May 3, 2014 we continue our diaconate journey…
This week the majority of the class time was covered with a guest speaker, Tim Staples from Catholic Answers. Tim is a Catholic Apologist. This is a field of theology, which has the aim to present a rational basis for the Roman Catholic faith and defending it against objections. Tim had not always been a Catholic. In fact, he was a member of the Assemblies of God Church, as well as a Youth Pastor and was attending Bible College to become a Senior Pastor. Prior to Bible College, he had been in the Marine Corps. It was here that he met the first Catholic who knew the Bible better than he did, a Sargent in the Marine Core and a devout Catholic, had the resources and the knowledge to go toe to toe with Tim, their discussions were both enlighten and a bit frustrating to Tim. The other thing that surprised Tim is that, if this person did not know the answer, he would write the question down, research the question, get the answer, and then contact Tim so that they could discuss it.
Tim continued in Bible College. All the time he kept reading about the Catholic Church. He read books from the Church Pastors & Doctors, also books that were written by Saints, historians and clergy. The more he read, the more he began to believe in the Catholic Church. The day finally came when he knew that being a Pastor in the Assemblies of God Church, was not in his future. He did know being a Catholic was. Tim talked about how he fought the thought of conversion to Catholicism tooth and nail. He prayed that God would help him to discern the right direction to go, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and knowledge to go in the right direction. He was in one of the small chapels at the college, praying on his knees for guidance when the Holy Spirit came upon him and he had his answer, but Tim was not ready for the answer. He exited the Chapel knowing he was meant to be Catholic, leaving the Pentecostal Church behind him, but realizing he was neither Pentecostal nor Catholic, so he went home, knowing he had to talk with his family about this conversion. Therein was his dilemma, his family were hard core Pentecostal, when Tim arrived at home he was met by his mother and brother asking him how Bible College was going!!!! He talked to his Mom and Brother for the rest of the night, knowing that the conversation was necessary for them to understand what the Holy Spirit had given him. Within two years, his mother had converted and his brother had also converted and became a parish priest. Five years later his father, a die hard Baptist also converted. On the day of his confirmation and Communion he wept in Tim’s arms, thanking him for the gift of the Eucharist and of the risen Christ.
A Catholic Apologist is not something that someone becomes overnight. It requires a special gift and many years of education and training. There are many questions that are asked and having the correct answers that apply to our faith is a wonderful to have a discussion and express our faith in a prayerful and loving way.
Although most may not be able to recite the source where specific beliefs come from, it is important that we all have an idea of where go to look things up. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” is an excellent source of information as well as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Web site. The organization Tim Staples is with, Catholic Answers, also has a website. Lastly, one of the closest and best resources available to members of Holy Family is our Bookstore. See the favorite books of Cambria and Monsignor as well as Fr. Niall.
The best piece of information that Tim gave us was that, if you come across a person that is angry with the Catholic Church, rather than trying to defend a specific belief or area, ask them to explain what they are angry about and above all, listen to them, share your faith and seek the answers together. God has given us the wonderful gifts of compassion and understanding, when we discuss our faith, rituals and beliefs we share those gifts.
If you are interested in becoming a Deacon or a Deacon Couple for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, please contact:
3424 Wilshire Boulevard, 2nd Floor Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241 213-637-7383
Or, Attend an information day: Sunday, July 20, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. Jerome Parish, 5550 Thornburn St. Los Angeles, CA 90045
Sunday, October 26, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Incarnation Community Center, 214 West Fairview Ave. Glendale, CA 91202
If you have any questions about the Diaconate, please ask us or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. As we complete this calendar year’s classes, we would again like to thank all of you. Thank you for your continued prayers. Thank you for your continued support. Lastly, thank you for the occasional question on how that “deacon thing” is going.
Candy & Jay Krueger, Candidacy Year I, Diaconate Formation, Holy Family Church, South Pasadena, CA