughter Colleen who lives in Plattsburgh with their granddaughter Chloe, and a son Chadd and his wife Julie (Myre) who live in Bangor.

A graduate of Franklin Academy in Malone, he completed the University of Notre Dame STEP program and looks forward to continuing his education.

Since 1983, Deacon Charland has worked as church sexton for St. Andre’ Bessette Parish in Malone. “ As I start my 35th year working for the parish I give thanks to God every day for all the blessings I see, receive and live,” he said. “Working for the Church has been an awesome way to spend my life; I am truly blessed.”

As a deacon…I truly look forward to proclaiming the Gospel.  I would like to meet with and bring people who have fallen away back to Church. If I had to pick a theme for my ministry it would be focused on forgiveness. It is such a beautiful gift that we are all capable of and once received can change a life!

Deacon David Lawrence Clark
St. John the Baptist, Plattsburgh

David ClarkRetired as a colonel in the United States Air Force, Deacon Clark was born Aug. 20, 1948 in Bath, N.Y.

He and his wife Mary have been married for 46 years and have three children and four grandchildren. Matthew of Colorado Springs is married to Teresa (Caleb, age 2, Amelia, 1); Amy lives in Plattsburgh and Sarah lives in Lansdale, Pennsylvania and is married to Shawn Matthews (Brody, 4 and Kyle, 3)

A registered nurse for 29 years, Deacon Clark earned a BSN in nursing, an MS in nursing personnel management and an MSN in nursing administration

He is retired from the Air Force, as nurse and also from New York State Department of Corrections (Altona CF)
As a deacon…I look forward to making a difference to those in need within and around Plattsburgh. I hope to find some method of providing charitable works for those who are suffering and have no other options. I don’t know what that will look like just yet, but I hope the Lord sends me some guidance.  My job now is to listen for God’s gentle whisper inspiring me to take a pathway.  I pray I can hear Him.  I have spent my entire adult life as a registered nurse caring for others, now I want to expand that care to more people with a different focus.

Deacon James David Crowley
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Ogdensburg

James CrowleyDeacon Crowley, who serves as chancellor for the Diocese of Ogdensburg was born Feb. 3, 1964 in Buffalo.

He and his wife, Rita, have three daughters, Allison, Bethany, Margaret who will all serve at the Ordination Mass.
Deacon Crowley earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and religious studies from Wadhams Hall Seminary-College in 1991.  Among his responsibilities as chancellor is communications director, delegate to pastoral ministers and executive director of the Family Life Office for diocese. He is the former owner of C3 – Crowley Computer Consulting

As a deacon... I hope to continue exploring the path the Lord calls Rita and me toward and to use the gifts and grace God gives me to serve the Church and His people.



Deacon David D. Demers
Notre Dame, Ogdensburg

David DemersDeacon Demers was born in Ogdensburg Aug. 1, 1959 and married Laurie Galvin on March 14, 1987. The couple have two sons, Alex of E. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; and Kyle of Ogdensburg; and one granddaughter June E. Demers, the daughter of Kyle.

He graduated from Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1976 and attended Seminole Community College in Lake Mary, Florida, obtaining a degree in fire science shortly after starting a career as a firefighter/EMT in Tamarac, Florida.
Deacon Demers moved back to Ogdensburg in 1986. He joined the Ogdensburg Fire Department in 1989 and retired in 2002.

As a deacon… through my love of God and His people I look forward as a deacon to serve Him and His Church. 



Deacon John Anthony Fehlner
St. Brendan’s, Keene

John FehlnerDeacon Fehlner was born in Detroit, Michigan, April 16, 1957 and is retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
He and his wife Maura (Hearden) have three children, Corey, Malachy and Mary and two grandchildren,  Colden and Ryland.

Deacon Fehlner earned a bachelor’s degree and currently operates WCLP Catholic radio station in Lake Placid.
As a deacon… strengthened by the grace of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, I pray that the Holy Spirit will infuse my thoughts words and deeds with new vitality as I participate in the liturgy, continue to operate WCLP Catholic radio in Lake Placid, and do all that I can to attend to the corporal and spiritual needs of my parish, community and the Diocese of Ogdensburg.


Deacon Timothy David Foley
St. Bartholomew's, Old Forge

Timothy FoleyDeacon Foley, a native of Utica, was born Oct. 7, 1948. He and his wife, Patty are the parents of one daughter.
A practicing attorney, he is a graduate of Blessed Sacrament Elementary School, Notre Dame High School, Boston College, University of Mississippi Law School

As a deacon…I most look forward to growing closer to God by following His will and serving His church.





