What led you to become a deacon?
I found myself lost and knew that unless I made a change, things might not turn out well for me. I made a conscious decision to return to the faith I had learned as a 7-year-old at St. Francis Xavier (grade school). Not just to learn it, but to live it in everything I did. That led me to all new friends, faith-filled activities and organizations. I had incredible experiences that led me to love the Lord with all that I had and to realize just how much he loved me, how much he had always loved me. As I tried to respond as I hoped he wanted me to, my life seemed to become ever more frantic. No matter what I did, it seemed there was more to do, and I felt I was not understanding what God was asking of me. Finally, I met with my pastor, Fr. Dave Reith. He suggested the diaconate. I wish I could say I went easily but the wrestling continued until the second year of formation. At that point, I accepted that this was where God was calling me, and peace and calm replaced the franticness I previously felt.
You’re the director of continuing formation for clergy; what does that entail?
Lots of different things. I work with priests as they prepare for and schedule their sabbaticals, I help priests and deacons with special studies. I manage the continuing formation trust, which contains the money they use for sabbaticals, special studies and formation activities. I also organize a few internal workshops and presentations, among other things. It is a part-time position, which provides new challenges I have never dealt with.
What’s the most rewarding part of that assignment?
I like working to develop systems that will allow us to better serve the clergy. I am working to streamline our operations to improve the timeliness of reimbursements and to plan more and better formation sessions. I also would like to develop a feedback loop so that all deacons and priests can see what others are finding helpful.
How is that different from being an engineer?
In many ways, it is similar, in the nuts and bolts of operations. The difference is in the formational aspect — finding and programing formation activities. It is all still rather new to me.
Growing up in Green Bay, were you a huge sports fan?
Every other sport takes a distant back seat to the Packers once the football season starts. I think I might bleed green and gold. I am a Packer season ticket holder and a Marquette basketball fan. Other than that, I am a big fan of the great outdoors.
Who is your favorite saint?
St. Thèresé of Lisieux.
Books, radio, podcasts or TV?
Reading was once a passion of mine. My eyesight is not what it once was and so I am reading less than I used to. I can’t say that I have a favorite book. I do not listen to radio. I have a music service that I use to listen to music of choice. I am a big fan of praise and worship music. There are so many great songs. I love most anything that Brooke Ligertwood sings. Currently, my favorite TV show is any of the FBI franchise. I listen to many podcasts.
What is your favorite tradition of the holiday season?
Attending midnight (which it is not) Mass, having a snack afterward and waking up to the joyful chaos that is the morning, followed by a good meal with all the people I love. Yeah, that is what I love the best.
If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?
I am not a big movie fan, and I never know the names of the actors. I am always asking “who is that guy/girl?” I think my life is a blend of drama, mystery and comedy. I have no idea who would play me.
Do you participate in the “Midwest Goodbye”?
I have a terrible time leaving a gathering. Not sure why, but I am often the last to leave. It always seems awkward.
What fictional world or place would you like to visit?
Never thought about this before. Perhaps Middle Earth.