Sunday, 12 July 2020 15:48

Eight men set to become deacons throughout diocese

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From changing diapers and taking children to Mass, to family rosaries and balancing work and family life, come next year, eight men will add another vocation to their lives as they will all be ordained to the holy order of deacon.

“I am very pleased to have these eight men in their last year of formation,” said Deacon Dave Sorrell, director of the Office for the Diaconate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. “They have proven to be men of good character and continue to discern their call to holy orders.”

The permanent diaconate in our diocese began in 2007 with 18 men. Today, the ranks are strong at 59. Next year, God willing, these eight will be added to parishes in our diocese. Please keep these men in your prayers as Catholic Times introduces you to each of them.

Andrew Krug

07 12 2020 year away deacons Adam CoxLives in Sherman
Home parish: St. John Vianney in Sherman
Wife, Deanne; daughter, Ally
Occupation: Marketing Specialist for Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

What has attracted you to this vocation and why do you feel called?

My family has always been a part of the Catholic Church. God has blessed me and my family with so much, I really felt it was time to give back. What better way to thank God for all his blessings than to serve him? Besides, if St. Paul or St. Augustine could be saved, anybody can! In the case of Augustine, he had his mother, St. Monica. And I have mine, Mary Jane Krug. Her example of faith had an effect on me and my siblings.

How do you think you can help advance the mission of the church and help people as a deacon?

By walking the walk, not by talking the talk. By example. By doing. By showing that a guy just like anyone else who has questions, doubts, fears and all can gain faith. By defending the faith, preaching the Word and believing in the Holy Trinity. You can’t really sit idle and fight a fight. You can’t sit idle and not help others. Our church is more valuable than gold. We need to defend it and all who are a part of it. We need to show others how to do that. And we need to be there for our priests.

Adam Cox

07 12 2020 year away deacons Adam CoxLives in Collinsville
Home parish: Mother of Perpetual Help in Maryville
Wife, Jennifer; sons, Taylor and Alexander
Occupation: Service Technician for Energy Stars Heating and Cooling

How do you think you can help advance the mission of the church and help people as a deacon?

As a deacon, I can relate to people in a way a priest may not be able to. I’m a regular working guy that puts on a pair of work boots in the morning — that understands the struggles in everyday life. I hope God will use me to bring in those who are on the outside looking in to see the beauty of the church.

What has surprised you the most about your journey so far?

I never thought that I would change so much in such a short period of time. This program has changed me for the better, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Joseph Zagorski

07 12 2020 year away deacons Joseph ZagorskiLives in O’Fallon
Home parish: Ss. Peter and Paul in Collinsville
Wife: Kimberly
Occupation: Electrician

What has attracted you to this vocation and why do you feel called?

Christ has always been in my life and even though I haven’t always made good choices, he has always looked out for me. I find the closer I have allowed myself to get to God the better off I have been. I find myself not only wanting to know more about

God, but also a desire to share this joy. The call to become a deacon came in a flyer in the church bulletin. The urge to discern kept coming up as I listened to the Sunday Readings and Gospels.

What has surprised you the most about your journey so far?

One of the greatest surprises I have experienced going through my formation to become a deacon has been the support of the people who have been with me all along the journey. I feel myself changing for the better and going closer to God. I owe a lot of this change to the faithful men and wives I have had the opportunity to go through this experience with.

Dennis Halbrook

07 12 2020 year away deacons Dennis HolbrookLives in Quincy
Home parish: St. Anthony of Padua in Quincy
Wife, Pat; daughters Nicole (married to Jason Costigan), Elizabeth (married to Rob Gengenbacher), Allison (deceased); four grandchildren
Occupation: Service Manager with Awerkamp Machine Company

What has attracted you to this vocation and why do you feel called?

I feel God called me to this vocation. I feel him pulling me to a life of servanthood, it’s not a push, it’s a pull. God is in control of my formation and I feel so blessed that he called me and gave me a servant’s heart to do his work.

How do you think you can help advance the mission of the church and help people as a deacon?

I feel that I can advance the mission of our church by being with the people that are hurting. Wherever I’m assigned, I will be out amongst the people fulfilling my call of servanthood.

Dan Blentlinger

07 12 2020 year away deacons Daniel BlentlingerLives in Williamsville
Home parish: St. John Vianney in Sherman
Wife, Trisha; daughters Kayla Edwards and Lauryn Blentlinger; son, Tyler
Occupation: Customer Service Clerk for UPS

What has attracted you to this vocation and why do you feel called?

