Deacon Dominick “Dan” Abballe, one of the first permanent deacons in the Diocese of Rochester, died May 28, 2022. He was 84.
“He loved life, he loved people, he loved serving God,” remarked Deacon Kevin Carges, one of Deacon Abballe’s close friends.
Deacon Abballe attended St. Michael Parish in Rochester when he was a child, then joined St. Christopher Parish in North Chili as an adult. In the late 1970s, he served as the deputy lay director for the Cursillo movement in the region.
Around that time, he also began studying for the permanent diaconate, completing his training at the former St. Bernard’s Seminary and St. Bernard’s Institute, now known as St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry. Bishop Matthew H. Clark ordained him April 17, 1982, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester.
After ordination, Deacon Abballe served at St. Christopher, where he and his wife, Joan, helped start the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program. He served at St. Christopher until 1988. He then served for one year at St. Paul Parish in Webster before moving to St. Patrick Parish in Macedon in 1989.
Deacon Abballe was involved with St. Patrick’s RCIA and adult faith-formation programs. And although it was not part of his job description, he also served as a mentor for the newly ordained Deacon Carges, who was assigned to St. Patrick in 2005.
“Starting out as a deacon in the church is a little overwhelming. I was just ordained, so I was really green,” Deacon Carges recalled. “He really just kind of showed me the ropes. God was really watching over me when he put me there with Dan. He was always there for me when I needed him.”
Deacon Carges noticed the respect parishioners had for Deacon Abballe and the way the elder deacon listened to parishioners and put them at ease.
“His personality was very calm, joyful. He just loved people and cared about everyone. He always put others ahead of himself. I could relate to that, because that’s the kind of person I wanted to be as a deacon,” Deacon Carges said.
Deacon Abballe served at the Macedon parish until he reached senior status. He later helped with the RCIA at Church of the Assumption in Fairport.
When he wasn’t serving in local parishes, Deacon Abballe also ministered in a senior-citizen community in Webster and worked with several local ministries and groups, including the former Genesee Hospital in Rochester.
Deacon Abballe is survived by his wife, Joan; daughters, Beth (Jonathan) Sanford and Michele (J.C.) DeLass; grandchildren, Jonathan (Stephanie) Sanford, Kaitlin (Joshua) Boston, and Gabrielle and Karleigh DeLass; four great-grandchildren; brother, John (Judith) Abballe; sister, Rosemary (Joseph) Scavone; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
Calling hours will take place June 2, 2022, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Falvo Funeral Home, 1295 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, Webster. Deacon Abballe’s funeral liturgy will take place June 3, 2022, at 11:15 a.m. at Church of the Assumption, 20 East Ave., Fairport.
Contributions in memory of Deacon Abballe may be directed to the Wilmot Cancer Center or the Golisano Children’s Hospital.