Meet a deacon using his voice to spread The Word

Details, from the Ventura County Star in California:

Each time Pat Coulter steps before an audience to speak, he takes three deep breaths and says a prayer taught to him by the late actor and speaker Pat Buttram.

“Lord, give me the wisdom to say the right stuff, then nudge me when I’ve said enough,” Coulter, an ordained deacon at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Moorpark, said silently as he stepped from the pulpit during the 8 a.m. Mass Friday morning.

Standing before the congregation, Coulter began his homily. His distinct broadcaster voice filled the church without the aid of a microphone.

Today, his voice will fill the Los Angeles Coliseum before an anticipated audience of 100,000 Catholics as the emcee for the Guadalupe Celebration, billed as an afternoon of prayer, music and speakers, including the archbishop of Los Angeles, the Most Reverend José H. Gomez.

The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic charitable, fraternal order, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are co-hosting the event honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is known as the Patroness of the Americas.

Those at the Coliseum will celebrate the Virgin Mary’s appearance to St. Juan Diego in 1531. Our Lady of Guadalupe left her image on Diego’s cloak, known as a tilma, according to the Guadalupe Celebration website.

The tilma, kept in Mexico City’sBasilica, is the most visited shrine in the Western Hemisphere. The basilica is built on the site of where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared.

A relic of Diego’s tilma is kept in Los Angeles’ Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels. The relic, the only one in the United States, was brought to the altar of St. Jude Catholic Church in Westlake Village on Thursday by members of that parish’s Knights of Columbus members.

For Coulter, a member of the Knights and former grand knight for Holy Cross’ local chapter, providing the voice of the Guadalupe Celebration is an opportunity to use his talent to further his commitment to service. It is a commitment deeply rooted in his faith.

“The voice has always been incidental,” said Coulter, 71. “I have truly looked at it as a gift, and I am always asking myself what can I do to make that gift available to wherever, it might be helpful. It seems to work.”

In the 12 years he and his wife, Jerie, have lived in Moorpark, Coulter has voiced numerous charitable events, including golf tournaments, awards banquets and other fundraisers for organizations.

“He’s just a wonderful guy,” said Mike Pavone, a fellow Knights of Columbus member. “Funny and sincere, you can take his word to the bank.”

Pavone stopped to say hello as Coulter sat outside It’s a Grind Coffee in Moorpark after Mass on Friday morning.

Dressed in a dark suit with gold Marine Corps cufflinks and a simple gold cross lapel pin, Coulter also had been greeted warmly by the coffeehouse’s staff and owner, who the former Marine was quick to point out was a generous supporter of the Knights and the church.

“Have you ever done voice work?” is a question that has followed Coulter through his 25 years as a Marine and as a public relations executive.

The first time he was asked that question, Coulter was a young Marine stationed on Guam, and it led to an opportunity to do broadcast television and supplement his limited income.

It was also on the island, a U.S. territory, that Coulter first took steps to become a deacon, at the encouragement of a local bishop. But as he started his training in 1972, the Marine Corps reassigned him to another location.

It wasn’t until Coulter and his wife of 50 years made their 33rd and final move to Moorpark that Coulter was able to get into and complete the deacon program that includes five years of training.

“I got into the program and loved it,” Coulter said. “This is really what I believe God wants me to do.”

It is, for him, another way to serve.

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