Rappl is confident in call from God to serve

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | May 23, 2016

‘I hope the graces of ordination will continue to unfold,’ says new deacon

ALLOUEZ — Deacon Matthew Rappl anticipated that there would be some nerves on May 22 when he was ordained to the diaconate, but also a confidence in the call from God to serve.

“I hope that the graces of ordination will continue to unfold in my life as I strive to encounter God in every place and situation that I am placed,” he said in an interview prior to ordination. “I will be praying for lots of people during the Mass, particularly for the people that have led me up to this moment and for all those that God will continue to place in my life.”

Newly ordained Deacon Matthew Rappl kisses the stole presented to him by Fr. Ryan Starks during the ordination of deacons May 22 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral May 22. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)
Newly ordained Deacon Matthew Rappl kisses the stole presented to him by Fr. Ryan Starks during the ordination of deacons May 22 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral May 22. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Deacon Rappl’s home parish is St. Gabriel the Archangel in Neenah. Following graduation from St. Mary Central High School in 2009, he entered St. John College Seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Mn. He is currently a seminarian at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, Wis.

Deacon Rappl looks forward to assisting at the altar as a deacon and walking with the people of the parish. This summer, he will serve at St. Joseph Parish, Wautoma. In the fall, he will assist at St. Leonard Parish in Muskego while he finishes his last year of theological studies.

Deacon Rappl’s first Masses as a deacon will be at 5 p.m. on May 28 in Muskego and 8 a.m. May 29 at St. Gabriel the Archangel. Much like the ordination Mass, he said that he is both anxious and confident about preaching. God will provide the necessary grace, he explained.

“There comes a time when you have to start praying on ‘what does Jesus want to say to these people?’ and trust that with the necessary preparation, God will work through you,” he said.

Deacon Rappl’s past ministry experiences include serving at St. Leonard, on the Catholic Youth Expeditions staff, mission work in Jamaica, taking part in a prayer and priestly spirituality program at Creighton University, a Spanish immersion program in Mexico and Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill. He is thankful for all who support him, especially his parents, Jim and Karen Rappl.

“They baptized me and taught me by their example,” he said. “They sacrificed a lot putting three boys through Catholic education, which always showed that it was a priority for them. Sunday Mass was always a priority in our family.”

Deacon Rappl, who is the youngest of the three sons (older brothers, Aaron and Brian, both married), also points to Fr. Richard Allen, his pastor for 18 years in Neenah for his faith example; Fr. Quinn Mann for challenging him “to be a better young man”; Frs. Tom Long and Daniel Schuster for walking with him through the process of discernment and seminary; and Mother Mary Catherine of the Missionaries of the Word for a “beautiful witness of joy for a life lived solely for Jesus.”

Mark Constancio, one of his high school religion teachers, who died this spring, also had a profound impact,” he added.

“He opened our young minds to the ‘big questions’ and was all about forming young servant leaders,” said Deacon Rappl. “He was a great man, admired by many for his encouraging and supportive heart.”

Fr. Ryan Starks vested Deacon Rappl at the ordination Mass.  They met while Rappl was on a seminary visit.

“He helped me along the way, into and during my first year of college seminary,” said Deacon Rappl. “His prayer and support have meant so much to me … I have always looked up to him as he progressed in seminary and was ordained and served in parishes.”

Deacon Rappl said that he has been blessed to live in two seminary communities the past seven years, “committed to prayer, service, learning and fraternity in such an intentional way.” He’s ready to get to work as a deacon.

“I look back with gratitude on the journey my life has taken and ask God for the grace to live well the work that he has in store for me,” he said. “I look at ministry as a way to give thanks to God for the blessings I have received.”

View more ordination photos on our Flickr page.

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