By Submitted Article on January 11, 2020.
In 1986 I had my heart set on becoming a permanent Deacon, and applied for a two-year formation through Monsignor Hawkins, located in the Diocese of Ottawa, Ont. at St. Paul’s University.
Before committing myself I consulted Bishop Paul and he encouraged me to undergo the course although the Diocese of Calgary did not have a formation program until the year 2000 under the direction of Bishop Henry. I began by taking TEAM 11, at the FCJ Centre for one year, and wrote the first exam, which was not satisfactory, but I passed the second exam, the Diaconate Perceiver test.
I think the co-ordinator at the Deanery had something to do with whether one is accepted for the formation or not. Some priests at that time were for and some were against giving me a good recommendation. When I was enrolled in TEAM 11, I used to ask questions about the program but the co-ordinator felt offended and this would reflect on whether I should continue or not. Now you can see numerous Deacons in almost every Mass assisting the priests.
I think I was meant to become involved in church work. My father was supposed to become a Roman Catholic priest before he married my mother. My oldest brother, John, was also aiming for the priesthood but in the ’30s times were tough with the great depression so he obviously could not afford it.
Lydia and I joined the choir at St. Augustine’s Church in Taber about 38 years ago and later moved to Coaldale. My involvement in church ministries included being a member of the Senior Choir, president of the Parish Council, director of church activities with the Knights of Columbus, Pastoral Care, RCIA, Bishop’s Dinner Committee, Sacristan, altar server during funerals, and lead songs during weekday Masses and on weekends, when needed. I enjoy leading the songs for the First Friday Adoration and will miss Deacon Ray, when, before closing with the last song, he used to pray four intentions – for all priests and deacons; for the governments and world peace; for St. Joseph’s School and for the people in our church and community.
Due to a major femur operation six years ago and two knee replacements, I had to slow down and commit to the lighter duties in the church. Perhaps it is a blessing that I did not complete the permanent diaconate formation because I cannot kneel. I encourage all young men to pursue the diaconate when they are in their 40s.
I like wearing my black top coat and when people see me they think I am a clergy and hold the door at the post office or smile when they meet me on the street. I have been praying the Liturgy of the Hours for about 30 years, the rosary daily, and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy with Lydia for the intentions of the sick or passed-on souls.