With the addition of the 17 men who were ordained by Archbishop Naumann in June 2017, we now have 40 permanent deacons in active ministry serving the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
We have at least one deacon serving in 30 of our parishes, and even more our deacons are making their presence—and in a deeper sense the Church’s presence—felt in prisons and jails, hospitals and nursing homes, and really anywhere the mercy of God is most needed. We are proud of the growth of the diaconate in the Archdiocese, and I’ve frequently heard the Archbishop praise our formation program.
As I reflect on all this, I truly believe that the growth of the diaconate in our Archdiocese is a singular grace given to us at this time. It also reflects the gifts of our Archdiocese at this moment in our local Church’s history.
For example, each month our deacon candidates receive phenomenal instruction from professors from Benedictine College in Atchison. Very few deacons programs in the United States have a Catholic college within their boundaries with such a cadre of exceptional teachers of the faith.
We also have Kansas City-based School of Faith under the leadership of Mike Scherschligt and Troy Hinkel providing catechetical and spiritual formation for our deacon candidates, complemented by the spiritual assistance of the Apostles of the Interior Life, whose U.S. headquarters happen to be here.
The deacon office has received tremendous cooperation from Catholic Charities, prison ministries, hospital chaplaincies, and other ministries within the Archdiocese that have taken the time and energy to give our deacon candidates opportunities to “learn the ropes” and expand their ministerial skills.
Our men have benefited greatly from the wisdom of pastors and spiritual directors who have generously taken on the additional burden of guiding these men so that they will equipped in every way to serve the People of God.
Closer to home, very few dioceses have facilities comparable to Savior Pastoral Center, where our men receive most of their training. Tim Chik and his staff transform the facility into a quasi-seminary where the men (and their wives) are able to focus on their human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation in a serene, peaceful setting.
The deacons themselves “give back” in beautiful ways to help form their younger brothers in the diaconate. For some, like Deacon Dan Peterson, Deacon Tom Mulvenon, Deacon Mike Schreck, Deacon Mike Moffitt, Deacon Steve Lemons, and their spouses, it has been part of their formal ministry as well as a labor of love.
I’ve only been able to scratch the surface here, and I cannot begin to acknowledge all the lay faithful, including our devoted Serrans, whose prayers and enthusiastic encouragement undergird our efforts.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know about that, but I can surely say that it takes an Archdiocese to raise a deacon.
Leon Suprenant, Co-Director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate
Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas