October 22, 2023

Dear Parish Family,

In this time of harvest, these words of Jesus have special meaning:

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.

Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest

to send out laborers for his harvest.

Matthew 9:37-38 

Good Shepherd is blessed with a response to that prayer. For the past two years, our parishioner, Michael Nowakowski, has been in our Diocesan Permanent Diaconate Formation Program. These first two years are part of a five year process of prayer, discernment, reflection, conferences, and weekly graduate school level classes in theology and Church life. Not only is Mike busy with this program, Cathy, his wife, is also engaged in a special formation process for the wives of the men in formation.

There are 16 men in this formation group. I am humbled to be the Director of Spiritual Formation for the program and am blessed to witness the faith, hope, love, and dedication of the men and their wives. I am inspired by their faithfulness and commitment, not only to each other but to God and His Church.

For the past two years, Mike has been an “Aspirant,” meaning one who is aspiring, testing the waters, and figuring out the next step. On September 23, 2023, an important step was taken on this formation journey. Mike, along with his classmates, were admitted as Candidates.  Admission as a Candidate means that the Aspirant has been invited by the Bishop to enter a formal 3 year preparation for ordination. Candidacy is the first official recognition by Holy Mother Church that this man may very well have a vocation to Holy Orders. During this period the Candidate will receive advanced theological education and practical diaconal formation. 

Please join me in congratulating, thanking, and praying for Mike and Cathy. May God grant them every grace and blessing they need.  

During this third year of formation, in addition to classes and conferences, Mike will be spending some “extra” time here at Good Shepherd providing supplemental help in our liturgical life at the altar and behind the scenes as part of his formation experience.

Speaking of the Nowakowski’s… Cathy has stepped forward to help organize and reboot our Parish Library.

Grace and peace, 

Father Neil Sullivan