WINNSBORO— A special tribute was given to Msgr. Joseph R. Roth at the annual diaconate retreat held recently.
Msgr. Roth served as director of the office of diaconate for 20 years, from 1990 to 2010. He received a statue of Our Lady of Grace inscribed with “the utmost love and respect from the deacons of the Diocese of Charleston.” The deacons also created a $3,500 scholarship in the monsignor’s name to Blessed John XXIII National Seminary.
“It was a special day — more so because of Msgr. Roth,” Deacon Dennis Jones said. The deacon, who was ordained in 1985 and serves at Our Lady of the Hills in Lexington, said the first Mass at which he assisted was with Msgr. Roth at Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island.
“He is a dear man. He was an inspiration to us because of the way he taught the classes,” Deacon Jones said. “He is the reason we have the diaconate as it is.”
Cathy Roche, administrative assistant in the diaconate office, said Msgr. Roth was completely surprised by the gesture.
Several deacons were honored for their long service to the Catholic Church, many for over 25 years: Deacon Andre Guillet, Christ Our King in Mount Pleasant; Deacon Eugene Phillips, St. Theresa the Little Flower in Summerville; Deacon James Johnson, St. Anne in Florence; Deacon Dennis Jones, Our Lady of the Hills in Lexington; Deacon Donald Dashnaw, Divine Redeemer in Hanahan; Deacon Joseph Anonie, Immaculate Conception in Goose Creek; and Deacon Chester Gorman, Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach.
Roche said 136 deacons and their wives attended the event held at White Oak Conference Center.