Meet your 8 new deacons: Next ordination will be 2015

| September 23, 2010 | 2 Comments

James Bauhs

Margene and James

Age: 51
Spouse: Margene
Children: Jillian, 27; Cameron, 24
Home parish: St. Hubert, Chanhassen
Occupation: IT security manager with Cargill in Minnetonka
Internships: St. Anthony Residence, St. Paul; St. Therese Hospice, New Hope; Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility, Plymouth; St. Paul’s Outreach to young adults
Hobbies: Motorcycle trips, photography, nature walks, CPR/AED Red Cross instructor
Favorite Scripture verse: John 3:30 and Matthew 15:28b-29a
Favorite books: “Be A Man! — Becoming the man God created you to be” by Father Larry Richards and “Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

For approximately five years I had silently contemplated on one statement and one question: “To those whom much is given, much is expected” and “Is God calling me to do more?” While on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2005, I felt the direct call of God on the shore of the Sea of Galilee; “Lord if that is you, bid me to come. Come!” I first shared this with Margene the next day, and while neither of us knew what this truly meant, we trusted God. Our journey of discernment and formation has affirmed and strengthened that trust. We have experienced the reality that, when following God’s will, barriers and obstacles are removed and we are strengthened, encouraged and filled with peace to continue the journey.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

The forming of the deepest fraternal relationships with my candidate brothers.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?
God gifts each person with talents that can, and should, be used for the betterment of his church. I will happily serve wherever the archbishop decides.

Kevin Downie

Linda and Kevin

Age: 54
Spouse: Linda
Children: Heidi, 31; Michael, 29; Brian, 29
Home parish: St. Michael, Pine Island
Occupation: Collision center manager, Jeff Belzer’s Chev-Dodge-Kia in Lakeville
Internships: Ramsey County Social Service Center and Ramsey County Adult Detention Center; St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Paul; consolation ministry with The Catholic Cemeteries
Hobbies: Farming, hunting, fishing, building customized cribbage boards and pegs
Favorite Scripture verse: Jeremiah 1:8
Favorite books: “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade and “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by Hannah Hurnard

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

I had an inner message (out of the blue) to discern the diaconate while driving to work one morning. Not quite knowing anything about the diaconate, I put it kind of to a test, praying that if this were real, please give me an outward more specific sign than just my thoughts.

A couple of days later while playing cribbage with a friend of ours over for dinner — then seminarian, now Father — Stephen Hoffman, out of the blue, relayed that my name had come up in the recent “Called by God” program, that I should consider becoming a deacon. That was the start.

God had answered my test. I would now answer his call, at least to discern it. That was five years ago. Here I am still being called.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

Saturday morning Mass in the chapel was and is a memorable part of the formation.

Learning to pray and then praying the Liturgy of the Hours leads to and opens up everything.

The internships along the way and their accompanying classes were awesome. The level of instruction and the instructors are truly top notch.

The drives in the snowstorms during the four-plus years to and from Pine Island were sometimes both significant and memorable.  Sometimes miraculous!

The relationships that have been forged with my classmates.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

I am just looking forward to see what needs God will ask me to fill and where that will be. . . . Getting a 29-point hand in cribbage someday would be nice. To deal my dad one would be even better!

Michael Nevin

Karen and Michael

Age: 41
Spouse: Karen
Children: Trevor, 16; Trenton, 13
Home parish: St. Michael, St. Michael
Occupation: Sales manager with Menards
Internships: Dorothy Day Center, St. Paul; St. Therese, New Hope; Hennepin County Workhouse, Plymouth
Hobbies: Following local sports teams, hunting, fishing, Russian literature and Western European history
Favorite Scripture verse: Song of Songs 1:2b
Favorite books: “Confessions of St. Augustine” and “The Fulfillment of All Desire” by Ralph Martin

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

I had a reawakening of my baptismal faith during my wife’s cancer treatment eight years ago. This allowed me to hear God’s call to be a better servant to my wife and family, but, also, to give myself fully to the church as a deacon.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

We were allowed the opportunity to serve the archbishop as acolytes for confirmation Masses.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

In whatever I am assigned to do, I hope to make God’s love known, especially to people who have never experienced him. I would like to continue studying holy Scripture and patristics.

