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HomeLocalConformed to Christ as servants: Meet the Archdiocese of Denver’s newest deacons

Conformed to Christ as servants: Meet the Archdiocese of Denver’s newest deacons

On June 26, 19 men answered the call to serve the people of God as permanent deacons for the Church in the Archdiocese of Denver’s largest permanent diaconate ordination since 1978. Get to know the archdiocese’s newest deacons and which parishes and ministries they’ll be assigned to. 

Deacon Greg Trudel 
Assigned to St. John XXIII in Fort Collins and St. Monica Healing Ministry 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The formation process for the diaconate was challenging, wonderful, emotional, stressful and incredibly blessed.  The most valuable thing that I learned was prayer.  Prayer is our conversation with God and, like any other conversation with a dear friend, it can come in many different forms and in an infinite number of situations.  Our formation team provided us with a solid spiritual foundation that will help us — and those that we minister to — to remain close to God throughout out our challenges and trials and to put our trust and faith in Him.   

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

There are so many things to look forward to that it’s tough to narrow it down to one or two items. I look forward to serving at Mass, ministering to the parish and those around me, beginning my diocesan ministry, working closely with our priests and other deacons in my area, and on and on. God has been so generous to me and I look forward to serving as he will have me. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

It did. The pandemic changed the way we had to go about things, and it heightened our attention to emerging needs of our brothers and sisters all around us.  We were forced to look for different ways to share God’s love and to be prayerful and tenacious instruments of his mercy. While a tough and challenging trial to face, the pandemic created new opportunities to love and to share acts of charity. I pray that we can lean on the experiences of recent times to help us to love in service as we encounter the trials that are sure to come. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

God is great.  His initial call to me was a whisper that turned into a loving and gentle tug.  He let me know in a way that I could understand that the diaconate was his plan for me.  I put my trust in him and he has blessed me so abundantly.  God’s grace through the formation process has made me a far better man that I was before.  I have grown in prayer, trust, and humility and he has opened my heart so that I can love more. 

Deacon Jesse Taitano 
Assigned to Light of the World in Littleton and Retirement Homes Ministry 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The importance of prayer in order to grow in relationship with God, to help persevere in difficult times, and to listen for God’s will in your life. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I’m looking forward to serving God’s people as Christ the Servant and I am looking forward to my first baptism, that of my first grandchild. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic helped me realize the importance of family, friends, and community. We were forced to be separated for a time during the lockdown and even after, masks and social distancing kept us separated. It was also a time of cultural unrest which further caused divisions. It helped me to realize the importance of being a source of unity rather than division, and to seek the good and seek to see Christ in others. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

It was more of a nudge, a clue. I attended a Mass in which I saw the deacon assisting the Bishop where I sensed a call but wasn’t sure what it was. That evening, there was a Eucharistic procession with the monstrance and the priest stopped before my wife and I and felt a stronger sense of a calling but still without knowing what. The next morning there was a call for vocations for high schoolers that were attending the retreat and that’s when I realized that it could be a calling to the diaconate. This started my discernment journey which has taken 10 years to come to completion. 

 
Deacon Joseph Nowak 
Assigned to Spirit of Christ in Arvada and Veteran’s Ministry 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The God of All Creation, the Lord of the Universe, the Triune reality of God, loves me with a passion I cannot possibly estimate which had Christ die for me on the Cross to save me; and we enter that love more deeply in the Scriptures, in the sacraments, and in prayer. The grace of God and the formation program’s spiritual development program, with its heavy-duty emphasis on prayer, spiritual reading, the Liturgy of the Hours, Scripture study and more prayer, led me to this — so much so, prayer has gone from something you do to something you desire ardently.  

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

Bringing Christ to others with the mark of Holy Orders, which will take the graces of baptism and super-charge them. (None of our classes, none of our reading in the Church Fathers, and nowhere in the Catechism can you find the word “super-charge,” but the intent is there.) 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic exposed the gnawing hunger our people have for Christ, for his sacraments, and for His Word. The secular culture, our public institutions, and recent social upheavals have catalyzed a need for Christ in many hearts. So many things have fallen away during the pandemic: the permanence and solidity of comforts, fitness, status, education, and access to services. The Church kept the light on for people, but many can’t seem to find us. As deacons, our mission in the image of Christ the Servant means we need to get out, hit the street and proclaim that Christ never left his people, abides with his people, and he will never leave his people. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

It was a persistent whisper which rose to a roar! My wife, Debbie, and I had spoken of the diaconate from the time I left the Navy in 1988, but for almost 30 years, I needed to focus on my vocation as husband and father. In 2017, we discussed it again for the first time in seven years and, to my surprise, my wife encouraged me to apply. Her support validated the idea, so I applied and — grace of God! — the St. Francis School of Theology for Deacons accepted me. Many times over the four years since, I’ve thought I could simply walk away, but, each time, Debbie would look at me and say, “It’s not what do you want, but what does Christ want you to do?” The call persisted, my wife’s support persisted, and by God’s grace and the prayers of many good people, I persisted! 

