I joined the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 1999 after going through RCIA in Ohio. I distinctly remember Deacon Tom, who taught the RCIA classes, say something that stuck with me for 13 years now. He said that if we really enjoyed learning about the Catholic faith, we needed to make sure to pay it back someday. He was encouraging us to keep learning about Catholicism and help others do the same after the Easter Vigil. He told us not to become “luke warm” Catholics but to volunteer and get involved. Deacon Tom was the first one to plant a seed that would eventually lead me to becoming a Catholic Deacon 13 years later.
Shortly after that Easter Vigil, Angie and I moved off to Iowa for a few years to attend college. We got busy with school, work and the birth of two of our boys. Church was not a high priority on the list because life was too busy. We didn’t get very involved in our local church because we knew we’d only be there a few years. We had our struggles in Iowa as well. The cost of Chiropractic College, being newly married and then being young parents can really put a toll on a young couple.
After moving to Kentucky from Iowa, we started attending St. Andrew’s. It was here that more seeds were planted. Fr. Joe was the first priest I got to know on a personal level. He encouraged me to help teach the high school formation class. When a new pre-marriage program was starting at the diocese, Fr. Joe suggested Angie and I to become trained instructors. It was at St. Andrew’s that I became an extraordinary minister of holy communion and a lector. Angie and I felt at home here and really enjoyed getting involved in the parish. The problem was that with each thing I volunteered to do, I felt called to do more. It was then that Deacon Abbey mentioned something to me about becoming a Deacon. I immediately blew him off. Apparently the Holy Spirit was working in me because I kept coming back to that word…Deacon. Who am I to be a Deacon?!?! So I asked a few people in the parish that I highly respected what they thought about me becoming a Deacon. Each one of them encouraged me to pursue it. More seeds.
I often wondered why I struggled so much early in my Catholic journey. The only answer that made sense was that it was leading me to June 2, 2012. That is the day I will be (God-willing) ordained a permanent deacon. Even as I write that line, I am filled with emotion that I cannot describe. I’m not big into public confessions but just know I’ve had my share of struggles in the years following that Easter Vigil in 1999. I truly believe that God allowed me to go through that journey so that I would one day be able to help others through similar struggles. Deacons are ordained to serve the Church by serving others. I am truly humbled by the opportunity God has put in my life to serve His Church as a deacon. It would not have occurred though without the many seeds that were planted by others. That is why I encourage each and every one of you to plant seeds. If you think someone would make a good priest, deacon, monk, nun, etc. don’t be afraid to tell them! You never know what kind of fruit the seed you plant may bring.
Please continue to pray with and for me and for the other 22 men being ordained as deacons on June 2, 2012 at the Cathedral of Christ the King during the 10:30am Mass. Consider this your invitation from me to attend! It is truly an awesome sight to see all of the clergy in our diocese come together with the Bishop for such a celebration. I especially encourage you to attend if you have ever considered holy orders a possibility in your future! I look forward to serving the St. Andrew’s community for many years to come.