CATHOLIC HERALD STAFF
You’re a proud new grandpa; what’s that been like?
We had our first grandchild in August. I’m working extremely hard to spoil her. It’s just a joy. With (COVID-19), we didn’t get to see her as much, but my daughter did a little video each day and sent it to our phones.
It’s got to be so hard not to see her.
What’s saved us is that Zoom. Every Saturday night, we all get together on the Zoom — all the kids, the in-laws — and we play these silly games, trivia games, murder mystery stuff. It’s been a blast.
If we went back to 1980 and told you that one day you’re going to be an ordained permanent deacon in the Roman Catholic Church, what would you say?
I would say that’s proof that God has a sense of humor, no doubt about that. My conversion took a while. My first experience of the Catholic faith was in high school: slept over at a buddy’s house, got up and went to his Catholic church. The first thing I remember was thinking, “You guys kneel a lot. How do you know when to go down and up and down and up?” My wife is Catholic, all of my kids were baptized and I liked the Church. I remember it was spring of 1999, I got up after a Mass and I said to my wife, “I think I want to become Catholic.”
What attracted you to the faith?
I loved the Eucharist. I loved the fact that it’s the real Body and Blood of Christ. That was a big pull. I love the saints because I’m kind of a history buff — I love the fact we can ask them to pray on our behalf. And mostly I love the history. I do believe it’s the one, true church, started by Christ, 2,000 years old.
You’re a music guy, so I want to hear who’s on your ultimate mix tape.
I’ve got three. Beethoven, because he was classical and romantic, and I love the whole backstory — he’s deaf, he can’t even hear the genius that he is. If it’s a rock band, it’s the Beatles, nobody else. For vocals, it would have to be Pavarotti.
What are you most looking forward to this summer?
We don’t know if it will happen, but we’re booked to go on an Alaskan cruise at the end of August. We shall see. It’s one of those birthday numbers that you celebrate; so that’s why we’re going on a cruise.
What made you want to take the cruise?
Two summers ago, my oldest daughter convinced my wife and I to take a two-night cruise to the Bahamas. My wife wanted no part of that big boat — “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Jaws” were all she could think about. But we convinced her the boat floats; we went on that short cruise and we just thoroughly enjoyed it. And I just thought, “I’ve met so many people who said you can’t go wrong taking an Alaskan cruise.” I talked to this one gentleman at a wedding who had been all around the world and he said an Alaskan cruise was his favorite vacation of all time.
What has been unexpected in your life as a deacon?
Where I am right now. I never thought I would be a parish director. I thought I would be a teacher for life, and here I sit at a church making sure our budget is balanced and figuring out how to do Masses at the end of May.
Do you have a favorite Scripture verse?
I have two. One tells us where our faith will take us — 1 Peter 1:6-9, how God loves you more than fire-tried gold and how if we’re a faithful people, look at what’s in store for us. The other one is John 14:1-6 — “I am the way, the truth and the life.” If we live John, that gets us to 1 Peter.
If you could get the answer to any question, what would it be?
I’d like to ask Jesus how I’m doing. “Where do I improve? I’ve got a notebook here but it’s only got 100 pages.”