Beliefnet
The Deacon's Bench

They don’t get nearly enough attention, but the wives of deacons often play a critical role in their husbands’ ministry. Now, some wives and widows in Connecticut have embarked on a ministry of their own.

From the Catholic Transcript newspaper:

Quilt-2937.jpg“We couldn’t wait to come here and present these quilts to you,” said Sharon Tartaris, coordinator of deacon wives and widows for the Archdiocese of Hartford, who presented hand-made quilts made by the group for the 28 families residing in Cathedral Green.

“There are young families here, and there’s nothing better than being able to wrap up in a quilt,” said Mrs. Tartaris, “especially after the kids have gone to bed,” she quipped, with a quick response of laughter.

“I want to thank you for the opportunity to make these quilts for you,” she said.

Beginning last year, a core group of about 17 wives and widows of permanent deacons from the east shore deanery met on Saturday mornings with the blessings of Archbishop Henry J. Mansell to design, cut, piece and sew the beautiful quilts. The group at first met at St. Aedan Parish in New Haven, where Kathy Ryzewski offered the assistance of the parish’s sewing ministry. The gatherings later switched to Fridays and moved to Our Lady of Pompeii Parish in East Haven, where they were hosted by Maryann Lotto and Barbara Villecca.

After Deacon Robert Tartaris, who serves at Our Lady of Victory Parish in West Haven, blessed the quilts on Dec. 21, Mrs. Tartaris and Rose Alma Senatore, chief executive officer for Catholic Charities, began presenting the quilts to the families who came for an evening that included a dinner and a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” for the children.

“May these quilts made by human hands with great love keep you warm,” Deacon Tartaris prayed.

His prayer was received with an equal measure of love and gratitude by the residents of Cathedral Green, an affordable housing initiative with supportive services provided by Catholic Charities.

“I am overwhelmed with joy,” said Cynthia Fenn. “They took so much time just for us to make us feel at home here.”

There’s more at the link.

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