An interesting look at how the men, and the diocese, are adjusting, from The Leaven newspaper:
The first cadre of the archdiocese’s permanent deacons has found ministry to be pretty much what they expected — with an occasional curveball.
“There have been no big surprises,” said Deacon Jim Lavin, assigned to Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park. “I’m not doing anything I didn’t expect to do, but you never know what you’re going to find.”
Such was the case when he walked into a pharmacy one day, wearing his clerical collar.
There, the pharmacist on duty asked if Deacon Lavin could give him some holy water. Why? asked the deacon. He needed it to remove a demon from a friend, replied the pharmacist gravely.
“‘Well, holy water isn’t magic water,’” Deacon Lavin explained to him. “And I invited him to call me so we could talk. He was quite serious.”
It has been a busy year and a half since the first 17 permanent deacons were ordained on April 9, 2011.
In addition to working full-time jobs, they fulfill their family responsibilities and minister at a parish. Usually this involves the exercise of their ministry on the weekends, but sometimes it means weekdays, too.
Deacon Mike Schreck is assigned to the Church of the Nativity in Leawood, but he also is involved in some activities at Holy Spirit Parish in Overland Park.
He does spiritual direction for individuals, works with the parish youth group, preaches at Masses twice a month, and leads a Communion service at a nursing home once a month. He serves at daily Mass at Holy Spirit Parish (because it’s close to his home in Lenexa) and is involved in weeknight activities at Nativity Parish as needed.
“Actually, it’s been fantastic,” he said. “I really enjoy baptisms, just bringing children into the faith and dealing with their families. It’s one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had . . [as well as] surprisingly, preaching.”
“Also, being able to share my faith in my workplace as well,” he continued. “It’s an important part for us who are permanent deacons to be a leaven in our work environment as well.”
The ability to witness to his faith in the workplace, as well as balance his commitments to family, ministry and work, is an important aspect of being a deacon.
“I think [permanent deacons] are called to be a witness to the call that all laity have to live out our faith in all aspects of our life,” said Deacon Schreck. “I think that deacons, in a particular way, serve as a role model in that regard.”