Deacon says his ministry not possible without Bishop’s Appeal

By | February 17, 2010

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Deacon John Ingala joins hands in prayer with Bernice Tulip during a recent pastoral visit. Outreach to the elderly and homebound is one of Deacon Ingala’s duties. Through Bishop’s Appeal contributions, he has been able to receive training that better prepares him for serving others. (Courtesy of the Bishop’s Appeal | For The Compass)

Deacon Ingala serves at St. Raphael the Archangel Parish. He said permanent deacons have three basic areas in which they work: charity and social justice; liturgy; and preaching. They can be witnesses at marriages and baptisms, assist the priests at Mass and assist or preside at vigils and funerals that are not part of a Mass.

“Depending on our own particular ministries, some deacons assist in prison ministry, marriage preparation and baptism preparation. They will do pastoral care to the sick in hospitals or long-term care facilities,” he said.

Funding from the Bishop’s Appeal supported Deacon Ingala’s four years of formation training. That training included courses in church tradition, history, Bible study and understanding why Catholics do the things they do as a church, he said.

“I can help others in our own church or those still journeying down that road in searching for their relationship with God,” he said. “I’m a little better prepared now to help people down that road.”

The Bishop’s Appeal also supports the commissioned ministry program and Catholic Charities, he said.

“These days, with all the people in need, Catholic Charities has been out there helping thousands of people throughout the diocese,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re Catholic or non-Catholic. If people are in need, Catholic Charities does a great job.”

Deacon Ingala has been part of the Oshkosh area community for more than 32 years. He has worked in the marketing field for most of that time, at Mercy Medical Center, at his own firm, Ingala and Associates, and as chief marketing officer and senior project partner for Willems Marketing in Appleton.

“From my perspective, the deacon is really that lay person who now happens to be an ordained clergy,” Deacon Ingala said. “As a lay person and an ordained person, the deacon has one foot in the world and one foot in the church. I try to be consistent in my work world and in my role as a deacon in the church. I hopefully can bring some of the Christian perspective back into the workplace.”

Outreach to the elderly is a big focus of Deacon Ingala’s ministry and he regularly visits retirement communities throughout the area.

“I preside at a Communion service, bringing the Word and the Eucharist and myself to those people who are living in those retirement communities,” he said. “They’re a little bit out of the mainstream and sometimes forgotten, yet they really are yearning to make that connection with the community and the church. A Communion service is a great opportunity to share with them and I learn a lot from them. We are coming together to celebrate the Eucharist and Scripture.”

Another active area of his ministry is a men’s ministry for men from all area parishes. He and Deacon Rick Hocking have formed Esto Vir Oshkosh — Latin for “Be a Man.” Since last May, more than 100 men have participated in the monthly program. On a Saturday morning, they offer prayer, speakers, refreshments and discussion.

“It’s a good time for men to come together and talk about their role in the church and what it means to be a man for Christ,” Deacon Ingala said.

He also participates in the men’s choir at St. Raphael and serves with 20 men in outreach programs throughout the parish that offer ministry and brotherhood.

Deacon Ingala said it is important for people to think and pray about how they can participate in the Bishop’s Appeal — and it doesn’t necessarily have to be monetarily.

“The reality is that everybody is struggling in some form or another,” he said. “Bishop (David) Ricken understands that not everybody can give more. There are other ways to support the Bishop’s Appeal. Once they think about it and pray about it, they will participate in some way in the Bishop’s Appeal. If it’s only through prayer that’s wonderful. If it’s through continued contributions, that’s wonderful. Everyone has to find their own path to support the Bishop’s Appeal.”

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