By Deacon Derek Walcott
The Order of Deacon is understood as follows: A man who is ordained as a deacon receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders. However, deacons are not priests: “At a lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons, who received the imposition of hands ‘not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry'” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 29).
A deacon is called like Christ to be a servant. The Order of Deacon has three essential functions: the proclamation of the Gospel, the service of the liturgy, and the administration of charitable works.
Deacons may baptise, witness the exchange of vows, and bless marriages, distribute Holy Communion, impart benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, bring Viaticum to the dying, read sacred Scripture to the faithful and especially proclaim the Gospel, preach, officiate at funerals and burials, and administer the sacramentals.
They should also dedicate themselves to other charitable works, particularly within the parish community (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1569-70, and the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 29).
On the day of ordination, deacons were given aprons with the words, ‘Deacons were born to serve.’
He lived his vocation.
Kenneth gave a lot of time to visiting the sick and homebound, taking Holy Communion to them and spending time with them. He was willing to listen and helped all he visited feel special and loved.
On weekends, he spent his Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings officiating the Word and communion services assigned by his parish priest. As a Minister of the Word, his homilies were thought-provoking and challenged listeners to contemplate what the Word of God was saying to them, always maintaining the Church’s teachings.
He was all about doing things thoroughly, e.g., preparing persons for various sacraments such as Confirmation, and expediency was out of the question for him if we wanted candidates to benefit fully from the experience.
He was a member of the Diaconate Service Team and contributed to the care and development of the deacons and their families. He made it his duty to call deacons and their families especially those who were experiencing health challenges, praying with them, and providing support.
At an archdiocesan level, Deacon Kenneth was the point person in Tobago for the Marriage Tribunal, his contribution will be missed.
Deacon Kenneth also continued his own self-development with his wife (Bernadette) both having completed studies in Spiritual Direction and worked in this ministry along with those mentioned already.
On a personal level, we were very close, confiding in personal as well as ministry concerns. We discussed everything, from politics to sports, the environment and church issues, technology, and bird-keeping.
Whenever he was in Trinidad, we would go searching for his favourite peewah all over the countryside or I would take him for a good Trini corn soup on the way to the airport.
In Tobago, I always had a room at their home and enjoyed the culinary skills of his beloved Bernadette, whom he loved and was so proud of her support and achievements.
Of his son Kenneth Jr, he shared with me how proud he was of him and loved him even though it was hard for him to express his feelings. He allowed me to be his mouthpiece of what he felt in his heart.
While he was in hospital, I visited him as often as I could taking Holy Communion and giving him the occasional shave. I also took whatever he wanted to eat corn soup, lasagna, hot chocolate etc.
Finally, I will miss his weekly calls and our long discussions. They all began with, ‘Palo, how are you going?’ and ended with ‘Talk again soon.’
Rest in peace my brother, until we all meet in Christ.
Comments from other deacons
He loved to discuss Church and diaconate issues, especially those close to his heart, and he could become very eloquent and passionate.
We remember his ideas regarding how to manage Church services during the pandemic. He felt that clarity was important if we are to avoid mistakes e.g., in setting out what deacons were allowed to do.
We remember how much he liked peewah, and the joy he felt when we sourced some large ones for him from the local market and were able to get them to Bernadette, who was doing a course in Trinidad at the time.
We will really miss him!
Brother Ken, may the angels lead you into Paradise, and may your soul rest in peace!
— Deacon Harold & Carole Woodroffe
He sought the welfare of others in a most magnificent way. I am a better person for having met him. Thank you, my brother Ken.
—Deacon Richard Bibby