 
Deacon John Ton 
Assigned to Queen of Peace in Aurora and Samaritan House 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

One of the most valuable things I learned in formation was to trust God.  This is not always an easy thing to do, but it is what God asks of us.  It is the key, and proper response, to his mercy. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I am looking forward to serving the people of God and experiencing his work in the lives of those I encounter. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic and all of the social unrest of this last year of formation really became a focal point of my reflections. It is hard not to see the increase in the pain and suffering in all people, and the additional stress it has placed on our lives. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

God’s call to me was definitely more of a whisper. I have never had a ‘burning bush’ experience, but I have always had a desire to help and serve others.  When my wife was asked how I was called, she responded, “Oh, his ‘call’ was a letter from our pastor inviting us to dinner to explore interest in the diaconate.” 

Deacon Mike Seback 
Assigned to St. Mary in Littleton and Divorce Ministry 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate?  

Constantly seek humility, to always become less in life, so Christ can become more. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to?  

Serving God’s people in all the different ways and forms I will be called through the rest of my life. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation?  

I reflected more on how God is present with us in every moment, no matter what, he is here with us through all struggles. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why?  

I heard the whisper of God calling me to the diaconate through quiet prayer, simple words of family and friends and subtle signs of the Holy Spirit. 

Deacon Richard Milinazzo 
Assigned to St. John Paul II in Thornton and Fallen Away Catholics Apostolate 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

I learned that God is more loving than I could have ever imagined. When one stops to think about how sinful we are, yet God still loves us and waits patiently for us to hear his call, we should do as our Blessed Mother did and do his will. He gives us the gift of life, moment by moment, simply because he loves us. He never gives up on us and is always at work through his Son Jesus to bring us into union with him. I learned that I didn’t know how to love until I learned how much God loves me. I learned that with God first in my life, I can love more deeply and become the person he created me to be.  

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I look forward to meeting people where they are in their faith journey and learning from them. I want to be able to learn as much as I teach about the gift of eternal life and God’s enormous love for us. I want to give back what my Lord has given to me with the love he has given me. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

Yes, especially in the beginning months when everything was shut down and we had to stay in quarantine. The total and complete reliance on God was an even greater wakeup call to me. Truly, I had to put my complete trust in God for food, shelter, and family. God was revealing himself to me more clearly than I had ever seen before. I realized how small and insignificant I was, and that God was in complete control. This was a total blessing. God is constantly reaching out to us no matter the situation. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

I believe God has been calling me all my life by gently guiding me to him. But unfortunately, I didn’t listen or pay attention to his calling. So, I would say a whisper in the beginning and throughout most of my life. He knows how easily frightened I become when he gets close to me, so he patiently led me toward him so that I would see that all he wanted was for me to know him. He is now telling me to follow him and serve his Church. Still whispering, but now I’m trying my best to listen closely. 

Deacon Wayne Lauer 
Assigned to Our Lady of Loreto in Foxfield and Catholic Charities’ Respect Life Team 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

How to grow in holiness by increasing my spirituality and faith in the Catholic Church. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

Being able to serve the Catholic community with the sacraments of baptism, marriage and funerals. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

Yes.  Due to self-isolating from others during my final year of formation, I was able to spend more time in intimate prayer with our Lord Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

A whisper. I never had that immediate conversion like St. Paul or St. Augustine. My conversion was more gradual. As a cradle Catholic, I considered the priesthood at a very early age when I left the family home and attended Crosier Seminary, a boarding prep school in Onamia, Minnesota, at the age of 14.  I continued to serve the Catholic Church in various capacities throughout my lifetime until finally entering into the diaconate.  

Deacon Dan McConville 
Assigned to St. Louis in Louisville and Prison Ministry 

What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

There were so many important and valuable elements in our formation, but learning more about prayer and developing a richer, deeper prayer life has been foundational. Prayer is essential for all of us in our spiritual growth.  

