Island bids farewell to Deacon Steve Hester

Through three long and loud ovations at the 10 a.m. Mass at St. Andrew Catholic Church on June 19, Deacon Steve Hester and his wife Laura signed off after a four-year parish engagement here on Block Island, with one last homily.Hester has accepted a position with a large parish in Lexington, Kentucky where he will serve as the parish administrator managing all functions and activities. Hester was involved with the same parish previously for 15 years. The progressive parish has over 2,000 families, a large, attached school, and is indicative of where the Catholic Church is moving facing a dwindlingnumber of priests.Steve left the island on June 20, and Laura and their daughters will follow at the end of August.Increasingly, dioceses are moving to professional administrators who handle all the administrative functions of the parish, leaving priests to handle the sacraments. Priests increasingly are juggling two, even three parishes at once, including weddings, funerals, first communions, hospital visits, etc., while tending to the ongoing spiritual needs of the parishioners. The role of a professional administrator in handling facilities, planning, finances and activities is more pronounced than ever, and Hester can uniquely assist with both as a full-time deacon

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