Meet Deacon Tim, Part II

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In my last article I talked a bit about my wife, my children, and my grandchildren. Anyone who knows me well knows that my family is a source of great joy in my life. I would like to spend some time in this article sharing about my family growing up and some of the experiences that shaped me.

I am the fourth of five children born into a traditional Catholic family. I grew up in St. Anthony, a suburb of Minneapolis. My home parish was St. Charles Borromeo, where I attended Catholic school from first through eighth grade. Being a child of the 60s, almost every mother on our block was a stay-at-home mom. It was typical for every family to have several children, and there were few exceptions to this. Most of the families on our block were Catholic, and almost everyone went to St. Charles School. On most days, we walked to school, but if it was too cold, icy or raining, one of the moms would drive us in the station wagon.

 

I fondly recall my days as an altar server at St. Charles. My great claim to fame is that I served for Bishop John Roach, as he was assigned as an interim pastor at St. Charles after he was ordained a bishop. It was a great honor to serve for a bishop.

By seventh grade, I was already nearly six feet tall, and this meant that most of the server cassocks did not match my height. I had the special privilege of wearing a more traditional cassock and Father assisted me with the cincture. I certainly felt proud wearing that special garment! Later in my career, I had the opportunity to lector at school Masses. These early experiences definitely shaped my love for the Church.

As I reflect back on my childhood, I have many happy memories of growing up in a big family with loving parents and siblings. I was educated in a Catholic school by sisters and lay teachers who were dedicated to their faith and to learning. I spent four years at Totino Grace High School during the 1970s. This was a time of meeting new friends and trying out new things. It is also the place where I met my beautiful wife, Anne! I continued to learn about my faith during those high school years and learn about serving the needs of others through my school experiences, as well.

 A turning point for me in high school was going to Dunrovin Retreat Center for my senior retreat. I remember being apprehensive about this retreat as it was one of my first experiences of being away from home. I vividly recall sitting on the floor in the big retreat hall and talking about my faith with my peers. I was surprised at how easily I was able to do this, and how open others were as well. I enjoyed hearing about other people’s faith journeys. It was an awakening for me at a time in my life when I needed to have a life compass pointed in the right direction, and my faith helped to point me in the right direction.

Foundations are so important in life. When we build a house, we set it on a solid foundation, firmly grounded, so that it will still be standing 50 years from now. The same is true of our faith. We need the foundation that grounds us in Christ, so that we can weather the storms of life that will inevitably come our way. I am grateful for the good foundation that I was blessed with in my early years. I know that it set me on a path of seeking to know more about Jesus.

It is important now and then to look back at where we came from, to know our roots and to see how those early experiences formed us. May the God who loves us beyond our wildest imagining continue to surprise us with new experiences of His presence in our lives.

Blessings and peace in Christ,

Deacon Tim

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