The newly ordained deacons that continue their studies at Mt. Angel Abbey Seminary are assigned to continue their pastoral formation at a local parish. Deacon John Becerra for the Archdiocese of Portland is placed at St. Luke’s Parish in Woodburn; he serves as a deacon and prepares for his upcoming priestly ordination in June of 2016.
The parish is made up of 2150 families of which 60% are Hispanic and the rest are Anglo. It is a vibrant community that keeps busy year round with catechetical programs, celebration of the sacraments, and different ministries. Fr. Jim Coleman, the pastor, is a native of Salem and a 1968 graduate Mount Angel Seminary.
Fr. Coleman has been the pastor for the past two and a half years and is proud to support the Pastoral Formation team by having a deacon serve at his parish. The parish has a total of five masses during the weekend and is also in charge of St. Agnes, a mission parish in Hubbard. Fr. Coleman is assisted by another graduate of Mount Angel Seminary, Fr. Scott Baier, who also served as a deacon there during his deacon year and is now associate pastor.
The Call to Serve
Deacon John described his experience at the parish as a true joy in his heart and looks forward to spending as much time as possible with the community. He stated, “To be a deacon is a great responsibility; we are performing a ministry in the name of Jesus.”
Deacon John will attend the Saturday night vigil and will take turns attending the masses in Spanish or English on Sunday. His other activities include participating in the catechizing of the confirmation group, the RCIA groups for the Anglo and Hispanic communities, and other ministries like the meetings for the Knights of Columbus and visiting the families.
|Deacon John Becerra|
Pastoral Formation at Mt. Angel Seminary
The seminarians of Mount Angel are all assigned to ministries off-site that will help form their pastoral qualities in the pillar of Pastoral Formation. Fr. Steven Clovis, the director of Pastoral Formation, said, “My first priority when assigning a deacon to a parish is to assign a deacon to a good example of priestly service.”
The importance lies completely in the deacon learning and being guided by the community and the mentorship of the pastor. Fr. Clovis said, “I try to assign the deacons to those pastors in the archdiocese whom I believe are good mentors, teachers and not just good pastors.” Fr. Coleman said, “My hope is that Deacon John gets pastoral experience, and especially gets to know what concrete parish life looks like.”
For Deacon John, Fr. Coleman is a wise fatherly figure who has forty-two years of experience since his ordination. “I look up to him and I respect him; I will follow my pastor,” Deacon John said. “I ask him questions about various matters from administration to his understanding on moral questions.”
Deacon John expressed a feeling of care for the community and asks that we pray for him and for the whole deacon class. In turn he will pray constantly for the people of St. Luke’s and prays that God will help him understand what He wants him to say.