By Deacon Frank Chavez     4/30/2020

Responding to the needs of hungry people during the current health crisis, members of Diocese of Orange diaconate community have begun assisting at the Catholic Charities Doris Cantlay Center in Santa Ana. Approximately 35 deacons, deacon aspirants, and their wives bagged 2,700 meals on Saturday, April 18, preparing them for distribution from the center. 

“Everyone there showed me the face of Christ with their joyful attitudes and hard work,” said deacon aspirant Michael Gilmore whose wife Tara and son Matthew, a Servite sophomore, also served as volunteers on April 18. “It was obvious that we all wanted to be there, not only to help others but to be together as part of our Catholic community,” added Michael. 

Catholic Charities Orange County has been assisting people in need with food and other necessities since the Diocese was formed in 1976. The Cantlay Center has served as the core of that outreach with food distribution three days a week and special events on Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Aspirant John Lee, a retired physician, and his wife Maggie, have been longtime financial supporters of Catholic Charities and joined the volunteer team on April 18. “Since retiring, I am lucky I can sleep in every day. But I will wake up early to help support our local Catholic Charities,” John said. 

“We might have been tired, but I can’t stop thinking that St. Joseph and our Lord were smiling on us all,” said aspirant wife Olga Alvarado, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Placentia with her husband Robert. 

“It was an amazing experience,” said Anh Trieu, wife of deacon aspirant Huy Nguyen. “I was impressed with the Catholic Charities of Orange County, as they are very organized. My little time and effort can make many families in the community feel happy and have hope during this pandemic. I’m grateful for this unique opportunity as it’s not only helping others but it also gives me the chance to work with a wonderful group of people.