Deacon Owen Rogers, Assistant Deacon at Corpus Christi Cranebrook, died on 2 November aged 80.
Deacon Owen actively contributed to Masses and parish life as Deacon for 11 years. During the most recent lockdowns his health deteriorated, and sadly for his parish, he was unable to return.
Parish Priest of Corpus Christi Fr Chris Antwi-Boasiako kept in touch with him during lockdown and his illness. “He was very determined, very committed,” said Fr Chris. “He was a man for others. Even during his illness, he wanted to find out what was happening in the parish. He continued to offer ideas and suggestions.”
Deacon Owen was ordained to the Diaconate by Bishop Kevin Manning on 5 December 2009.
His beloved wife, Jeanette, died on 4 October 2020.
He will be sadly missed by his fellow parishioners.
The article below about Deacon Owen and his work with the community was published in 2017 in Catholic Outlook.
A life blessed by God’s presence
Deacon Owen Rogers is deacon assisting at Corpus Christi Parish, Cranebrook, and has served as a deacon for seven years after a career in the Royal Australian Navy.
The centre of Deacon Owen’s faith is serving God in the Mass and sacramental ministries. The ordained ministry of the permanent deacon requires men who desire to serve Christ in the Mass.
“The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and his desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with him,” he said.
Deacon Owen’s tribe is a pillar of the community in Western Sydney. He and his wife, Jeanette, have nine children, 23 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Deacon Owen is able to engage with people’s issues and utilise his skills as a husband and father. The Navy taught him self-discipline, trust, leadership and strategic thinking.
His dedication to service is extraordinary. Deacon Owen has served in the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW State Council for 21 years.
As a deacon, he visits patients in Nepean Hospital and takes communion to those parishioners who are housebound.
Deacon Owen praises the enormous frontline charitable works of the Catholic Church.
“It is good to know such services exist within the Church and as a deacon I can enable people and steer them in a direction that will be able to meet their immediate needs, he said.
“I’m conscious of the fact of being a link to those marginalised people and others in our community and enabling them to establish a stronger relationship with God, just by being present to them.”
Born in Dublin, Ireland, he said the call to serve in ministry commenced at an early age, when priests visited schools and encouraged students to think about becoming a priest.
“Becoming an altar boy at our local parish church was an exciting time, allowing one to learn Latin and also serve at Mass, ” he said. “This inner call to serve and help others remained with me throughout most of my working life.”
In June 2017, Deacon Owen and Jeanette will celebrate 55 years of marriage. They support each other, as one in heart and mind.
“Jeanette and I met in January 1960 at a dance in Sydney,” Owen said. “From the very beginning I had the feeling and I knew she was the one for me, but I did not let her know of this until later on when our relationship developed.
“Jeanette gives her wholehearted support to me in my diaconate role. Where possible, Jeanette accompanies me to Mass, and to diaconate formation meetings and retreat days. Our family is very supportive.
“We have a deep emotional and spiritual recognition for each other and by this we can truly be ourselves in what we do. We often try to make each other feel special by not taking our relationship for granted.”
Owen and Jeanette Rogers: “We share our dreams, strengths, and vulnerabilities with each other.” Image: Diocese of Parramatta.
The deacon’s routine of regular prayer has been helpful in their relationship. “Prayers during the day, evening and night prayers as well as the divine office, have certainly assisted us in our marital relationship,” he said. “My devotion to Mary, Our Blessed Mother has increased, enabling us to recite the holy rosary daily as a family.
“We share our dreams, strengths, and vulnerabilities with each other and have a willingness to learn from each other. Jeanette is a very strong advocate on social justice.”
Owen first considered the permanent diaconate after 27 years in the Navy. He made inquiries to the Diocese and commenced a Bachelor of Theology.
He was ordained on 5 December 2009 after several years of pastoral formation courses and spiritual direction.
The Ven Fulton Sheen is one of Deacon Owen’s inspirations, through Sheen’s powerful program, Life is Worth Living. The late Mother Mary Angelica of EWTN television and author Scott Hahn are other inspirations.
Deacon Owen is also inspired by local clergy, including Very Rev Chris de Souza VG EV, who he describes as a “great natural homilist and director”, Fr Peter Confeggi, “a wonderful tutor and empowering leader”, and Fr George O’Mara, “a great mentor”.