Meet the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s new permanent deacons (part 2)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
The first time Mike Hinger, 55, felt a calling to the diaconate he was advised by a mentor — a deacon himself — to wait until his children were older. The call came again about decade later and Hinger followed it.
With the advice of friends who are priests, Hinger started taking Lay Pastoral Ministry Program classes, finished the program and entered formation.
“I think the formation at the Athenaeum (of Ohio) was excellent,” Hinger said. “Going into it I didn’t know what to expect. As I got closer to formation I’m convinced that this is what the Lord is calling me to do and wants me to do.”
|New permanent deacons of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati include (l to r): Mike Lippman, Timothy Helmick, Thomas Graber, John Paul Back, Robert Bayse, Dave Wallace, Mike Hinger, Dan Wade, St. Peter, Huber Heights; Hoang Vu and Bill Schaefer. (Photo courtesy of the Athenaeum of Ohio)|
A founding member of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township, Hinger has been a lector, extraordinary minister, helped begin the Christ Renews His Parish program and was active with high school youth ministry. His parish ministry helped lead him to formation.
“I’m looking forward to being a servant for the people of God,” Hinger said. “I’m looking forward to being open to whatever God has in mind. We’ll see what adventure God has for me as I get ordained.”
Hinger is a software sales representative for SAP and has been in technology sales for 30 years. He and his wife, Kathy, have two grown children, Lindsay and Zack. Hinger will be assigned to St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish.
Even if Rich Hobbs had never pursued a vocation to the diaconate, he knew that taking Lay Pastoral Ministry classes would help him with his involvement at St. Mary Parish in Franklin.
Hobbs, 44, found the classes “challenging” and “insightful.” They gave him an appreciation for Catholic tradition. He also credits the late Father Chuck Mentrup and Father Jim Manning, both pastors at St. Mary, for supporting him.
The formation process has strengthened his spiritual life.
“It’s enriched and increased my prayer life,” he said. “It’s insightful to have a close relationship with Jesus, and it’s challenged me to make a lot of improvements in my life.”
As a deacon he is looking forward to helping with baptisms and marriage preparation.
“Those are definitely two areas where people are excited about their faith,” he said. “You’re getting them more aware and more involved in the church.”
An attorney, Hobbs works for Lexis-Nexis in research. He and his wife, Julie, have three children. He will be assigned to St. Mary Parish.
Tracy Jamison’s path to the diaconate can be traced to a weekend in early 2002 when he attended a secular Carmelite conference in Michigan.
“During adoration I simply asked Christ Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament to help me to know how best to serve Him at that point in my life,” said Jamison. “I was uncertain about what He wanted me to do, so I asked Him for some indication.
“After leaving adoration and going back to one of the conference rooms, I immediately met a deacon and his wife from Michigan who happened to know and respect my pastor in Cincinnati, [the late] Father Al Lauer,” he said. “They encouraged me to talk with Father Al upon my return to Cincinnati, and to see whether the Lord might be calling me to the permanent diaconate.”
He and his wife, Joyce, discussed it. Jamison investigated the process, prayed about it and spoke to Father Lauer, who gave his support.
“The formation process in the permanent deacon program has been very rewarding,” said Jamison. “The whole program is well-grounded in dogmatic, sacramental, mystical and moral theology. The study of theology has always had a great impact on my spiritual life. It all goes together: study, liturgy, mental prayer, and ministry. The better I understand the ways of God, the more grateful I am for what I have received through Christ, and the more I desire to be at the service of His church.”
An adjunct professor, Jamison and his wife have one daughter, Charity Marie. Jamison, 48, will be assigned to Old St. Mary and Holy Cross-Immaculata parishes in Cincinnati.
A desire to be a better teacher of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults put Mark Johnson on the path to the diaconate.
Johnson, a 20-year parishioner at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Anderson Township, began taking the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program classes to hone his skills as an RCIA teacher. He followed that with diaconate formation.
“People I respect started telling me I ought to be a deacon before I knew what a deacon was,” said Johnson, 58. “I thought that [the LPMP] would help me improve what was I was doing in RCIA. I felt like a needed a deeper foundation in order to properly teach RCIA.”
In addition to his involvement in RCIA, Johnson has been an extraordinary minister, leads funeral vigils and is a sacristan.
Formation has had an impact upon his spiritual life.
“It’s enriched it,” he said. “I spend more time in prayer than I ever did before. My wife and I pray together more than we ever did before.”
As a deacon he wants to continue with RCIA, become active in marriage preparation and visit the sick and shut-ins.
Johnson, who works in data processing, and his wife, Sharon, have two children and two grandchildren. He will be assigned to Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Robert Leever’s path to the diaconate unfolded step-by-step over the last decade, beginning with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.
A parishioner at All Saints Parish in Cincinnati, Leever, 64, went through RCIA with his daughter-in-law before her marriage to his son about 10 years ago. His wife and children were all Catholic.
“I just wanted to learn more about the Catholic Church and my religion because I was helping out with RCIA at that point,” Leever said. “It’s really intensified in the last three or four years.”
He continued his faith journey by completing the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program and then entering diaconate formation.
“What led me to the diaconate are the people around me who kept inviting me to continue with my ministry of learning and my ministry of becoming something more,” Leever said. “I think Christ works through people. I just listened.”
