One of the great challenges of life is deciding what challenge to take on. When Deacon Kevin Fuller was younger, he had considered becoming a priest, but determined that it was not the route for him.
Growing up in the North Platte area, Deacon Kevin Fuller never saw any deacons in Mass. Deacons were not used in Western Nebraska until 2004, so he was not exposed to his future calling in his early life. He went on to marry and have three children.
The process of being ordained as a deacon is a long and prayerful one. For the first year of the process, he prayed and met monthly with a spiritual director. For the following three years, he met regularly with a group of men and their wives to pray and practice their diaconal duties. He then moved to Omaha and feared he would need to start the process anew. “Originally, I thought they were going to have me join the Class of 2019, which would have been basically starting over, so I was kind of disappointed, but I decided, ok, if that’s God’s will, then I’ll do it,” Fuller said. Despite this possible setback, he was able to pick up where he had left off in the Grand Island Diocese and graduate with the Class of 2016 rather than the Class of 2019. He was ordained on Aug. 6 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.
His wife played a large role in his discernment process. Whenever the decision was difficult or the correct path was unclear, he and his wife prayed. “My wife and I were asked to pray and see if it was really God’s call,” Fuller said.
“I remember about two weeks before my ordination, sitting in the cathedral praying before we had practice. At that point, I just prayed, ‘Jesus, I can’t go forward any more without your help… you have to take the steps from here on out because I can’t do it alone’ and Jesus did,” Fuller said.
Deacons in the Catholic Church can baptize, witness marriages, conduct funeral services and lead prayers. Deacons also identify needs of others and usher the Church’s resources in those areas. These roles and more stem from the sacramental identity that comes from being ordained as a deacon.
As of now, only men can become deacons, but Pope Francis has created a commission to investigate the possibility of adding women deaconesses to the church. Archbishop Luis Ladaria from Spain is heading the 12-person commision, comprised of six men and six women.
Assigned to Marian by the Archdiocese, Deacon Fuller had the opportunity to serve at the Welcome Mass on Sept. 25. He describes this moment as both humbling and awesome. “It was really awesome to look out and see everybody and to get to be up around the altar. It was really, really awesome,” Fuller said.
Fuller says he is happy with his decision. “I really love it! It’s been really great. Just the first month has been really powerful and overwhelming. The amount of support and encouragement from people I have known over the years has been really a blessing,” Fuller said.