Drummond — one of the first deacons, inspiring others
By Mallory Matt
It had been more than 1,000 years since the last permanent deacon ordination. After the Second Vatican Council decided to restore the permanent deacon in 1971, the Diocese of Beaumont, created five years prior to the Council’s decision, soon followed.
Vernon Drummond was part of the very first permanent diaconate class in the Diocese of Beaumont. He and four others were ordained May 26, 1979, after more than three years of training.
“It was a beautiful ordination,” said Diane, wife of the now deceased Deacon Vernon. “We had worked hard for three-and-a-half years, and it was really difficult. We had to drive to Longview to meet with Dallas professors because Beaumont didn’t have a program set up.”
One weekend a month, Diane and Vernon would meet the other deacon candidates and their wives at 4 a.m. to go to Longview for classes. All of the wives were required to attend and also take all of the exams.
“The wives needed to know everything that they knew,” Diane said. “So that way, when we were doing ministry, we were one unit.”
Diane and Vernon’s oldest son, Derick Drummond, the pastoral associate at St. Charles Borromeo in Nederland, remembers his parents’ hard work and dedication to the ministries.
“While my dad was doing a baptism, my mom would probably be at the nursing homes or visiting the sick in the parish,” Derick said. “It was their work in the ministry that inspired me to work in ministry.”
The Drummonds also hosted parish prayer meetings, helped put on diocesan retreats and participated as married mentors for engaged couples through Engaged Encounter.
“As a married person with a family, many parishioners could relate to him well,” Derick said. “He was very down-to-earth.”
Derick described one of the great benefits of having a father who is an ordained deacon is his ability to officiate weddings.
“He officiated the wedding for me and my wife, and also for my three brothers,” he said. “To marry all four of your kids — it was really special.”
Derick said that his dad was blessed with the ability to make others feel special.
“There was the older woman that my dad would go and bring Communion to,” he said. “She couldn’t go to Mass because her allergies were so bad, all the perfumes would put her in the hospital. So my dad made her an official prayer warrior which meant anytime he had prayer requests, he would send those requests to her. He even printed out a certificate and had it framed just for her.”
Derick said his dad always put other’s needs first before his own and encountered many people because of his work in ministry, so when he passed away, the wake and funeral were packed with people, including many clergy.
“When he died seven years ago, and we had the rosary, it had to be in the church because we couldn’t fit all the people in the funeral home,” he said. “The church was full and there was a line going out the back door and down the street for people to come in and pay their respects.”
“He was very open to anyone, and was gentle and loving,” Diane said. “Vernon was a good example to all of us.”