The journey to the diaconate began in 1983 as Darlene and I began attending classes. Our first class was a scripture class. During the seven years, we took classes at various locations across the Superior diocese. We took a variety of classes on Scripture, Ecclesiology, Pastoral theology, Christology, and Christian Life. We went on retreats and did a lot of reading. During this time the diaconate went through some changes in program formation, classes were redesigned, a new director was hired, and other changes were implemented. The changes took time and this meant that the group of men that I was with ended up having to be in the program for seven years rather than the anticipated five. After seven years of study I was ordained a deacon on June 15, 1990.

Many people want to know what a deacon can do. Deacons can officiate at solemn baptisms, function ad deacon at mass, administer Holy Communion at Mass and to take Holy Communion to the sick, can function as then celebrant of Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, can preside at communion services, can witness marriages, can preside at wake services, can preach at Mass, and can administer blessings and sacramentals expressly conceded to the deacon by rite or law. A deacon can give blessings which are part of the liturgical celebration at which he presides, including marriage, baptism, Holy communion and Viaticum outside Mass, Morning and Evening prayer, and non-sacramental penance services. In addition to the liturgical functions there is a list of at least 22 blessings that can be given by a deacon. Some examples would include, the blessing with the Holy Eucharist at benediction, the blessing of a family, the annual blessing of families in their homes, the blessing of children, the blessing of a new home, the blessing of Holy Water outside Mass, the blessing of objects of devotion, including rosaries, medals and crosses, and other blessings as specified by cannon law.

Probably my favorite church activity over the past years is the teaching of confirmation classes. It is always rewarding to watch students as their faith grows. Our confirmation students have a lot of questions about the Catholic faith. They want to know why we believe as we do. They want answers that will enable them to be able to live out their Catholic identity in this community. Being with the confirmation students has been rewarding for me, for you see, my faith grows as I am forced to provide answers for their questions, my faith grows when I see them developing a closer relationship with Jesus, my faith grows as I watch them develop habits of prayer, and my faith grows as I watch them mature as Catholics.

I also enjoy doing the marriage preparation work for the two parishes. Helping couples prepare for the marriages is both challenging and rewarding.

Another aspect of the diaconate that I have enjoyed is to witness marriages. Most of the marriages that I have witnessed have been former students. Since many of the students have moved, I have often performed the marriages in other parishes. This has enabled me to work under a variety of different situations. This has always been an exciting experience for me.

For me, being a deacon is part of my relationship with GOD. I have felt God’s call on my life and the diaconate has been part of living out that call. My wife, Darlene, has been tremendously supportive of my involvement in the program. She has attended all of the classes with me (and sometimes knows more than I do). Our children have been supportive of my activities which has made it easier to become involved. The parish communities have also been very supportive of me in my role as deacon, for this I am extremely grateful. To those who want to serve God and the church in an ordained role and who at the same time, want to have the joy of living the married life, I highly recommend diaconate.