Give Us Shepherds

How did you discern a call to the permanent diaconate?

Just things fall into place and you say, “OK, here’s the football; we’ll run with this one now and do it.” I didn’t plan it. I wasn’t trying to do anything, but it just, all of a sudden, happened — (it was the) Holy Spirit.

What was diaconate formation like for you?

It was a whole can of worms, going back to school, taking classes. With a young family, and full-time job, it was a whole different trip that I hadn’t planned on. We jumped in, got through it and made some good friends in the process.”

Was your ordination a big adjustment for your family?

The kids were fine.  They adjusted fine with dad’s absence every other Saturday. They rolled with it, and if I had to (juggle) schedules to make it to their projects and soccer games, I did.

How were you able to still make time for your family?

During the summers, we went camping, and it was a two-hour run back and forth. We had a lot of family time together on the road that way. And I think that helped keep us together — we were all five of us together in the van with usually one or two dogs. We never thought of it, but now that we look back on it, it was quality time.

What inspired you to start making rosaries?

I was retired and then the pandemic forced everyone into lockdown. You can pray just so long and you can read just so long, and I’m not a TV person. So, I wanted to do something that would be helpful. I don’t know where the rosary idea came from anymore. I don’t remember, but all of a sudden, the idea popped up, “Why don’t I try to make a rosary?” Well, I don’t know anything about that, but I learned, and I started making rosaries. And I thought, “Well, this would be something positive while you’re at home. Things are going on that you can’t control. And this is something I can control.”

What do you do with the rosaries when you’ve finished making them?

I have given a few of them out already, not a lot, but once things get going and the pandemic is over,  I will start distributing the rosaries.  It was just something concrete I could do. Some good should come out of this pandemic.

Do you find yourself praying while you make them?

I’m praying as I make them. That is how I consider it. Sometimes, I have to dwell a little bit on something and (I wonder) why it isn’t this going together? That kind of thing. But I consider it a prayer just making them and, after a while, I’m on automatic pilot and I can meditate.

What has been the most fruitful part of your ministry?

Well, I like helping people. For example, we started out with the classes way back when, and at some point, we were supposed to do six months service somewhere else, other than our parish. I ended up at St. Joe’s hospital working up in the hospice, and I was comfortable. If the people wanted to talk on any subject, I was there to listen. Some of them couldn’t (talk), so I just prayed at their bedside. I enjoyed doing that so much.

How can we pray for you?

I’ve got a lot of people I am praying for who are not in good situations (either) physically or mentally, or job-wise or whatever. I’d say just latch onto what I am praying for. I know there are people praying for me. A couple of times that I know darn well, something couldn’t happen, but something did. Other’s prayers made it happen.  Just find some place to get the prayer started. Then (the prayers will) kind of take off by themselves and go where they should.

What has made an impression on you recently?

The book (“Conversion” by Fr. Donald Haggerty) made a heck of an impression on me. This book explains having a conversion and giving yourself completely to God. You’re saying, “Take it, take my life, my family.” You give it all to God, and that’s the conversion. You get to the point that a lot of other stuff isn’t that important any more.