I recall as a young teen, questioning what God wanted me to do with my life. Some had suggested that they thought I would become a priest, but I never felt that call. The example of my parents always volunteering at church was a great inspiration to me. I did feel or sense a call to do more, I even tried youth ministry, but didn’t find that to be where God was leading me. I have always enjoyed sharing my Catholic faith and right after becoming married I felt a strong need to serve the church. The permanent diaconate program was just starting up in our diocese, and my wife and I attended the first inquiry meetings, but I quickly realized that as a newly married couple, it would become an overwhelming experience that we could not handle. After having our children, I began teaching for our Parish School of Religion and was encouraged by my pastor Father Carl Kemme (now Bishop Kemme), to consider the program again. With prayer and discernment with my wife, we decided to follow my call to see if being a deacon was what God truly wanted me to do. Despite great adversity, temptation to quit formation and struggles to keep going, the call has always been overwhelming, always there. A song by Christian artist Big Daddy Weave, Overwhelmed, has inspired me to allow myself to be consumed by God’s love and to share it by serving others as a deacon.

What has surprised you the most about your journey so far?

My biggest surprise so far in my formation journey has been the overwhelming experience of the acceptance of the parishioners and their willingness to both help form me and reach out to me for spiritual needs. It opened my eyes to the great responsibility that a deacon has to lead the people to a deeper relationship with Christ and to help them see how God is always present in their lives.

Michael Halbrook

07 12 2020 year away deacons Michael HalbrookLives in Granite City
Home parish: Holy Family in Granite City
Wife, Suzanne; sons, Thomas Xavier, Matthew James, Joseph Michael, and Andrew John
Occupation: Group Senior Manager within the consulting group at Adobe

How do you think you can help advance the mission of the church and help people as a deacon?

Especially in the city where my family and I live (Granite City), I think that I can help look for places where God’s presence can bring the most good. In my first pastoral formation assignment, that led to helping initiate a parish food pantry that has continued to have a positive impact in a neighborhood filled with much need around the church. It might also mean being a presence in prayer at the abortion clinic, and trying to inspire others to join us in prayer there. I’m very much drawn to the ways of helping to fill the gaps that families and people need filled, and to work with my pastor to help inspire my fellow parishioners to help with some of those human needs. I also think that I’ll be able to be a presence for other men and women who are looking to be better spouses and parents, to be an ear when they need help, and to maybe share some of the ups and downs of Suzanne’s and my marriage when they may help those couples and families.

What has surprised you the most about your journey so far?

First, the close brotherhood that has formed among the members of our class and the ways we’ve been there to support each other through a lot of personal ups and downs in formation; and second, the way that formation has brought Suzanne and I closer in our marriage. It has led us to communicate more, to partner and support each other more.

Bruce Scott

07 12 2020 year away deacons Bruce ScottLives in Paris
Home parish: St. Mary in Paris
Wife, Joy (deceased); sons, Ryan and Richard Scott; daughter Jessica Felix
Occupation: Sleep Tech, Paramedic, Deputy Coroner

What has attracted you to this vocation and why do you feel called?

This vocation is something that others have suggested to me as a possible calling. I really was not sure. But, I applied and through the formation and education, I have come to have a sense of calling. It is where I find peace and feel at home. It is a difficult journey because I want to know now how it ends, but I am learning that it’s OK not to know. I am called to say “yes” and to trust in God’s plan.

What has surprised you the most about your journey so far?

I have been very surprised by all of the support I have received. From the day I mentioned it to my wife Joy and she said I should do it, to talking to my pastor, Father David Zimmerman, about it, and he was very encouraging. Support from my children and family, parishioners and the support and dedication we receive from all of the professors from St. Meinrad Seminary. The priest and spiritual directors all put a lot of time and effort into helping us through our journey. It has been a long and at times very challenging journey, but there has always been someone who offers what is needed at just the right time, and I could not be doing this without that encouragement.

Rob Sgambelluri

07 12 2020 year away deacons Rob SgambelluriLives in Springfield
Home parish: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
Wife, Janice; sons, Michael and Philip; daughter, Lauren
Retired from the Illinois State Police

What has attracted you to this vocation and why do you feel called?

Good times are easy; it’s the difficulties of life and can bring us to our knees, and it was so for me. In those times especially I grew in my awareness of God’s presence, and my appreciation for his love shown through those who minister to us. I think all of us serve our families and those around us. Over time my desire to serve the church increased.

How do you think you can help advance the mission of the church and help people as a deacon?

During times of illness, loss, or conflict, many become aware of their need for God, or at least start asking more questions about faith. I hope to find opportunities to be there during those times, to be present with those suffering and help them find hope.