What a story, via The Catholic Register in Canada:
For Mark Neugebauer, his journey to the permanent diaconate is something he says he just “fell into.” A look at his story would beg to differ.
It’s been a long, winding journey for Neugebauer, as you might expect for someone who was born and raised a Jew, the son of Holocaust survivors. His spiritual path eventually led to his conversion to Catholicism in 2009.
Now, Neugebauer, along with his wife Sue, is making the leap to the diaconate for the Archdiocese of Toronto May 26 along with nine other couples, joining the 102 deacons and their spouses already serving the archdiocese. They will be ordained at St. Michael’s Cathedral and will serve in their home parishes and other ministries throughout the archdiocese.
Neugebauer’s faith journey began 61 years ago. Raised as a Jew, culturally and traditionally, he said he knew God as a personal God and “that same God has been revealing Himself to me over the years.”One of those revelations led Neugebauer at the age of 19 to Jesus through the Messianic Jewish movement, which straddles the line between Judaism and Christianity. It believes Yeshua (Jesus) was the Messiah while also holding true to the explicit laws of the Torah and believing that Jews are the chosen people. It’s there he met Sue, another child of Holocaust survivors, and they have journeyed together since.
He has also explored the Evangelical side of Christianity, being involved in men’s ministry and intercessory prayer. It’s where the now retired schoolteacher would gain insight into the Catholic faith. Up until then, he said he was very “anti-Catholic” and had been unable to see anything spiritual coming out of the Church. But Evangelical friends steered him towards the Catholic television networks Salt+Light and EWTN, and he began to experience something new.
“I experienced this beauty, this joy, this faith,” said Neugebauer. “It was so holy and so glorious.”