Deacon Neil J. Fuller
St. Mary’s, Clayton

Neil FullerDeacon Fuller was born in Watertown April 8, 1958, graduated from Watertown High School (1976) and attended   Jefferson Community College.

Married to Dee Streets Brabant Fuller, he has one son Neil Fuller, two step-sons Jerome (Dana) Brabant and  John Paul Brabant, two grandsons Liam and Samuel Brabant and one granddaughter June Brabant.

He currently works as the Elderly Nutrition Program Manager for Jefferson County through the Office for the Aging.
As a deacon… I look forward to ministering to the people of St. Mary’s and St. John’s through daily and weekend liturgies by assisting Father LaBaff and helping families plan liturgies for their deceased loved ones. I will continue to promote and expand lay ministries in our parishes. I most look forward to working with people of all ages and help them to know and understand our church as we journey together.


Deacon Ronny Gingerich
St. Peter’s. Lowville

Ronny GingerichDeacon Gingerich, who serves as youth director at St. Peter’s Church, was born in August 1954 and graduated from Canton Collage in 1974.

He married his high school sweetheart, Michele at Saint Peter’s and remembers his parish priest telling him, “It is your job to get each other to heaven.” Forty-two years later, the couple have two children, Amos and his wife Connie and Alicia and her husband Alex Ross, three grandchildren Evangeline,  Edward and Margaret with a fourth expected soon.

Deacon Gingerich has owned a contracting company, worked for private corporation, retired from public education,  has volunteered for multiple emergency services, and is employed as youth director at St. Peters. He retired from Lowville Academy last year in order to commit more time to  diaconate studies.

As a deacon… Michelle and I decided that the deacon formation program would be a great opportunity to explore a deeper relationship in the Church. We loved participating in the program. There was so much to learn and a great amount of time required. The experience was wonderful. My call was not immediate, it grew slowly over time. I really loved the process. Finally, I could not imagine doing anything else. The prayers of support from family, friends, instructors, and parish have blessed my journey. I thank every one of you.  

Deacon Nicholas John Haas
St. Andre Bessette, Malone

Nicholas HassDeacon Haas was born October 10, 1960,  in Port Jervis, New York, and was raised in Matamoras, Pennsylvania
He and his wife, Mary, were married August 5, 1990, and have three children. Nicholas, Jr., Michael, and Rachel.
Deacon Haas graduated from Paul Smiths College in 1994 with an AAS in Forest Surveying and works as a licensed land surveyor for Geomatics Land Surveying, P.C. in Saranac Lake.

As a deacon... I look forward to taking a more active role in enhancing the spiritual life of those I serve in my parish.  It is my hope that the deep relationship I have nurtured with God through prayer, words and deed, will enable me to bring Christ to those I serve.




Deacon Michael Joseph Howley
St. Peter’s, Plattsburgh

Michael HowleyDeacon Howley was born in Plattsburgh Oct. 13,1952, and  married the former Joan Elizabeth Barnes on Nov. 30, 1974.  They have three children:  Elizabeth, Evan, and Brian who, with his wife, Anne is expecting their first grandchild in January.

A graduate  from Mount Assumption  and SUNY Plattsburgh, he received a law degree (Juris Doctor) from Western New England College School of Law in 1979.

A practicing attorney, his current position is a support magistrate with the New York State Family Court, presiding in support cases in Clinton, Franklin, and (occasionally) St. Lawrence Counties.  He practiced law in Clinton County for a number of years before becoming principal law clerk to two New York State Supreme Court Justices, Hon. Andrew W. Ryan Jr., then his successor Hon. John A. Lahtinen. 

As a deacon.... I am most looking forward to helping others in new ways.  I was  taught by my parents and others that we should always help people, I will now have the opportunity to assist others in their journey towards eternal life with our Father.  An awesome opportunity, but at the same time a great responsibility!

Deacon Lawrence Charles Morse
St. James, Gouverneur

Lawrence MorseDeacon Morse was born in the Old Van Duzee Hospital in Gouverneur Aug.3, 1946. On Sept. 5, 1965, he married Diane Lynde. They have four children, five grandchildren aged 20 to 31, and two great grandchildren Isabeau and Elijah.