He has been active in various ministries at All Saints including bereavement, social justice and as an extraordinary minister to the homebound and sick.
Leever and his wife, Maryann, have three children and four grandchildren. Leever will be assigned to All Saints Parish.
In the early 2000s Father Bryan Reif, then-assistant pastor at St. Maximilan Kolbe Parish in Liberty Township, gave a talk on vocations and challenged men to think about becoming deacons. Michael Lippman, one of the men he reached, saw a church that needed help.
“You’re called by the community. That was the tipping point,” said Lippman, 51, a founding parishioner at St. Maximilian Kolbe. “It was one of my many nudges along the way.
Lippman enterd the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program to prepare for a possible career change to teach religion. He finished the LPMP and began diaconate formation.
“The formation at the seminary has just catapulted my spiritual growth, especially the last three years going through the formation process itself,” Lippman said. “I’ve changed a lot. I feel like I’ve been called by the community and this has released my inner deacon. This is where I’m supposed to be.”
“Being called by the community, it’s humbling more than anything. That kind of support is helpful not just to me but to my wife,” Lippman said. “I really feel this is where God wants me in prayer and just in terms of who I am.”
A partner in a hospital consultant business, Lippman and his wife, Linda, have two grown children, Tom and Jan. He will be assigned to St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish.
Becoming a deacon is way for Terry Martin to increase his service to the church.
“I think it was a desire to serve the church at a different level,” said Martin, 61. “It’s been something that’s been in the back of my mind.”
Martin attended a preparatory seminary, but it wasn’t until decades later that a calling to the ministry returned. He attended an informational diaconate meeting and began classes in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program.
His wife, Sandy, attended diaconate formation classes with him, giving both of them the opportunity to strengthen their spiritual life.
Martin is a parishioner at Our Lady of Good Hope in Miamisburg and has served as the parish’s business manager for about five years. He has also been active in the parish music ministry and as an extraordinary minister and lector.
As a deacon, Martin wants to bring other parishioners a deeper sense of faith.
The Martins have three children and three grandchildren. He will be assigned to Our Lady of Good Hope Parish.
Bill Moore likes to say that God called him to the diaconate at least three times, but it wasn’t until God put the call in writing that Moore finally listened.
Moore, 72, was living in Seattle in the late 1990s when a deacon first suggested that he pursue the vocation. Several years later, after Moore had moved to Dayton, Deacon Mark Stasiak made the same suggestion.
More years went by and one evening Moore was having dinner with some priests. They asked him about the diaconate, and he replied that he was too old.
“Within a month after that, I maintain that God put it in writing,” Moore said. “There was an announcement in our bulletin of a deacon information meeting at a nearby parish. The die was cast.”
Moore wants to promote the diaconate and encourage other men to consider formation.
“I am not the same man I was five years ago,” Moore said. “I’ve learned to become more tolerant, be a better listener. I found new relationship with Christ, a deeper relationship.”
Moore is a retired engineer and manufacturing manager and his wife, Fran, is principal of St. Charles Borromeo School in Kettering. They have five children, William, Theresa, Linda, Darla and Thomas. They also have 15 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Moore will be assigned to St. Charles Borromeo Parish.
Jeffrey Perkins had privately been discerning diaconate formation for about a decade when a deacon at his parish, St. Margaret of York in Loveland, asked him why he wasn’t pursuing it.
Perkins, 55, was involved in youth ministry, active in Kairos prison ministry and had a general sense of wanting to dedicate time to the church and to the faith.
“It was obviously something he saw in me,” Perkins said. “We talked to the pastor and started setting things in motion.”
The diaconate was also appealing because it would help him in his prison ministry and give him a deeper calling to faith formation.
“Spiritually, it puts you more in touch with your relationship with God. The program itself just fosters that,” Perkins said. “You see things through the eyes of faith. You’re bringing God into your everyday actions.”
Perkins will enjoy helping with baptism and wedding preparation as a deacon.
“That’s a real witnessing to faith,” he said. “I’m excited and looking forward to my role as a deacon.”
Perkins is director of database management for Great American Financial Resources in Cincinnati. He and his wife, Monica, have three children. He will be assigned to St. Margaret of York Parish.
Several parishioners at Precious Blood Parish in Dayton had mentioned that Michael Prier would make a good deacon, but Prier put it in God’s hands.
“I really tried to let the Lord talk to me,” said Prier, 50. “The original [intent] was not to the diaconate. It was to become more involved. When I first started, I wasn’t sold on it.”
Prier, an active Precious Blood parishioner for 30 years, has been an extraordinary minister, a lector, an usher and involved with the worship and social justice commissions. He has also been active in Kairos prison ministry and Cursillo.
He completed the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program and was eligible to begin diaconate formation in 2004 but waited until his youngest child was older.
“Even after LPMP I was praying about making sure this is something God wanted us to do,” Prier said. “I was thrilled with the LPMP in and of itself.”
Formation has given Prier a deeper understanding of the faith.
“The more you learn about your faith, the more you can appreciate the work of art God has given us through the Catholic Church,” he said. “The more you learn, the more you can appreciate how the different pieces of this painting fit together.”
A middle-school band director and trumpet player, Prier and his wife, Rosie, have four grown children, Libby, twins David and Jonathan, and Anne. Prier will be assigned to Precious Blood Parish.