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


Eighteen accepted as candidates for diaconate

Story and photos by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Aug. 18, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Cupich accepted 18 men as candidates for ordination to the diaconate during a Liturgy of the Word service Sunday afternoon, Aug. 7, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane.

The Rite of Admission to candidacy for ordination takes place when the candidates have evidenced “a maturity of purpose” as well as the necessary qualifications.

The most recent deacon formation class, under the direction of Father Mike Savelesky, has a wide representation of diocesan geography, with candidates from parishes in Brewster, Spokane, Pullman, Colbert, Deer Park, Walla Walla, Twisp, and Newport.

The candidates were asked to provide some basic background information about themselves, their families, and their present and future ministry.

José Aparicio (57) and his wife, Graciela, are from Sacred Heart Parish in Brewster. They have four adult children.

Aparicio has been involved with several parish ministries, including sacramental preparation programs and the choir. He hopes to minister with married couples after ordination.

Why he wants to be a deacon: “Because I can see a lot of needs in this community, especially among the Hispanics,” he said. “I would love to grow spiritually with my community.”

Bonifacio Arebalo (43) and his wife, Maribel, also from Sacred Heart in Brewster, have two children.

Arebalo has worked in agriculture for Gebbers Farms for the last eight years. In his parish, he has served as a sacristan, lector, Eucharistic minister, and in Cursillo.

He hopes to minister in catechesis for both children and adults, as well as altar ministry and ministry to the homebound.

Why he wants to be a deacon: “First of all, to serve my community … but God has chosen me for this mission … I want to serve and represent him … through my daily life and my actions and prayer.”

Craig Blomgren (56) and his wife, Cindy, are members of Assumption Parish, Spokane. They have two adult children.

Blomgren is a retired civilian electrician at Fairchild Air Force Base. He has been involved in several ministries, including ministry to the homebound, social concerns, sacramental preparation, and youth ministry. He joined the Catholic Church 10 years ago, and in his former denomination also served as a deacon for about 20 years.

After ordination, he’s especially looking forward to the ministries particular to the role of a deacon – ministry on the altar, weddings, vigils and funerals, and baptisms.

Why does he want to be a deacon? “I have always been a servant. I truly do feel called by God to do what I can for others. I have been blessed in my life and I feel it would be selfish of me not to offer myself to God and his people.”

H. Roy Buck (64) and his wife, Marge, live in Colbert but are members of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Spokane. They have two adult children.

For the last 26 years Buck has been an accountant for URM Stores. He has been ministering as a sacristan, lector, Eucharistic Minister, and in his parish’s RCIA program, among other things.

After ordination, he seems himself working with the elderly, in Hospice, teaching RCIA, engaging in outreach to fallen-away Catholics, and with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

“I have lived a life of service through youth sports, Scouting, Meals-on-Wheels, and various other church and charitable activities,” he said. “I have a deep desire within me, with the support of my wife, to offer myself completely through the grace given to me through the Sacrament of Holy orders to be a witness of Christ’s presence of service.”

Brian Ernst (53), and his wife, Julie, are members of Sacred Heart Parish, Spokane. They have five children, ranging in age from 16 to 30.

Ernst is an attorney, specializing in workers’ compensation. He is involved at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes with liturgical ministries at the daily 6:30 a.m. Mass and, at Sacred Heart, as a Eucharistic Minister, in marriage preparation, the Tree of Sharing, and the Thanksgiving Food Drive.

After ordination Ernst is anticipating working in social justice, particularly with Catholic Charities and with Hospice.

He wants to be a deacon, he said, because of his ‘faith in the call to serve God and God’s people in all I do.”

James Evermann (66) and his wife, Maureen, have four adult children. The Evermanns are members of Sacred Heart Parish in Pullman. He is a professor of infectious diseases/microbiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.

