By Liz Sullivan
For three men and their families, the journey to the Permanent Diaconate is almost complete.
On May 19, at 9:30 a.m., at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Joseph, Carl A. Bugarin, Philip Andrew McCarty and Richard M. Noack will be ordained deacons for the Diocese of San Jose during a Mass celebrated by Bishop Patrick J. McGrath.
For each of the men, the path has been different, but the destination the same.
“I never thought about being a deacon,” said McCarty, a member of Saint Christopher Parish. “Then I received a voicemail from my pastor at the time, Monsignor Wilfredo Manrique, asking me if I ever thought about it. It then became a process of discernment and trying it on. Do I fit with this? I thought and prayed about this a lot. Now this feels right.”
In Richard Noak’s case, his pastor 35 years ago in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, saw something in the 25-year old that told him Noack might make a good deacon, even though men can’t begin the 7-year process until they reach 35.
Also, in the Diocese of San Jose, candidates must complete the three-year Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM).
“It has been something I have been thinking about most of my life, my adult life,” said Noack, also a member of Saint Christopher Parish. “When I got accepted to the program I tracked down the priest who made the initial suggestion, wrote him a letter and told him how everything made sense. Two weeks later I received a very nice letter back from him.”
A member of Saint Victor Parish, Bugarin said it was a suggestion of Deacon Mel Magat that led him to consider being a deacon. And as fate would have it, there was a copy of The Valley Catholic in the church and it was opened to an article by Father Joseph Benedict on how to be a deacon. Bugarin thought he would have to wait a year to join ILM because he made his decision too late to enroll, but someone dropped out, opening a place for him.
“I was a lector at Mass and I observed him,” said Bugarin. “I was not sure I would be able to make the seven-year commitment, but Deacon Mel told me to take it a year a time.”
These three men have juggled their studies for the diaconate with their first vocations as husbands and fathers. Each of the candidates credits his wife with traveling with him on this journey.
“The support I have received from my wife Kerry and my family has been a tremendous gift,” said McCarty. “I am so appreciative.”
Said Bugarin about his wife Emmy, “I would not have succeeded here if it were not for her freeing me to do the things I needed to do.”
Added Noak about his wife Sue, “She has been so supportive of me. It is something we’ve been able to do together.”
Bugarin, McCarty and Noack will learn their parish assignments just prior to their ordination.
For photos and a story on the ordination checkout the June 5 issue of The Valley Catholic.