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I am looking forward to bringing our missionary Church into the daily lives of people. I hope we can help remind people that our Lord is with them always, and our Church is with them always. Especially in these times of struggle, there are many people we can help by sharing the Gospel message.  

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic reminded us that Christ Jesus is present for us in Sacred Scripture, in the sacraments, and in our Church community.  The unique circumstances made so many of us acutely aware of the need for Jesus in our lives. We found ourselves longing for him in new ways.  

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

For me, God’s call was a gentle, patient and persistent voice over many years. It always seemed to me that the timing was not right, so I kept putting things off. Praise God that he gave me the graces to finally hear and answer this call! 

Deacon Jason Sewald
Assigned to Our Lady of the Pines in Byers and VA Hospital Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

Developing a prayer life.  Entering formation, I felt the presence of God in the Eucharist and through my wife Audrey and our six children, but I can’t say I had a consistent and developed relationship with God.  It was through formation that I learned the importance of listening to God’s spoken word through scripture and taking the time to just be with him and to know his intimate love for me.  Giving time each day to God in quiet prayer and knowing I am with him, whether I hear his voice or feel his presence, has been a great gift and blessing to me.     

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

To humbly serve the parish that I am assigned.  Whether that is proclaiming the Gospel, serving at the altar while our priests are praying the Mass or being an instrument of God to those in need in the parish community.  As a deacon, it is a service of love through the imitation of Christ the Servant, who loved each us from our very beginning.      

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

With how difficult this pandemic has been on many, there were some blessings that came out of it. For me, it was the gift of time.  With working from home and not commuting to work, I was able to spend more time with my wife and kids; which reinforced how very blessed I am to have such a wonderful family.  This also gave me the opportunity to reflect on all the other blessings God has given me throughout my life, which is important for everyone to do; and afterward, take a moment and praise God for each of them.  

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

It certainly started as whisper. I first felt the call about 12 years ago and after discussing with my wife, our pastor and a few other priests and deacons; we decided it would be best to wait until the kids were older, so I let it rest in my heart.  It was during a time of quiet prayer that God was telling me it had rested long enough.  It was right before the last discernment retreat of the year and we had roughly a month to get everything turned in and get approval from the pastor of the parish that we had just moved to; plus, my wife was pregnant with our sixth child.  It certainly took a roar to make all that happen!   

Deacon Joseph Crotty 
Assigned to St. Mary of the Crown in Carbondale and Catholic Charities in Glenwood Springs 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate?  
That God is in charge, not me. 
 
What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to?  
Continuing my growth as a servant of the Most High Triune God. 
 
Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation?  
Yes. It helped further cement my helplessness and reliance on him in the face of so many adverse circumstances that I had no control or grasp of. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why?  
A persistent whisper that I answered “no” for over 10 years. Eventually, after 10 years of teaching religious education for third graders, I took a year off to spend in weekly adoration and discern the whisper. Eventually, my wife and I decided to move forward. Saying ‘yes” to formation is really a “maybe” to becoming ordained. I saw other good men discern to leave formation for various reasons. In the end we must each discern what vocation God is calling us to and take up our cross serving with whole hearts. 

Deacon Spencer Thornber 
Assigned to St. Frances Cabrini in Littleton and Family Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

It is not easy to narrow down a formation process that so significantly helped to shape who I am as a servant to my wife, my children and my God. I guess it would be simplicity in the love of Christ. With all the complexity of this world, to simply do small things with great love. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

Bringing the love and joy of Christ in service to others, especially those who feel forgotten or unlovable. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

It certainly did. We are people made for community and to have that aspect of our lives fundamentally altered certainly shines a light on its criticality. I prayed often for the lonely and forgotten, particularly those who were so prior to the pandemic. It is a critical time to rebuild community and spread his love. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

Let’s call it a loud whisper.  I heard the call clearly, but honestly had NO idea what it meant.  I was drawn to explore the diaconate having no concept of what a deacon truly was, and the Holy Spirit guided me for many years to help arrive at my first year of formation. 

Deacon George Linehan 
Assigned to Our Lady of the Pines in Conifer and St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The most valuable thing I learned in formation is that I need to decrease and God must increase. That will continue to happen through prayer and greater purity of heart.   

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

There are so many things to look forward to but overall, the opportunity to serve others for the greater glory of God.  

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic was reflected on but not any more than all the other issues that were faced this year.  The loss of a parent, the loss of a High School friend, neither of them to COVID.  The health and well-being of my family and neighbors.  The political strife in many of our nation’s cities. The possibility of Ordination and how that would change my life and the life of my family.  In the end, God is in control and we just have to trust.