He presently serves as a hospital chaplain, with Hospice, and visits the homebound as a Eucharistic Minister. After ordination he hopes to expand his ministry to elder care, outreach ministries, and prison chaplaincy.

He counts many parish priests among the “mentors” who have helped him discern his call to diaconate. “I wish to serve Christ and to witness Christ in others. No better way to see Christ in others than to serve them to the best of my ability.”

Daniel Glatt (46) and his wife, Debbie, have three children, age 13-20, and while they are members of St. John Vianney Parish, Spokane Valley, they also have ties to Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane, where Dan has been a pastoral minister since 1998.

Besides youth ministry at Our Lady of Fatima, Glatt also works with Boy Scout Troop 431 at St. John Vianney. He sees further service to youth in his future, particularly through the Catholic Committee for Boy Scouts and Teens Encountering Christ retreats.

“I believe I have a vocational calling to be a deacon based on what others have seen in me,” he said. “My hope is that I can serve whatever community the bishop asks me to serve to the fullest of my gift and talents, with God’s help.”

Thomas Heavey (53) and his wife, Mary Colleen, have three adult children. The Heaveys are members of St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane.

Heavey works for Avista Utilities as a computer programmer/manager and as a computer programming consultant. He has been ministering through RCIA and liturgy at St. Thomas More, and with Catholic Charities at the House of Charity in Spokane. He anticipates continuing his focus on social ministry after ordination.

“I love sharing my faith and building community through services to the People of God,” he said. “God has blessed me with continuing and growing opportunities to work in the parish and community… This has brought me to the diaconate to answer the call shared through my family, the parish, and the Church.”

James Kestell (55), and his wife, Kathleen, have two adult children. The Kestells are members of St. Joseph Parish, Colbert.

Kestell works in the water department of the City of Spokane. His present ministries include being a Eucharistic Minister, a Knight of Columbus, and social concerns ministry. After ordination he hopes to explore ministry through nursing homes, hospitals, and Hospice, in pro-life crisis pregnancy, and through Nightwalk.

“As our Blessed Mother said ‘yes’ at the Annunciation and Jesus said ‘yes’ in the Garden at Gethsemane, I, too, wish to say ‘yes’ to Jesus…. I hope that by giving my gifts away the Holy Spirit will produce an abundant harvest for the Kingdom, good fruit for the Heavenly Banquet.”

Victor Lopez (56) and his wife, Evangeline, have one son at home. They are members of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

He retired from Bank of America three years ago. He is involved in his parish’s liturgical and social activities, including ministry as an altar server.

Lopez is interested in expanding his ministry to possibly hospital ministry and prison ministry as time goes by.

“I desire to bring people closer to God,” he said, especially through sacramental ministry – baptism, marriage, and preaching. “I know that at a certain point in my life, I became convinced that Christ was saying to me what he had said to thousands before me: ‘Come, follow me!’ … Through the diaconate, I will be able to concretely respond to God, who has first loved me.”

Perry Pearman (58) and his wife, Sheila, have one child at home. They are members of St. Mary’s Presentation Parish in Deer Park.

He is a senior project engineer with Ponderay Newsprint Company and serves St. Mary Parish as well as St. Jude Parish, Usk, as a lector and Eucharistic Minister.

He is interested in serving the church in social justice ministry, parish and ecumenical councils, and in ministry to the sick – in hospitals and nursing homes.

“Become a deacon is a result of saying the little ‘yesses’ to God,” he said. “At a certain point in my life and through growth in prayer I experienced a tremendous feeling of gratitude to our Creator. How do you thank the one that created you into existence? The only appropriate way is to give yourself back to him.”

Allen Peterson (65) and his wife, Linda, have four adult children. Allen and Linda are members of St. Anthony Parish in Spokane.

Peterson is the owner of Swede’s Fly Shop, a retail fly fishing store in Spokane.

He is presently involved with prison ministry at Airway Heights, as a Eucharistic minister, a lector, and altar server. He is also involved with his parish’s RCIA program and with the Knights of Columbus.

