Yes, it’s been a long and winding road that led me to his door. Ordained as a permanent deacon on June 11, 2016 with 22 of my brothers, I have certainly arrived at his door. I thank God for his call to the diaconate and I look forward, God willing, to years of service to the Church.
It’s going to take some “‘splainin” to provide the background about my long and winding road. My hope is that the Holy Spirit will use me to reveal some of his truth to you through his work in me.
This is not about me, although it may seem that way initially
The most important characteristic of a deacon is that he understand that his ministry is not about him. Diaconal ministry is all about Christ and doing his will in service of his Church. So, writing about myself and my thoughts feels a bit unsettling. While I want to provide some background of myself and my journey thus far, I do so only that you might somehow experience Christ through his work in me. My goal is to make this blog one that is about Christ living in me. I pray that I will do well to accomplish this goal and that the Holy Spirit will in some way use my homilies and other thoughts to advance his kingdom on earth.
If you want to know more about the nature of diaconal ministry, especially if you believe you may be called to be a deacon in the Catholic Church, I heartily recommend The Heart of the Diaconate by Deacon James Keating. It is probably the best book for anyone who may be discerning the call to ordination.
OK, so now a bit more about me
Christine and I both have children from a previous marriage. I have four (2 sons and 2 daughters) and she has one daughter. Between us we have 14 beautiful grandchildren with the 15th on the way. We were married civilly in 1999 and, after we each received a Declaration of Nullity, our marriage was convalidated in 2007.
In August 2010 Christine and I decided to enthrone our home to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Long story short, it was just following this decision to formally declare Jesus Christ as the Lord and King of our home that I began to hear the call to the diaconate. The call came primarily through a friend who is also a deacon, Deacon Mick Spencer. He encouraged me to explore the possibility, especially since the Diocese of Knoxville would soon be putting out a call for men who might be thinking that they were being called to holy orders. As I mentioned this idea to some other friends, it became clear that many of my Catholic brothers and sisters thought I might be a “good deacon.”
Today we are parishioners at Our Lady of Fatima parish in Alcoa, TN, where I am assigned. This beautiful church and parish community is the perfect spiritual home for us. Just 15 minutes from the house, I’m able to attend morning prayer, Mass and holy hour regularly. This has been a source of strength for me in my spiritual journey and I am so grateful to be able to serve At OLOF.
My other passion…technology
I’ve always been a technology geek. I began using a personal computer in 1981 when I purchased an 8K Commodore PET that loaded BASIC programs from a cassette tape player. I’m an avid Apple fanboy who manages 4 Macs in our household, two iPads, two iPhones and two Apple Watches. Using technology to solve business problems has always been a hobby of mine. I was in the personal computer industry for over 20 years, starting with sales of the Apple II to schools as an employee of ComputerLand in Hartford, CT in 1983.
I held various positions in the computer reselling industry over the years, including senior management positions for large computer distributors in marketing and product marketing. Christine and I also owned a company in the motorcycle industry, which we sold last year. I enjoyed establishing and developing this company’s web presence (now greatly enhanced by the new owner) and watching it grow into a significant small business.
It had always been a dream of mine to put my technology knowledge and experience to work in the church. So much so that I launched a business venture called ParishGeeks.com that I hoped would get me hired to develop websites for parishes. I attended a national convention to market my services, but this business never took off. Little did I know that God had a better plan.
In 2012 as an aspirant for the diaconate, I was asked by Bishop Stika to redesign Diocese of Knoxville’s website. This was to be a service project for my formation and quickly occupied a great deal of my time. I was thrilled to finally be applying my geek knowledge in service of the church and never dreamed I’d be doing it on a diocesan level! I was also asked to develop a site for the diocesan newspaper, the East Tennessee Catholic, and later for a community of cloistered nuns, the Handmaids of the Precious Blood mentioned previously, who were moving from New Mexico to Tennessee. Little did I know that a few years later I would be employed by them as their communications director! Talk about God ever surprising those who try to serve him, even those who fail as often as I do! Our God is a gracious and merciful God!! I have never been happier.
With this technology in my background you can bet that I’ll be sharing some of the exciting developments in this field that I follow almost as religiously as my faith. Yeah, I’m the guy who listens to all the Apple-oriented podcasts and reads Techmeme daily to keep up with the latest trends. I also subscribe to dozens of tech blogs that present me with all the latest news and rumors about what’s in the pipeline as far as new products from Apple and other technology companies. If you need some help with your tech, check out my technology concierge business, The Big Bald Geek.
I could go on and on…
Yes, it’s been a long and winding road leading to my ordination. I am blessed to be on this journey and I hope some of my thoughts and experiences will assist you in your journey. As previously promised, I will do my best to keep my future posts brief. This is sometimes difficult for me, but I will do my best.
I hope you will return and comment on those thoughts I offer that either ring true for you or that might raise questions you would like answered. I’ll do my best to respond to all the comments you leave for me, especially when you think I’m wrong. I certainly don’t believe I’m going to be right about everything I write about here, so let me have it if I need to be set straight on something. All I ask is that your comments be civil and respectful. After all, we all see things a bit differently and that’s ok. We are, however, called to love one another so let’s be gentle with each other.
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! Let me know in the comment box and I’ll say a quick prayer for you. Please pray for me too…I need your prayers. If you are really a glutton for punishment, subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box located at the top right side of this page. Then you’ll get my new posts in your email as they are published.
As many say here in East Tennessee, “Have a blessed day!”