Another reader, reacting to this post about a perceived slight by the new Archbishop of New York, dropped me a line, with a great story about Archbishop Dolan:

[I’m] discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate in a diocese that does not embrace the ministry. A couple of years ago, out of frustration, I contacted the deacon in charge of the permanent diaconate formation program for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. I asked if they would consider admitting candidates from other dioceses – with the approval of each of the candidate’s bishop, of course. I got an immediate response from the deacon that they were reviewing and likely making some significant changes to the diaconate formation program and were not in the position to open the program to candidates from outside of the archdiocese.

A couple of days later, in the evening, the phone rang. When I answered, I immediately recognized the voice of Archbishop Dolan. I think a small part of the reason for his call might have been to get a sense of whether I was trying “pull an end-around” on my bishop. Archbishop Dolan asked many detailed questions related to my discernment. He was both very blunt and very supportive. We talked for nearly an hour! Here he was – a busy archbishop – talking to a guy from outside of his archdiocese about discerning a vocation to the permanent diaconate. At a critical point in my frustratingly long discernment process, Archbishop Dolan gave me many things for which to hope and pray. No other person has shown as much understanding and support for my plight as has Archbishop Dolan. I will be eternally grateful to him.

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