Bishop Douglas J. Lucia has appointed a new director and associate director to lead the Office of Permanent Deacon Formation for the Diocese of Syracuse.
Father Mark Kaminski, pastor of St. Anthony and St. Agnes Church and St. Mark’s Church in Utica will take over the helm of the program. He succeeds Deacon Tom Cuskey who has stepped aside to devote himself full time as editor-in-chief of The Catholic Sun.
Assisting Father Kaminski as associate director will be Deacon Jeff Dean who also serves at the parishes of St. Stephen in Phoenix and Holy Trinity in Fulton.
Father Kaminski brings a rich background to the position. “I’ve been involved in deacon formation for 20 years,” Father says, serving as an instructor for various pastoral classes as well as moral theology and spirituality. “Time flew by with very successful leadership, producing multiple classes of outstanding deacons serving in parishes and specialized ministries.”
As a parish priest, Father sees the permanent diaconate as it was originally intended, dating back to Apostolic times, as a ministry with its own charisms of charity and service. “Some people believe the diaconate was restored because we have a shortage of priests, which is not the case,” he points out. “But deacons were very carefully chosen by the apostles for a particular purpose and it’s vastly different than the priestly ministry.”
Father sees his role as continuing “the outstanding job that we have been doing for more than three decades.
Fr. Kaminski was ordained in 2001 and holds two doctorate degrees in theological studies, his most recent degree focusing on the permanent diaconate. He has served as pastor of St. Anthony’s of Padua in Cortland, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Cincinnatus, St. Mary’s in Cortland and currently at St. Anthony/St. Agnes and St. Mark’s. He was also director of Christ the King Retreat House from 2009 to 2011 and has coordinated continuing education programs for diocesan priests. He serves as a Vicar Forane in the Eastern Region and as a member of the College of Consultors.
Deacon Dean was ordained in 2018. His secular professional background, prior to ordination, was as a nuclear engineer specializing in quality assurance programs for various installations including Nine Mile Point in Oswego.
Regarding his appointment to the formation post, Deacon Dean says he is “looking forward to the opportunity to serve the diocese in a broader sense.” He, too, sees service as the essence of being a deacon. “That comes in many forms,” he adds. “It’s service to the people of the parish, it’s service to the communities, service to the diocese. You are serving in your other roles, too, whether it’s preaching or proclaiming the Gospel.”
Dean and his wife, Theresa, reside in Pennellville. They have two adult sons, Alex and Christopher.