Published as an insert to in the Holy Sepulcher Bulletin for August 4, 2013
1. Tell us a little about yourself…where did you grow up?
I was born in Butler and I lived one block from the hospital my entire childhood with my father, mother, and two younger sisters. I was baptized and confirmed Lutheran. I attended public school and graduated from Butler High School.
2. Where did you go to college?
I graduated from the ICM School of Business with an Associate’s Degree in Computer Management, Point Park College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business (Summa Cum Laude), and Duquesne University with a Master of Business Administration (High Honors).
3. What do you do for a living? Where do you work?
I am a computer programmer. I recently returned to my previous employer of thirteen years, Ebix Health in RobinsonTownship, after spending the past four years at PNC Bank.
4. Tell us about your wife. How long have you been married?
My wife Karen grew up in West Deer with her father, mother, and younger sister. She was raised Catholic at Transfiguration Parish in Russellton. She graduated from Deer Lakes High School, Robert Morris College, and Duquesne University. Karen works as a paralegal at a law firm in the North Hills. We were married twelve years ago and never had children. We have two Papillion dogs named Stanley and Heidi.
5. When did you feel called to the Diaconate?
My calling to the Diaconate was a very gradual process of discerning God’s will over many years. It probably had its earliest beginnings when I entered the Church through the RCIA program. Over time I grew in my relationship with God and realized that I was being called to do something with my growing faith. I began to discern that the diaconate was my calling, but when the bishop called for a class of deacons in 2006, I was not selected. But God was not saying “no”, he was saying “not yet”. I was selected in 2008 for the Class of 2013.
6. What did your training entail? How long was it?
My training took five years. There were courses in Scripture, theology, liturgy, homiletics, sacraments, etc.; workshops on various ministry topics; completion of a yearly formation plan on human, spiritual, pastoral, and intellectual development; retreats and days of recollection; and summer pastoral experiences that for me included assignments at St. Catherine of Sweden Parish, Allegheny County Jail, Vincentian de Marillac Home, and UPMC Mercy Hospital.
7. When were you ordained a deacon?
I was ordained on June 15, 2013.
8. What is the ministry of a deacon in the Catholic Church?
“Deacon” comes from the Greek word “diakonos”, meaning servant. A deacon is ordained to be a model of Christ the Servant, who “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45) and is called in a very special way to spread and live the Good News. Each deacon is given two assignments, one that is liturgical (known as the ministry of word and sacrament) and one of service (known as the ministry of charity and justice). Normally a deacon is assigned to a parish (liturgical) and an institution like a hospital, prison, or home (service). The bishop felt that the Church would be better served if I did my entire ministry at the parish, so my liturgical and service ministries are both at Holy Sepulcher, a blessing for me, the parish, and Father John.
9. Do deacons receive a salary from the parish?
People are often surprised to learn that deacons receive absolutely no monetary compensation for their ministry, nothing from the diocese, the parish, or any institution that they may be assigned. That is why deacons often have full time employment in a secular occupation, despite the requirement that they devote at least ten hours a week to ministry. Deacons are people that have given large amounts of their time to the Church and their community as a volunteer and this same spirit of free service continues with ordination. In this way deacons are models for the faithful. For deacons our calling is about giving, not receiving, although we receive much more from our ministry than we ever put into it – grace, peace, love, joy, and many other blessings.
10. What are you most looking forward to as a deacon?
I most look forward to helping the faithful encounter God through the sacraments.
11. What was your reaction when you learned that you were assigned to Holy Sepulcher Parish?
I was very excited to be given a completely brand new opportunity, but I quickly realized that I knew nothing about the parish, the pastor, or the people that I was about to minister. But I have been so blessed that the Lord has called me to such a wonderful parish with such good people.
12. Do you have any favorite saints and/or quotes from Scripture?
I have a devotion to a great many saints, especially the deacon saints Stephen, Francis, Lawrence, and Ephrem. I also have a special devotion Our Lady of Lourdes because an Our Lady of Lourdes rosary led me to join the Church. My favorite Scripture verse is spelled out on my vanity license plate on my car (1JOHN4:7) – “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.” Many years ago my grandmother gave me a plaque with my name and that verse on it (David means “beloved”).