The deacon John refrees Jr., known to bring people to the Catholic Church, dies

Deacon John Joseph Rafter Jr., who had a passion for bringing people into the Catholic Church, died May 11 at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie. He was 79 years old.

Deacon Rafter was ordained a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 1983. He has served as deacon at St. Augustine’s Church in Elkridge, the National Shrine Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore, and St. John the Evangelist Church in Hydes before moving to St. Jane Frances de Chantal in Pasadena in 2001 until her retirement in 2009.

“Deacon Rafter was very dedicated to the RICA program,” said Fr. John Williamson, associate pastor of St. Jane Frances in 2001 and current pastor of St. John the Evangelist in Frederick and St. Joseph on Carrollton Manor in Buckeystown. «Vous avez des gens dans toutes les situations de la vie. John s’est toujours adapté et les a aidés à faire partie de l’église. Il a également ramené beaucoup de gens à l’église. He was a good man.”

Father Williamson, who remained close to Deacon Rafter and his family after leaving the parish in 2002, said his friend had a ‘wicked sense of humour’.

“He always knew how to put people at ease and make them laugh,” he said.

Melissa Boyle worked with Deacon to refer to St. Jane until her retirement.

“His passion was really to bring people to the Catholic Church,” said Boyle. “He was humble and he cared a lot. Il a définitivement eu un impact sur St. Jane Frances.

Deacon Rafter grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he attended Scranton Preparatory High School and the University of Scranton before entering St. Pius X Seminary in Dalton, Pennsylvania.

While in seminary, he believed that God had a different plan for his life, so he left seminary and joined the United States Navy. Deacon Rafter served from 1964 to 1984 as a cryptologic technician, using his skills as a Chinese linguist to support national intelligence gathering efforts. He spent time in Taiwan, Okinawa, Guam and bases in the United States before being stationed at Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County and assigned to the National Security Agency.

While he was in the navy, he married his wife, Anne, and they got married 54 years. They had eight children and lived in Odenton. Their native parish was Saint-Augustin.

“He liked to share stories about the navy and his family,” said Boyle. “He was a great person and a great personality. He had a true love for the community.

According to Melissa Rafter Oak, Deacon Rafter’s second oldest child, his family will remember him as an avid reader, a golf and tennis fan, and a gifted and talented writer with a sense of humor. full of spirit.

“He loved the water and the beach,” Oak said. “Et il adorait s’asseoir dans son fauteuil inclinable et regarder Jeopardy.”

He loved his family very much and, with Father Williamson, officiated at the marriage of several of his children. He also baptized all of his 15 grandchildren.

“One of my favorite memories is of dad walking me down the aisle at my wedding and saying something funny to make me laugh,” Oak said. “What I will miss the most is his spirit and our talks. He was so smart and always knew what to say.

A funeral mass celebrated by Father Williamson took place on May 18 in St. Jane Frances.

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