In days to come he is interested in Street Watch and serving meals to the poor.

“The deacon is the church visible in the world, ministering in service,” Peterson said. “I find joy and completeness in ministry work and also an awareness of a loving God changing my life the more I care and respond to the needs of others.”

Maclobio Robles (38) and his wife, Maria, have two teenage children. They are members of St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla. Robles owns and operates Mac’s Landscaping in Walla Walla.

He is already involved with Cursillo, sacramental preparation, parish council, and as a Eucharistic Minister. He is considering further ministry through prison and hospital chaplaincy.

Why does he want to be a deacon? “Because I want to fulfill God’s will, and to serve as a bridge and comfort to those who need it most.”

Jim Schwarzer (60) and his wife, Ann, have two adult children. The Schwarzers are also members of St. Anthony Parish in Spokane.

Schwarzer works in sales for River Ridge Hardware, and also owns an irrigation company.

He has served his parish as a Eucharistic minister and lector, and in the future would like to expand that to visiting the homebound, senior chore services, marriage preparation, and Engaged Encounter.

Simply put, “I want to be a deacon to serve God’s people,” Schwarzer said. “For a long time I have felt a quiet gentle pulling to do more than show up for Mass on Sunday…. In the pursuit of the diaconate I have finally found what I am comfortable with. This is the right choice. It is what God is calling me to do.”

Nick Senger (44) and his wife, Brenda, have four children, ranging in age from 7-20. The Sengers are members of St. Peter Parish in Spokane.

Since 1991 Senger has worked at All Saints School in Spokane – as a teacher, vice principal, and technology coordinator. He serves his parish as a member of the RCIA team and as a lector.

Future ministry interests include catechetics, advocacy for the poor and vulnerable, and evangelization through technology and new media.

“With so much suffering, confusion and despair in the world, I believe God is calling me to use my gifts and talents to help those in need and to inspire others to do the same,” said Senger. “I just want to serve.”

José Torres (46) and his wife, Margarita, have six children from age 5 to age 20. They are members of St. Joseph Parish in Spokane; Torres works at the House of Charity and has been leading baptismal preparation. Eventually he hopes to expand his ministry to pre-marital preparation and visiting the sick.

Diaconate, he said, is a ministerial gift of the Church. “As the father of six, I want to share with my children the best gift ever, meaning the love of God,” he said.

William Wehmeyer (65) and his wife, Julie Ann, live in Carlton, Wash, and are part of the parish community of St. Genevieve in Twisp. They have two adult children.

Wehmeyer retired in 2006 after a career in law enforcement and as a project manager and technical support for Spacelabs Medical.

He is engaged in a number of ministries in his parish, including lector and Eucharistic Minister to the homebound, baptism preparation, and other efforts.

In time he would like to explore more ministry with the sick and elder care programs.

The diaconate, he said, “is a calling that has been long in coming. The seed was planted very early in my life; however, it wasn’t until I retired and began to truly ask and listen that I recognized the direction I was being sent.

“As I continue to mature in my faith journey the choice to prepare for the diaconate has become a prayer that I am worthy to serve God and the many people of his family.”

John Westover (63) and his wife, Peggy, have three adult children. The Westovers are members of St. Anthony Parish, Newport, Wash. He and his wife are co-owners of Gold Star Realty Company.

At present, Westover’s ministry is focused at least in part on teaching – children’s religious education, RCIA, sacramental preparation. He also visits the homebound and serves liturgically as a lector and Eucharistic Minister.

He believes his future ministry will be much the same, particularly in terms of ministry to the homebound and catechetics.

“God’s call to the diaconate came as a complete surprise to me,” said Westover. Even though initially he struggled with the idea, “I finally said yes because I want to do God’s will….

“I want to serve God and his people.”

The deacon candidates and spouses pause for a group photo after the Rite of Candidacy Aug. 7 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane.


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