Thomas Michaud Jr.

Theresa and Thomas

Age: 38
Spouse:
Theresa
Children:
Anna, 10; Jack, 8; Mary, 6; Elizabeth, 3; Joseph, 2 months
Home parish:
St. Nicholas, New Market
Occupation:
Owner of TPM Flooring, Inc.
Internships:
St. Joseph’s Home for Children, Minneapolis; St. Therese Hospice, New Hope; Minnesota [women’s] Correctional Facility, Shakopee; parish RCIA and Marriage Mentor programs
Hobbies:
Boating with the family
Favorite Scripture verse:
Matthew 18:20
Favorite books: “Pierced by a Sword” by Bud Macfarlane Jr., Mother Teresa’s biography and whatever book my kids ask me to read to them.

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

When I first thought I was being called to be a deacon, I remember thinking, “No, that is my dad’s vocation, not mine.” (My dad was ordained a deacon in 1989.) The fact that I had young children, three under the age of 7 at the time (my wife and I have had two more children during formation), was another reason I felt this wasn’t my calling. But the thought of serving the church as a deacon continued. So, I read everything I could find about what a deacon is and the role of the deacon in our Catholic faith. The more I read, the more I felt that this is what God was calling me to be. After about a year of praying and research, I mentioned to my wife, Terry, that I believed I was being called to be a deacon. Terry said, “I was wondering when you were going to talk to me about this.” So, Terry and I attended the informational meetings in 2005.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

We had two children during formation — that was significant and memorable. The spiritual direction was phenomenal. Both my spiritual directors were named bishops — Bishop Lee Piché and Bishop Paul Sirba.

My prayer life grew by leaps and bounds. I didn’t know prayer could be like that.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

I hope to continue serving at the women’s prison in Shakopee, and I hope that wherever I am assigned to serve, that I do it well.

Also of interest:
My dad Thomas Michaud was ordained a deacon in 1989 and my cousin John Wallin was ordained a deacon in 2006.

Lawrence Lawinger

JoAnne and Lawrence

Age: 51
Spouse: JoAnn
Children: Ryan, 31; Jeremy, 29; Jason, 27; Brad, 25; Cody, 22
Home parish: St. Vincent de Paul, Brooklyn Park
Occupation: Computer consultant, owner, Lawinger Consulting, Inc.
Internships: Dorothy Day Center, St. Paul; St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Paul; Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility, Plymouth; parish employment network
Hobbies: Time with grandchildren at the cabin, fishing
Favorite Scripture verse: Romans: 8:1-4
Favorite books: “Deep Conversion Deep Prayer” by Marist Father Thomas Dubay and “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

We started to look at the diaconate eight years ago and I thought it wasn’t for me. But, five years ago during perpetual adoration, I was moved to look at it again. I found myself being called. Deacon Sherman Otto walked me through this as well.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

Working at Hennepin County Adult Corrections Facility, after spending weeks there, finally seeing those “tough” men open up about why they felt their life had led them to where they were and breaking down in front of the others.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

JoAnn and I have spent time working with orphanages in Latin America and hope to do similar work in the future.

Also of interest: God created man and woman, but through formation I really learned how beautiful and diverse his creations are. All of life’s experiences bring this out if we just look around and take notice.