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why?  

I would say it was a crescendo.  It started with the whispers of friends and family telling me I should consider the diaconate along with activities like biblical school, which left me wanting to learn more about my faith. To the roar, when one day I walked into the church for Mass and a friend stopped me and told me she had a dream that I was to be a deacon.  That was probably the one event that made me stop and take the time to seriously consider the diaconate.   

Deacon Patrick Smith 
Assigned to St. Bernadette in Lakewood and Adult Children of Divorce Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The importance of allowing God’s will to guide me and let go of my own will.   

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I love serving others, so I am excited to see how the Holy Spirit will inspire me in various ministries with the Church. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

Yes it did. Most importantly I have a much greater understanding how we must ultimately allow God into our hearts and actions.  I learned the importance of a good prayer life and that if we have a good relationship with God, we are much more prepared and able to persevere through these trials. “Go with the flow” and trust in God. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

For me it is a whisper, and many of them. I have learned many things in a variety of very joyful and very challenging situations.  These experiences will help guide my ministry to help others. Praise God. Fortunately, God’s plan was crafted to present these whispers to me so I learned his will and ways that can bring people closer to God.  “Just as you share in sufferings, so you will share in the divine glory” (2 Cor 1:7). 

Deacon Derrick Johnson 
Assigned to Assumption in Denver and Faith in Action Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

Formation is a beautiful time of intellectual formation and spiritual nourishment. I have never been so challenged, yet so nourished as during these four years. I believe the gift that the integration of the intellectual and the spiritual formation allowed me to truly get to know the Trinity on a profoundly deeper and intimate level and it has it allowed me to truly learn to pray in that relationship. I cherish the prayer life and therefore the relationship with the Trinity that I have been gifted with and know that it has and will eternally be foundational to my diaconate.  

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I am looking forward to being at the service of the people of God. I look forward to helping them encounter God in those ordinary daily experiences and then journeying with them on their road toward intimacy with God. I especially am looking forward to serving the Holy Mass as a deacon, preaching and baptizing little ones into becoming children of the Father and sharing the beauty of that reality.  

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic brought many new challenges into formation. Deacons are always told the importance of flexibility in all aspects of their ministry. The pandemic had a way of highlighting that fact and was also critical in showing how God’s grace was very much at work in our formation.  Without grace there is no way we could have come through this program and completed our studies, let alone done that during a pandemic. This was a great gift to us and really illustrated how reliant we must be on God to work in every part of our lives.   

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

God, knowing the importance of being firm and clear with me, roared quite loudly at times while Mary whispered. From the initial call that came out of the blue through a wonderful and holy priest that I’ve known since first communion, the signal graces that God worked for our family while praying and discerning to apply for two years, the opening of doors when situations seemed impossible, to the peace in my heart through this time; God has been clear. When my family and I began this process, I consecrated my time in the seminary to Mary and I placed the discernment of my vocation into her motherly hands. Mary has not let us down but rather has filled our family with a peace that we are exactly where God has asked us to be. 

Deacon Scott Boken 
Assigned to St. Mary in Greeley and Guadalupe Shelter 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

Humility. Knowing my place before God and developing a relationship with him as my real Father.  Learning to trust God completely and letting him guide my life and ministry as he sees fit. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

This is tough because there are so many things that I look forward to as a deacon, but becoming “Christ the Servant” at ordination and letting God direct me more fully would be the answer.  I think just being present as the face of the Church to parishioners and the community will yield many blessings.  

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

It absolutely did. Like many Catholics, the pandemic interrupted my sacramental life, my prayer life in addition to family and our family business. I didn’t realize how very much we rely on the Church and the life of the Church.  When it is all pulled away as it was, it left a gaping hole that is easily filled with vice if you let it.  To me, it was as close to Purgatory as you can experience on Earth.  Prayer and prayer life took a twist but I found a profound change in my relationship with God my Father, who became very familial to me. I learned to trust my Father as my son and daughter trust me.  

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

For me it was a roar. I felt the calling for vocation as far back as a boy growing up in a secular, unchurched household.  I had a locution at about 10 years old when God told me “I was his.”  This call struck me and I went on a journey to find Christ’s Church. I found the Catholic Church in college, was baptized and confirmed in my 20’s.  In my 30’s I discerned the priesthood with the Jesuits. It was a wonderful experience but God had a different plan for me, married life and the diaconate.  I know that I am exactly where my Father wants me to be. 

