Wife: Shelly Bartels
How long have you been married? 28 years
Children: Rashele, Kyle, Adam and Owen.
Home parish: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Grand Junction
Favorite Saint: St. Teresa of Avila
Favorite type of prayer: Contemplative
Favorite Scripture passage:Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)
Briefly describe your journey in getting to this point:
It is interesting how, on looking back on our lives, we can discern by the light of faith God’s intervention into our personal history. It’s one of the great mysteries of human existence: That God, through our free choices, can move us to the places he determines for our good and the good of others. As for my life, it is clear that it has been a process directed by God in preparation for the diaconate. My life experiences, my wife, children and family, all I have seen and done, seem to culminate in the choice to serve Christ as a deacon.
How did you know God was calling you to be a deacon?
Discerning the call to the diaconate was a long, involved and, at times, confusing journey. When God first began encouraging me to become a deacon, his call was subtle, which I interpreted simply as passing interior thoughts about what it might be like to be a deacon. Consequently, I would often dismiss the idea, only to have these thoughts about the diaconate resurface with greater strength. Over time, God’s call to the diaconate amplified, and I found myself thinking about it frequently. Soon, other people began to ask me, in what seemed an arbitrary way, if I had ever thought of becoming a deacon, which at first was quite a surprise. Eventually, as God’s call grew to an undeniable strength and clarity, I knew without question that it was his will for me to enter formation.
What you are most looking forward to as a deacon?
I want to immerse myself in the will of the Father and become like Christ. I often pray for Christ to make me an instrument of his glory, for in that end is everything. Of course, one does not have to be a deacon to serve our Lord, but I see the diaconate as both a wondrous blessing and an opportunity to give myself to God (along with a huge dose of responsibility!). Perhaps what I am most excited about as a future deacon is preaching, evangelization and catechesis, since I feel called to these areas, and am convinced that they are greatly needed in the contemporary Church. Most of all, my hope is to help people experience God and become more aware of his unceasing presence, increase their faith in Christ and their love for and dedication to mother Church, and live their lives in attentiveness to the indwelling Spirit whose divine impulses constantly and delicately shape human hearts.
How has your wife helped you in the formation process?
I must say at the outset that I could not have survived deacon formation without my wife, Shelly. Although there were, naturally, times when she had concerns and felt some degree of reservation about the diaconate, which is an integral and important part of the process a couple goes through, she has been highly supportive throughout formation. Much of her aid has been in the background, taking care of what she can in order to ease the workload at home, help me make the numerous six hour trips to Pueblo from Grand Junction, and encourage me to walk forward each day. As with any successful marriage, it’s all about mutual willingness to give of self and teamwork. Thank you, my dear wife!