This is something wonderful, in a preview of last weekend’s ordination in the Catholic Star-Herald newspaper:
Fathers and sons can have special bonds. Baseball. Fishing. Indiana Jones movies.
For two father/son families in the Diocese of Camden — Richard J. Wigglesworth and son Richard A., and Michael J. Harkins and son David J.— their relationship has grown even deeper to include the permanent diaconate as ministers of word, sacrament and charity in the Catholic Church.
Deacons Richard J. and Michael, both retired, will this weekend witness their sons Richard A. and David join 10 other men of the Diocese of Camden in being ordained to the permanent diaconate by Bishop Dennis Sullivan in Glassboro.
“I’m proud of him,” Deacon Richard J. said of his son, adding that he “was happy, but not surprised” when his oldest child told him he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. “He’s living the life of a good Christian, with a desire to serve Christ.”
The son Wigglesworth credits his father as one of the main influencers of his decision to enter diaconate formation five years ago, after retiring from his work with the commercial construction industry.
Related: 12 new deacons for Camden
“My father’s spirituality is like no one I’ve ever known,” he says, recalling watching his dad minister at Mays Landing’s Saint Vincent de Paul Parish.
“He’s soft-spoken, but when he does speak, you want to listen. He evangelized in an unassuming way, with a kind demeanor and welcoming personality. It was his example that led me to serve.”
In the call, he also recognizes the work of the Almighty. “With God, there are no coincidences,” he says.
Another not-coincidence: Harkins and Wigglesworth the elders both went through diaconate formation together, and they both were ordained in 1988. Fast-forward 32 years, and there, again, are a Harkins and a Wigglesworth on the altar.
“It’s divine providence” to have both he and David be ordained together, says Richard A.
“We’re brothers,” David says of his relationship with Richard A.