Ron Smisek

Mary and Ron

Age: 55
Spouse: Mary
Children: Maria, 23; John, 20; Michael, 15; Ann, 12
Home parish: St. John of St. Paul, St. Paul
Occupation: Dentist at Smisek Family Dentistry; adjunct professor of radiology with U of M School of Dentistry
Internships: St. Joseph’s Home for Children, Minneapolis; St. Therese, New Hope; Volunteers of America Regional Correctional Center, Roseville; bringing a taped Mass to Presbyterian Homes
Hobbies: Movies, photography, reading, history, gardening, carpentry, astronomy, music, including serving as director of the Gregorian Chant Schola and organist at both St. John and Holy Trinity in St. Paul
Favorite Scripture verse: Luke 23:39-43 and Psalm 63
Favorite books: “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “Fire Within” by Marist Father Thomas Dubay

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

Since my childhood, I have always had a closeness to the church. I have been involved with church music and liturgical events on the parish level for over 30 years. However, I felt drawn to serve God and the church in an even greater way. It was in the diaconate that I hoped to achieve this. When I first expressed this interest, over 10 years ago, I was told that my children were too young and to wait. This was no longer a problem when I researched the program again about six years ago.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

I was not able to study my Catholic faith at a college level at the University of Minnesota pre-dental program. It was exciting and humbling to learn more about this in the many courses that we took in the diaconate program. . . . I was honored to be part of a wonderful, devoted group of men.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

I would like to work with the aged population, as this group of people is so very special. It would also be wonderful to continue, in some way, my ministry of church music. I want to continue to learn in the areas of theology and canon law. Also, I would like to gain more experience in working with the sick and dying.

John Vomastek

Cathy and John

Age: 55
Spouse: Cathy
Children: Andrew, 29; Anne, 27; Mary, 25; Nick, 24; Emily, 21; Rachel, 18
Home parish: St. Ambrose, Woodbury
Occupation: Police commander with St. Paul Police Department
Internships: Mary Hall men’s shelter, St. Paul; HealthEast Woodwinds Hospital, Woodbury; Ramsey County Adult Detention Center, long-term grief ministry
Hobbies: Volunteer at Woodbury Health Care Center
Favorite Scripture verse: Luke 18:35-43
Favorite books: “The Gift of Faith” by Tadeusz Dajczer and “The Hermitage Within” by an anonymous monk

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

[The late] Deacon Dick Barrett had spoken to me once about becoming a deacon when we worked together at the police department. I started thinking about it then.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

I will always remember the beautiful and reverent Masses at the St. Paul Seminary on Saturday mornings.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will go wherever I am called to serve. I simply want to be open to God’s will. In post-ordination formation, I want to pursue more Scripture study. These last four years have simply been beautiful. I am very thankful for God’s grace, his love and mercy during formation.

Joseph Michalak Jr.

Anne and Joseph

Age: 50
Spouse: Anne
Children: William (deceased); Andrew, 12; Katie, 11; Lizzie, 6; Maggie, 2
Home parish: St. Louis, King of France, St. Paul
Occupation: Archdiocesan diaconate formation director; adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul Seminary, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute and for other dioceses’ diaconate formation programs through the National Association of Diaconate Directors
Internships: St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Paul; Volunteers of America Regional Correctional Center,  Roseville
Hobbies: Children’s education, home remodeling, hiking in the Scottish highlands, Pittsburgh Steelers football fan and Notting Hill Books, a used- and rare-book business
Favorite Scripture verse: Psalm 63:1
Favorite books: Anything by philosopher Josef Pieper and any adventure story by John Buchan

Tell us something about your call to become a deacon.

Although I had considered diaconate soon after completing a degree in theology and working in several parishes, it was only after Archbishop Harry Flynn had asked me to be director of diaconate formation that I was directly exposed to the vocation. Later, both my wife Anne and Deacon James Keating (of the Institute for Priestly Formation in Omaha, Neb.) helped me realize that, for years, I had in many ways already been living the vocation through evangelistic, pastoral and teaching service in the church. But, ordination is now both enthralling and frightening at once.

What was the most significant or memorable part of your diaconate formation?

Enjoying and benefiting from the fraternal relationships of the men in formation, while, at the same time, being director of formation. I am grateful for their generosity.

What aspect of ministry are you most looking forward to and why?

Other than to family and prayer and whatever parish life presents, my chief service just now is seeing to the establishment of the new Institute for Diaconate Formation at the St. Paul Seminary and helping other men — especially young men — discern this vocation. As for formation, that never ends.

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Category: Deacons, Spotlight