Deacon Carl Redman 
Assigned to Our Lady of Loreto in Foxfield and Veterans Home Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The importance of humility in our lives to become the best Christ-like person we can become, regardless of our vocation in life. That makes sense if we look to our Blessed Mother and what is the one characteristic that makes her stand out. I’ve learned that humility is the one virtue that all other virtues are built upon. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

More sleep, re-visiting textbooks we read, and being present, in whichever way God needs me to be, to those he puts me in touch with. A quote from St. Teresa of Avila sums it up: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” I hope to be that body to others. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

It brought forward a need for trusting in God amongst the chaos of the pandemic and society. God has this. We may not ever understand, but God has a plan. Without that, fear, and we know who is behind that, can really dictate who we are and who we choose to be. Every day is a discerning day for all of us. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

A whisper. I believe all my God moments in my life have been whispers, while all world moments in my life have been roars where God really has to get my attention over the noise of the world. My call was a tap on the shoulder which led me to contemplate, “why me, and why not me?” I’ve discovered throughout my formation a need to be quiet, to be still, and God will occasionally put thoughts on my mind. 

Deacon Alfonso Valdez 
Assigned to Holy Rosary in Denver and Care for Those Addiction to Alcohol Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

I learned that if you don’t let God be God in your life, we delay his forming of our hearts according to his will. He doesn’t need our help forming us, he just wants us to comply, be obedient and trust in him and the grace he wants to give us. Nothing happens in our lives where God is not in control.  

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

I am mostly looking forward in celebrating Mass with my pastor. During my time in seminary, I’ve grown to love Jesus in the Eucharist more than ever before in my life and it will be a privilege to be a servant at the table of Our Lord.  

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

Like many people in the world, I too lost friends and family and my prayers go out to all who lost loved ones during this time. The pandemic certainly influenced my outlook and reflection on life more than any other time. It made me thank God even more for every day that I can wake up and be with my loved ones and to not take any time with them for granted.  

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

God certainly has his ways of calling people into service. I don’t know if it was a whisper or a roar but to make a long story short on how I received the call, I was singing in a quinceañera Mass at St. Pius X in Aurora when I heard God’s call through a deacon of that parish. His name is Deacon James Blume. I had never met Deacon James before but when the quinceañera was over, he walked up to me and he said, “I don’t know who you are but when you were singing, God told me to come and tell you that you’re going to be his deacon.” All I can say is, Praise God! 

 
Deacon Tim Heaton  
Assigned to St. Joan of Arc in Arvada and Mulroy Center 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

In a word, prayer. Throughout formation, we learned a broad array of methods to raise one’s mind and heart to God in prayer. These prayer methods were invaluable from day one as I also learned the meaning of the expression “prayer is a battle.” The struggle of balancing studies, a day job, family, and dedicated prayer time was monumental. Learning to put prayer first, without exception, brought peace into the midst of this battle. 

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

Baptisms. Through baptism, we welcome a new member of the Body of Christ — a living stone incorporated into the living church. I look forward to this opportunity to build up Christ’s Church as an Ordinary Minister of Baptism. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

Yes.  I spent many hours of prayer with the Gospel of Mark (Chapter 4:35-41), when Jesus calmed the storm. The disciples were terror-stricken on the boat and awakened Jesus out of fear and lack of faith. Jesus’ words, “Peace Be Still,” led me to a peaceful surrender to the will of God, regardless of the storm that rages about me.  

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

It was a whisper. It had to be. “MY” life was a roar. God would not compete against the roar of “Me.” The challenge of formation was for my focus on me to diminish and for my focus on God to increase. Only through this transformation could I hear the soft, reassuring whisper of God.     

Deacon David Morris 
Assigned to Queen of Peace in Aurora and Prison Ministry 


What is one of the most valuable things you learned during your formation for the diaconate? 

The most valuable things learned during formation for me have been, humility, trust in God’s will and sacrifice.  

What is one thing about the diaconate that you are most looking forward to? 

What I am looking forward to the most is ministering to the people, evangelizing, and proclaiming the Gospel to the whole world. 

Did the pandemic this past year influence your reflections during this final year of formation? 

The pandemic did change the way we did our studies and in-class presence, but it did not change the truth that is in prayer. 

Would you characterize God’s call to the diaconate for you as a whisper or a roar? Why? 

I would characterize God’s call for me as a distinctive roar. He set before me Cross — a true and real Cross that appeared right before me. It was very clear that I must pick it up and follow Him. 


All photos by James Baca

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