“Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.”

Ever since Our Lady of Lourdes became a partnership church 5 years ago, and being a board member and now the president of the board, I have had the opportunity to reflect on how my ministry as a Deacon in the Catholic Church has been impacted by EPH. In the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6, Stephen (considered the first Deacon) along with six others were called to take care of those in need, allowing the Apostles to continue preaching and spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to others. This scripture reading and remembering that the title Deacon comes from the Greek word “Diakonia,” which means to serve, reminds me of the calling I had back in the mid 90’s – the calling to be of service to God’s people in whatever way I could.

When I see firsthand all the hard work and time that is given by the volunteers from the EPH partnership churches preparing a newly purchased house or preparing one of the transitional units for our next family, I am reminded of what the Bishop said at my ordination in May of 2003. Upon placing the Book of the Gospels in my hands he said these words, “Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach.” I believe in EPH and its mission to help families who are struggling get to a point where they are self-sufficient. I preach about it in my homilies, encouraging others to get involved. The toughest part of what the Bishop said to me is practicing what I preach – “getting my hands dirty” like so many of our volunteers do every day. So thank you to all those who are serving others within this wonderful ministry, and thank you for reminding me that Deacon is more than a title. Deacon

Michael VanderBloomen