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

Matthew Nicks to be ordained a deacon April 29 at Assumption, Spokane

by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the April 12, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Sunday, April 29, Diocese of Spokane seminarian Matthew Nicks (right), 23, will be ordained a deacon at Spokane’s Assumption Parish, at the 10:30 a.m. Mass.

Nicks has been serving a pastoral year in Assumption, and he will serve as a deacon there until August, when he will return to the North American College, Rome. There he will complete his final year of seminary studies prior to ordination to the priesthood, tentatively scheduled for next year.

Nicks grew up in Spokane, where his family belongs to St. Peter Parish. His parents are Jim and Vickie Nicks, and he has two teenage siblings: a brother, Jenya, and a sister, Samantha.

He attended All Saints School. For high school, he attended Ferris part-time and was home-schooled as well. During what would have been his senior year in high school, he enrolled in the Running Start program at Spokane Community College, where he earned an Associates degree. He then transferred to Gonzaga University, where he graduated in philosophy in 2003.

Following graduation from Gonzaga, Nicks was sent to Rome for theological studies at the North American College, at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas. Nicks says what he has most appreciated about his experience in Rome “the opportunity to be in the historic heart of the church, to be immersed in the history that is there, as well as to experience the universality of the church that you find there. It’s like a microcosm of the universal church that you get to participate in. The main ‘minus’ about being there is that I love our area in the Northwest; I love the fact that it’s green here, and Rome is not very green. They have beautiful structures in Rome, but there’s not a lot of Nature in Rome.”

While in the Eternal City, Nicks has enjoyed the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling. “I’ve been in Spain, England, Switzerland, and the Holy Land. I’ve been in Serbia, of all places. That’s another fantastic element of being in Rome, having that opportunity to travel.”

Finishing his studies there in the spring of 2006, Nicks returned to Spokane in mid-June. He has been on staff at Assumption since mid-August last year. “It’s been a very positive experience,” he says. “I’ve had many opportunities to teach, in the context of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), or youth group. I prepared a three-part series on spirituality. I’ve taught in religious education classes on Sundays. I also bring Communion to the sick and home-bound.”

During his time at Assumption, Nicks has learned that he “loves” to teach, especially for “a variety of different groups, on different topics.”

Prior to being approved for ordination as a deacon, the future priest had to undergo numerous evaluations along the way.

“I had to turn in a self-evaluation, staff evaluations, and supervisor evaluations,” he said. “I had to turn those in to the seminary faculty in Rome, and they had a sit-down with the faculty and had a vote, with respect to me. Then after the vote, they send in a recommendation to the bishop with respect to ordination. On top of that, I need to make a formal, hand-written request – which I have not yet done. We haven’t gotten the paperwork back on the formal vote, so I was waiting on that before I do the hand-written (request). That’s the basic process.”

One of his new responsibilities as a deacon will be to preach at liturgies. “I’m looking forward to that,” he said. Nicks says that he personally likes a homily to be “very direct, and well put-together, not a lot of wandering or a lot of extra words. The presentation should be direct and not very long.”

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