Our years of formation for the diaconate are focused on four dimensions, or pillars, of focus and growth, which weave together to help us integrate them into our whole selves: Academic (our monthly coursework in various areas of faith, theology, and Scripture), Human (our continued growth in our human lives and relationships and integrated responsibilities), Spiritual (our growth in our spiritual and prayer lives), and Pastoral. The Pastoral dimension is supported by assignments within parishes to get comfortable in various aspects of ministry, help in specific areas, and “grow into” the practice of ministry.
It’s bittersweet to share that after two years at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alton for pastoral formation, I’m moving to a new assignment at Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church at home in Granite City for my final year of diaconate formation, starting August 1.
I will miss the wonderful, faith-filled people of St. Mary’s, especially the community of Oblate priests & brothers, Deacon Jim, my fellow PSR catechists, Dennis & his wonderful music, and the many, many awesome families. I’ll be forever indebted to my pastor-supervisor Father Jeremy, to Fathers Ben, Paul, Dave, and John, and Brothers Leland and Jay-Ar, for the opportunities I’ve had to learn and grow – from helping lead the PSR program & teaching 7th grade, to assisting at baptisms and marriages, to occasionally helping with RCIA, to scheduling and communicating with those in the various liturgical ministries, to occasional visits to take Communion to the home-bound, and so much more.
I’m excited, though, to return to service in my hometown, in the parish in which I was baptized and began my Christian journey. I know the people of St. Elizabeth so well… I grew up with many of them, and call many of them friends and neighbors. I’ve worked side-by-side with many of them in starting the Koinonia retreat community in town, and in many other joint efforts between them and my family’s home parish.
I don’t start until August 1, but am already grateful for the time I’ve spent with my new pastor-supervisor Father Alfred, understanding the areas in which I’ll be able to help – helping to lead RCIA and PSR, helping with Baptism preparation, forming a bereavement ministry to help with funeral planning and families’ journey of grief, and helping to build up a crew of junior sacristans and recruit and train a new generation of altar servers. I’m so thankful to have such an opportunity 5 minutes from home for this last year of my formation!
Please continue to pray for my brother candidates and me as we continue this journey of discernment and formation, for our families, and for the people of the parishes in which we’re blessed to serve.