Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Deacon Jack Crandall retires after 25 years of ordained ministry

by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the Dec. 15, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

Deacon Jack CrandallDeacon Jack Crandall will retire at the end of 2005. (IR file photo by Deacon Eric Meisfjord)

Deacon Jack Crandall, a member of the second group of deacons to be ordained for the Diocese of Spokane, will retire from active ministry at the end of December.

His personal story is a rather remarkable and inspiring one.

“I left the church right after Vatican II because it seemed to me that the church had become Protestant, with the Mass changing, and the altar being turned around, with the priest facing the people,” he said. “I was very upset about it. My wife was a Presbyterian, so I went with her for a short time.”

After about two years, Crandall, his wife, Virginia, and their eight children were invited to attend a Charismatic Mass at Gonzaga University. “Bishop Topel was there,” he remembers, “and the speaker was Ralph Martin, from Ann Arbor, Mich. I had a conversion experience there, and so did my wife. We were drawn back into the church. My wife became a Catholic. Previously, she had a problem with the sacrament of Confession, and with the Catholic devotion to Mary, but she became more Catholic than I was. She was tremendously impacted by Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin.”

Deacon Crandall said that Father Dan Wetzler, the official diocesan liaison for the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, “became my mentor for 30 years.” (Editor’s note: Father Wetzler was profiled in the Dec. 1, 2005 edition of the Inland Register.)

Deacon Jack has remained active in the Charistmatic Renewal, and felt called to the permanent diaconate. Being a deacon, he said, also had an impact on his everyday work as a pharmaceutical salesman. “Sometimes I would go to a doctor’s office, and because they knew I was a deacon they would ask for prayers.

“I remember going to Moscow (Idaho) in about 1984, and I was at Gritman Memorial Hospital. I ran into an x-ray tech I knew, and her son, about age 20, had been in a car wreck and wasn’t expected to live. She asked me to go with her to the ICU to pray for her son. So we got permission to go into the ICU, and we prayed for him, and subsequently he recovered.

“Also, my (sales) partner and I would always pray together before we gave an educational sales presentation to a group of medical personnel.”

After ordination in 1980, Deacon Crandall was assigned to St. Peter Parish, in Spokane, for the first 15 years of his diaconate. For the past 10 years he has been attached to St. Paschal Parish in Spokane Valley.

In retirement, Deacon Jack is being kept active on several fronts. “My wife has Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. His advice to Catholics coping with a similar situation: “Go to Confession often. There are many stages you go through. Attend Eucharist often. Seek help. Pray a lot.”

Deacon Jack also hopes that retirement will allow him more time with his grown offspring and his 15 grandchildren, all of whom live in the Spokane area. And, “I’ll also still be working with Father Dan (Wetzler).”

After 25 years of diaconal ministry, Deacon Jack Crandall has come to the conclusion that “a deacon’s primary source of grace really comes through his wife. Anytime I went to any type of ministry, my wife always prayed over me first. The sacrament of marriage actually enhances the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

His advice to new deacons: “Listen to your wife! There’s a lot of wisdom there!”

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