Deacon Candidate David Harkins- Our Lady of Hope Parish, Blackwood.
I am a member of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Blackwood, NJ. I am married to my wife Lisa, and the father of a teenage son with disabilities, David Jr., and a teenage daughter, Grace. I am currently a full time law enforcement officer and a candidate in the diaconate formation program for the Diocese of Camden. My father is was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for the Diocese of Camden in 1988, and he is currently retired with faculties.
I originally resisted my calling to the diaconate. I had fear of the unknown and made excuses to myself like:
-I am too busy to go to class.
-I don’t know if I can handle going to class and doing “school work”.
-I do enough, how can I find the time to do anymore?
However, the feeling that God was calling me to the Permanent Diaconate was always there. Now you may be thinking that my father was pushing me to be a deacon. But the truth is that my dad never directly asked me if I wanted to be a deacon. In hindsight, he simply set an example for me, and he found great joy in serving the Church. Along with the example of many other faithful priests and deacons, I noticed the impact that they were having on the people that they served.
I attended the diaconate ordination of a friend and fellow parishioner, and my pastor at the time asked me to consider applying to become a deacon. When I spoke to my wife about it, she told me she was not surprised that I wanted to look into becoming a deacon. It was clear to me, that the Lord was telling me something. We attended an information session, and I applied.
My experience so far with the formation process has been more rewarding and fulfilling than I thought was possible. Every class has expanded my knowledge of our Catholic faith, and the formation process is developing my spirituality in ways that I could not have imagined. I can say that the time needed for formation is manageable with a working schedule and family life. I look forward to being with my brother candidates and wives, and enjoy the time spent learning about the Faith and the Church. I am still able to fulfill all of my responsibilities at home and at work. The classes and “school work” are based on adult learning, and are NOT overwhelming. I believe that the formation process has made me a better husband, father, and co-worker. It has magnified my desire to serve, and deepened my love of Christ. I now realize that I want to do more.
If you are a man who is eligible and is thinking of becoming a deacon, my advice is this:
GO FOR IT! DO NOT BE AFRAID! YOU CAN HANDLE IT! Continue to pray about it, and contact the Diaconate Office to get more information. God will provide for all that you need!