Bob King prays with Bishop James P. Powers at the Chancery in Superior in August. King’s participation in diocesan training programs funded through the Catholic Services Appeal has benefited his parish, Holy Family in Woodruff. He is currently studying for the permanent diaconate. (Submitted photo)

Bob King
Holy Family, Woodruff

Editor’s note: Bob King is the parish administrator at Holy Family, Woodruff. He has taken advantage of several diocesan programs, all of which are funded through the Catholic Services Appeal, over the years. He is currently studying for the permanent diaconate.

Before I began working at Holy Family, I started attending Professional Development Days offered by the diocese. I find these one-day opportunities to learn and grow help ground me in my faith.  Additionally, the content often extends beyond faith and parish work, and so I find the sessions to be refreshing and rewarding. An added benefit is the opportunity to meet and network with diocesan staff as well as staff members from other churches around the diocese.

Last year I participated in the training to become a Lay Leader of Prayer. This was another opportunity to meet and network with other parish staff members. While learning how to lead Word and Communion service, we were able to tap the knowledge of the facilitators to gain a deeper understanding of the sanctifying grace that comes with receiving Eucharist and the theology underlying the rubrics of the service. Following my certification I joined other Lay Leaders of Prayer in our parish that preside at Word and Communion each Monday morning. I know they join me in feeling blessed for the special privilege it is to be able to provide the body of Christ to our parishioners when our pastor is away.

Of all the diocesan services offered, perhaps one I would single out as a hidden gem is Servant Leadership. My wife and I attended the “school” a few years ago and found it immensely rewarding for deepening our understanding of the Catholic faith and in opening our eyes to the many ways of serving as disciples of Christ. Participants can choose to attend one or more of the weekend workshops, or attend all nine monthly sessions offered by the Office of Ecclesial Ministries. Servant Leadership provides an excellent opportunity to network with other servant leaders from around the diocese.

Following my certification as a Servant Leader, I entered a five-year formation period to become ordained as a deacon, God willing. Along with three other men and their wives within our diocese (including a second couple from Holy Family in Woodruff), the journey has been enriching and humbling at the same time. Diaconate formation is facilitated by the Diocese of La Crosse, but our diocesan staff have been very supportive and resourceful. They remain vigilant on our progress, check in with us regularly, and encourage our development. Our parishioners have been amazing with prayer and financial support. All this diocesan and local parish support is enabling us as deacon candidates to learn and experience the many ministries we hope to serve upon ordination.