You started in the position of director of administration at the beginning of this year — how is the new job going?
It’s probably an analogy I’ve overused, but it’s like drinking water from a firehose — in a good way. When you work in the Church, you get to see how things get done behind the scenes, kind of like seeing how the sausage is made. You have to be ready for that. I’ve been fortunate that I haven’t seen any strange things, but it’s still interesting to see how everything comes together.
What is something you’ve learned while working for the Church?
Being in this role, you really come to appreciate the people who are involved behind the scenes who do so many things to “be Church.” There are so many people working both in the school and in the Church, and a lot of volunteers — good, passionate people. Nobody gets rich serving the Church. They do this because it’s their passion.
And how do you see your own role within that paradigm?
If it’s done right, a role like this, an administrative role, is about understanding how everything works and then facilitating the process so people can live out their mission — so they can do the will of God.
Is there anything that has surprised you about the work?
What’s surprising are all the moving pieces that need to come together. You kind of know, but until you’re in the middle of it, you really don’t have that full appreciation.
You’re celebrating 10 years as a permanent deacon this year. What made you take the call to the diaconate seriously?
It was my wife, Jenny. Dcn. Dick Govek was the one who tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had ever thought of being a deacon. I said I had too much going on and that I needed to think about it. I mentioned it to Jenny and thought for sure she would say all those same things: “You’ve got so much going on, you don’t have time for that.” But she didn’t. She said, “I could see you doing that.” That was the sign from the Holy Spirit — OK, maybe this is a calling.
What are your hobbies?
I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies right now, but I used to brew beer. I gave all my equipment to my son, but he and I did get together a few months ago to brew a batch, which was fun.
What’s your favorite kind of beer?
I like the darker, barrel-aged beers — the stouts and porters. I also like Belgian styles of beer. I would love to find a brewing retreat at a Trappist monastery.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?
I think our two favorite places are Assisi and Ireland. Going to Assisi was just like going back in time. You feel the spiritual energy there; things move more slowly. And Ireland was impressive from a lot of different aspects — western Ireland, and the smaller community life you get to experience for a day or two, but also visiting Northern Ireland, which was very powerful, seeing the places and hearing the stories from “The Troubles,” and seeing the walls still standing that were built to separate the Catholics and the Protestants.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
I can’t say that one person in particular has said this to me and it’s stuck in my mind, but enough people have said similar things: Always be kind to people, because you never know when your paths are going to cross again. Another good piece of advice is to lead with curiosity. Try to find out why somebody is reacting or responding in a certain way. You can’t always take someone’s actions at face value.