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Archives Deacon Trudeau to aid in Deacon Formation

October 18, 2023

By Darcy Fargo

When Bishop Terry R. LaValley sought to appoint an associate director of Deacon Formation, Deacon Lee Trudeau said he didn’t consider applying.

“It’s nothing I would’ve applied for if I hadn’t been encouraged to do so,” said Deacon Trudeau, who serves in St. Augustine’s Church in North Bangor and St. Mary’s Church in Brushton. “I haven’t been a deacon that long. I thought I was too green for this. When I was encouraged to apply, I thought, ‘they must need a certain number of applicants. They’ll pick someone else.’”

But Bishop Terry R. LaValley recently appointed Deacon Trudeau to fill the spot. He’ll assist Msgr. Robert H. Aucoin, director of Deacon Formation and episcopal vicar for Education and the New Evangelization, in “coordinating and supervising all aspects of the formation program for students preparing for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Ogdensburg,” the job description for the role states.

While the associate director role has existed for years, the position was vacant until Deacon Trudeau’s appointment. It has historically served as a means of succession planning.

“When I was previously director of Deacon Formation, Deacon John White was appointed associate director and eventually took my place as the director,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “In Deacon White’s time, Deacon John Drollette was appointed associated director and became director after Deacon White. Even in earlier times there were associate directors who eventually became directors.”

The role will provide on-the-job training to Deacon Trudeau, who is already quite familiar with the formation program.

“Deacon Trudeau has been a deacon for several years,” Msgr. Aucoin said. “He is familiar with the program and its organization from having participated. As associate director he will study and learn the details in designing and implementing a Deacon Formation Program. There is The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanenent Deacons in the United States of America created and published by the United States Conferences of Catholic Bishops. There is a similar document for priests. The directory enumerates the basic norms for deacons’ formation programs. It is up to each diocese to create its own version for the implementation of these norms.”

“The associate director learns from the director and from his own study and research the best ways to implement the Directory for the participants in the Diocese of Ogdensburg.”

Deacon Trudeau will assist in the academic and spiritual formation of deacon formation participants, participate in evaluations, assist in developing programming and policies, prepare participants for the rites of Candidacy, Lector and Acolyte and eventually ordination and assist in monitoring participants’ coursework.

Ordained in 2021, Deacon Trudeau is no stranger to formation programs and classrooms.

“Deacon Trudeau brings his many talents to the program,” said Msgr. Aucoin. “In addition to being a deacon, he had an extensive successful career in education, both in the classroom and in administration, he has participated in various ministry programs in his own parish along with leadership roles in his parish.”

“I went to SUNY Potsdam, and I started as an English teacher,” Deacon Trudeau explained. “I went to seminary for a couple years, and then I decided I wanted to get married. I became a special education teacher. I started in 1988, and I taught for 32 years between the BOCES and Malone Central School District. It was toward the end of my teaching career that I started studying for the permanent diaconate. I retired from teaching the year before ordination. That same year, I became (director of Religious Education) for our parishes.”

Deacon Trudeau and his wife, Lisa, have two sons.

“The first thing I did was talk to Lisa about it,” Deacon Trudeau said. “She said, ‘I think you’d be good at it, and I think you ought to do it.’”

Deacon Trudeau said he’s enjoyed getting more familiar with the formation portion of the diaconate as he’s started in the new role.

“Everything is very well organized,” he said. “I like that. I like to be very organized, even if I’m not always that way.”

While working in this formation role, Deacon Trudeau also continues to focus on his formation as a relatively new deacon.

“I’m working on a certificate in Spiritual Direction at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to use the skills I’m picking up there working with the (Deacon Formation participants).”
He also looks forward to getting to know program participants current and future.

“It’s easy to get isolated,” he said. “I’ve lived here most of my life and taught in Malone. (Attending a recent formation weekend with program participants), I met people from all over the diocese. It’s great to make connections. I think I’ll really enjoy that part of it.”

The current class in formation includes six men. Plans are underway to recruit an additional class, Deacon Trudeau noted.

“When I went through the program, we ran one class at a time,” he said. “The goal is to run two classes at the same time. We could conceivably have one group starting out while another is finishing. That would be something new. It might be an adjustment at first, but once we get it going, I don’t think it’ll be too bad.”
For more information about the formation program, visit https://www.rcdony.org/vocations/permanent-deacon.html.

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