Deacon Paul H. Dignan, a member of the first class of permanent deacons from Allegany County, died March 7 at age 80. Capuchin Franciscan Father Eric Gauchat offered a March 11 funeral Mass at St. Patrick in Cumberland – Deacon Dignan’s home parish and the faith community he served throughout his diaconate.
Ordained by former Baltimore Auxiliary Bishop J. Francis Stafford (now a cardinal) in 1976, Deacon Dignan devoted much of his diaconal ministry to serving those in need. He was a former president of the parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society and helped give away free food, clothing and furniture. He was also a religious education instructor at St. Patrick.
“He visited people and made many Communion calls,” remembered Deacon Francis L. Werner Jr., a fellow member of the historic deacon class of 1976. “He was a gentle soul.”
Deacon Werner said parishioners were “very glad and appreciative” of Deacon Dignan’s ministry.
Deacon Dignan worked at a Cumberland office supply store. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Dignan and a son, Stephen Michael Dignan. He has five surviving daughters and eight surviving sons.