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Greensburg native to oversee diocesan program for deacons

Stephen Huba
| Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, 4:09 p.m.
Deacon William J. Hisker, the new director of the Greensburg Diocese's Office for the Permanent Diaconate.
Deacon William J. Hisker, the new director of the Greensburg Diocese's Office for the Permanent Diaconate.

One of the first men ordained to the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Greensburg is now responsible for recruiting more men to the diaconate and guiding them through the program.

Deacon William J. Hisker, a parishioner of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg, has been appointed director of the Office for the Permanent Diaconate by Bishop Edward C. Malesic, the diocese announced Thursday.

The appointment, which was effective Jan. 1, means Hisker will be responsible for both the recruitment and education components of the program, the diocese said.

Since becoming associate director in 2016, Hisker has been involved in refining the academic curriculum to meet the needs of men who enter the program with or without a college degree. He also has worked with seminaries to coordinate the establishment of online courses for men who cannot travel to Greensburg for all their classes.

In addition, he has worked on the permanent diaconate's spiritual formation program, which is held on weekends at the Bishop Connare Center. He currently is working with the bishop prior to announcing changes in the program.

“We will first inform priests about the recruiting initiative, as well as the academic curriculum and the spiritual formation program. That will take place in the coming weeks,” Hisker said. “Then we will disseminate the information throughout the diocese.”

Hisker has spent most of his life in Catholic education. He attended the former St. Paul School, Greensburg, and the former Saint Vincent Prep School, Latrobe.

He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Saint Vincent College, a master's degree in regional and city planning from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

He has been a business professor at Saint Vincent College since 1974 and currently chairs the McKenna School of Business and teaches business ethics and leadership at the college.

He also has a master of divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary and is working on a doctor of divinity through the Aquinas Institute at Saint Louis University, with an emphasis on Catholic social teaching and preaching.

Hisker was ordained a permanent deacon in 2009 by Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt, who established the permanent diaconate program in 2005. He has been assigned to Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish since 2009.

Although deacons do not celebrate Mass or hear confessions, they can baptize and officiate at weddings and funeral services where there is no Mass. They work in conjunction with the priests as a complement to their ministry.

Hisker and his wife of 48 years, Vera, live in Greensburg and are the parents of three adult children. They have three grandchildren.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1280, or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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