Have you ever looked around your church, and wondered about the people serving various roles? When discussing vocations, have you ever thought, “How did that person come to know God’s path for them?”
For the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you some of the things I’ve learned by simply taking the time to talk to people in my own parish, as well as some of the ones I visit.
We are incredibly blessed at St Francis Xavier to have a wonderful deacon. Gerry Mattingly was kind enough to answer my questions about his discernment and role in our Church.
Gerry’s path to becoming a deacon began over twenty years ago, after the seed was planted by a deacon at his former parish. After retirement, much prayer and discussion with his wife, Gerry applied to become a deacon in Fall 2001. At that time, the Archdiocese of Louisville’s program was 4 years long. Currently, it is a five year program, with four years of training conducted by the instructors from the beautiful Saint Meinrad Seminary.
Did you know these things?
- A deacon candidate’s wife must sign a letter granting her husband permission to be ordained a deacon.
- If a deacon’s wife dies, if a deacon wishes to maintain his faculties as Deacon, he will remain celibate, as do our priests.
- Deacons are required to spend at least 10 hours per week serving in their parish, but according to Canon Law, they cannot be paid for ministries relating to the diaconate. Deacons are expected to have a seperate source of income to support themselves and their families. You may find some deacons holding positions such as business manager, or parish administrators – roles that are seperate from their ministry.
We’re all familiar with a priest’s clerical attire, as well as a nun’s habit, but I wondered how deacons share their position with the general public. After talkng with Deacon Gerry, I learned that when visiting hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, or performing funerals in funeral homes, you will find deacons wearing a Roman collar, with a blue or grey clerical shirt. “Priests represent Christ the Priest in their ministry, and we deacons represent Christ the Servent”
He had this to say about preparing for a homily:
I usually start preparing a homily two weeks before my preaching weekend. I will read the Sunday readings several time before the week I am going to preach. I will try to think of some unusual twist in the gospel or readings that people may have not heard before. I try to always relate my homily to what’s happening in the world and to give the congregation something that they can apply in their daily lives. I always pray for the Holy Spirit’s presence and guidance during the preparation of the homily and before I preach it. I preach one weekend a month. The Internet is a wonderful resource for preparing a homily. The rule of thumb for homily preparation is an hour of preparation for every minute of preaching which usually runs true to form..
When he is not preparing for a homily, baptizing a baby, helping a couple with marriage preparation, administering the Eucharist, or assisting a grieving family, Deacon Gerry is a full time blogger. His passion for blogging was inspired by a talk at Xavier University by Deacon Greg Kandra on Evangelization in the Digital Age. He is now responsible for his own personal blog,Deacon Gerry,as well as parish blogs for St Francis Xavier and All Saints. He passes on information to parishoners, as well as stories of inspiration for all.
I never dreamed the positive response that I have received from parishioners and others about the blogs. I also never dreamed that people from all over the world would visit the blogs. Blogging has definitely became a passion of mine.
For Saints and Scripture Sunday, I asked Deacon Gerry to share with us his favorite saint. His answer? St Henry.
He was born into royalty, and even after becoming Emperor of Bavaria, never flaunted his position of power and influence. Instead, he gave all glory to God. He and his wife, Cunigunde were deeply spiritual, while being a part of the world. St Henry’s feast day, July 13th, also happens to be Deacon Gerry’s birthday!
Take the time to thank your deacon for his service, and be sure to keep him in your prayers. Be sure and stop over at Deacon Gerry’s site today, and thank him for his interview. If you’re contemplating a call to the diaconate, ask your deacon for his thoughts, advice, and prayers. Have more questions for Deacon Gerry? Be sure and leave a comment, and if we have enough, I can do a follow up post.
Have a marvelous week!