Pilgrimage leads Worthing Deacon to meet Pope

Worthing Deacon Mark Woods and his wife Jane, from St Michaels Church in High Salvington, meet Pope Francis.

Worthing Deacon Mark Woods and his wife Jane, from St Michaels Church in High Salvington, meet Pope Francis.

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A Worthing Deacon and his wife met the Pope while on a pilgrimage to Rome.

Mark and Jane Woods, from St Michael’s Church in High Salvington, were in audience in the Hall of Popes as members of the International Centre for the Diaconate, which at the end of last year celebrated the 50th anniversary of its foundation. It was part of a pilgrimage to Rome on the occasion of the Jubilee of Mercy.

Deacon Mark said he was inspired by both the Pontiff’s commitment to the diaconate and the attention he paid to others.

He added: “I was most impressed how closely the pope listened to both the addresses from the Bishop Protector, Rt Rev Gebhard Fürst and the President, Deacon Klaus Kiessling of the International Diaconate Centre. He also blessed my wife, Jane, and I personally, and a Bible I had with me from a friend.

“Pope Francis showed his commitment to the Diaconate around the world in meeting with us and in encouraging us to be servants acting in love.”

The International Diaconate Centre was formed in 1965 in the wake of Vatican II to encourage and support the development of the diaconate worldwide. Since that time, there are now deacons in more than 50 per cent of dioceses in the world. Deacon Mark was ordained in 2005 at St Michael’s and has been a parishioner at there for more than 20 years.

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