After graduating from Gouverneur Central High School in 1964, he attended Mohawk Valley Community College and went to work for Mason Rossiter Smith, Inc., a commercial printing company. He later worked Sherwin-Williams in Saratoga Springs in June of 1966 and Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

He also worked as a bookkeeper for a Mobil dealer, for an auto parts store and for Hillcrest Educational Center of Pittsfield, MA, which is a residential treatment facility for children from 4 years to 18 years old, helping children in trouble.

In 1969, he began service as a volunteer fire fighter for the Lenox Fire Department.  During his tenure he took several fire science courses, was a lieutenant for seven  years and an assistant chief for 15 years.

He resigned in November 2007, when his family moved back to Gouverneur but later volunteered with the Richville Fire Department for five years and eight months.

In 1979, Deacon Morse grew a beard and started a career playing Santa Claus from Black Friday until Christmas Eve in malls and for private parties.

As a deacon…becoming a deacon will enable me to proclaim the Gospel and work with Father (Shane) Lynch , our pastor and the members of our parish in ways helping them to get home with Jesus and God, His Father. I also am hoping to minister to the incarcerated, increasing their belief and guiding them to the narrow gate. There are unlimited possibilities.      

Deacon William Patrick O’Brien
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Ogdensburg

William O'BrienDeacon O’Brien was born in Syracuse, Aug. 27, 1957 and grew up as a parishioner of Most Holy Rosary Parish on the west side of Syracuse. He then attended Onondaga Community College majoring in Business Administration.
He moved to the North Country in 1996 and worked in management for a local supermarket chain until retiring in 2004 after a back injury.  He was married for nearly 25 years and has two children. His son Sean and his wife and three grandchildren live in Ogdensburg and his daughter Meghan lives in Portland, Oregon.

As a deacon…. I hope that I am, through the grace and mercy of God, able to bring Christ to all I meet.  I pray that I might be an “instrument of thy peace”, Oh Lord.”, Just as St. Francis prayed.  I love the bible and the Catholic faith and I hope to help others to see “again, for the first time” the wonders of our faith and the divine mercy offered to each and every one of us by our Loving God- Father, Son & Holy Spirit. I would solicit your prayers for myself, as I promise to pray for you the Church of Ogdensburg.  Thank you for your wonderful support both in my studies (financially) and your prayerful support throughout my four years of formation.  God bless you all this day and always!

Deacon Philip James Regan
St. Andrew’s Church, Norwood

Philip ReganDeacon Regan was born in Potsdam Aug. 30, 1947.  He graduated from Norwood-Norfolk Central School in 1967 and went straight into the work force. After a short time working in construction he was hired by Penn Central Railroad. Later Penn Central became the Consolidated Railroad Corporation from which he retired after 20 years as a clerk in Massena.

Deacon Regan and his wife, Linda, have been married for 49 years and are the parents of three children - Richard and his wife Nicole have a son Sean, Robert works at customs in Massena; and Ellie Prashaw and her husband Jeff have three children, Anthony, Vanessa and Chris.

As a deacon…. what I look most forward to as my life as a deacon is working under the direction of the bishop and assignments entrusted to me by my pastor. I have served on the altar as an adult server and Eucharistic minister for many  years, now I am looking forward to assisting at Mass in the deacon’s role, and once I receive my faculties, preaching the good news of the Gospels.

Deacon Randal J. Smith
St. Peter’s, Plattsburgh

Randal SmithDeacon Smith was born Nov. 17, 1957 in Los Angeles, California.

He is a retired instructor boom operator from the United States Air Force and currently works as a sergeant for the Department of Corrections at Upstate Correctional Facility in Malone.

Deacon Smith and his wife, Karen, have three children, and five grandchildren

He earned two associate degrees from the Community College of the Air Force.

As a deacon… I look forward to serving the Catholic community and the community I live in any way I can help. In serving the Lord in whatever role He calls me to. I also look forward to growing more closer to the Lord through my ministry.



Deacon Thomas John Yousey II
St. Peter’s, Lowville

Thomas YouseyDeacon Yousey was born April 4, 1948 in Lowville.

He and his wife, Linda who died in 2014, had two children and five grandchildren - Christopher and Pamela Yousey, parents of Emma, Jack and Henry; and Kimberly and Nathan Elsener, parents of Charles and Simon.
Deacon Yousey earned a bachelor’s degree at SUNY Potsdam and a master’s in education from St. Lawrence University.  He is a retired high school and university educator

As a deacon… Actually, I look forward to the unknown.  With the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit, I look forward to serving God and His people wherever He leads me.

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