Weber thankful for God’s mercy

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | May 23, 2016

Newly ordained deacon also thankful for support from family and friends

ALLOUEZ — Deacon Zach Weber expected his emotions to come out when he was ordained a deacon on May 22 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. He said that he likely woudn’t be able to hide tears of gratitude.

“I’ll feel amazement from God’s mercy and goodness to call me out of a life of narcissism and surface-level thought into a life of selflessness and abiding communion with the Trinity,” he said in an interview prior to ordination. “I hope to spend time during the day before ordination with my family to tell them how thankful I am for their filial support and prayers. Memories from all of the people who I’ve encountered will most likely be going through my mind and heart as the day unfolds.”

Deacon Zach Weber greets guests following his ordination to the diaconate May 22 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)
Deacon Zach Weber greets guests following his ordination to the diaconate May 22 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

Deacon Weber is originally from the Milwaukee Archdiocese. He was born in Sheboygan and grew up in Howards Grove the youngest of four children of Mark and Elene Weber. His original home parish is St. John in Kohler. Deacon Weber is a graduate of Upper Iowa University and earned a master’s in Catholic philosophical studies following his first two years at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana. He is currently finishing a master’s in divinity at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.

Deacon Weber was vested at the ordination Mass by Fr. Daniel Schuster, vocation director for the Diocese of Green Bay. They met while Deacon Weber was applying to the priesthood for a different diocese. Fr. Schuster wasn’t in his current position at the time, but it didn’t stop him from reaching out.

“He has challenged me with great love, patience and courage, which helped me encounter the healing I needed to continue the path of discipleship as a seminarian and, God willing, as a priest,” said Deacon Weber. “There are times when I share what my meetings are like with Fr. Schuster with other seminarians from other dioceses and often I hear ‘Wow, you have a special vocations director. I wish my vocations director cared for us like that.’”

When Deacon Weber joined the Green Bay Diocese in 2011, he was adopted and welcomed by St. Mary Parish, Greenville. Friends from St. Mary and St. John, Kohler, were in attendance at the ordination. They joined the Weber family, including siblings, PJ, Rachel and Nathan; sister-in-law, Jen; brother-in-law, Chris; and three nieces, Madelyn, Luci and Lydia, whom Deacon Weber calls his “three little prayer warriors.”

Deacon Weber is also thankful to the sisters from the Missionaries of the Word and friends from Catholic Youth Expeditions, St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Gurnee, Ill., and both Corpus Christi Parish in Sturgeon Bay and Holy Name of Mary Parish in Maplewood, where he will serve as a deacon this summer, for their support and sharing in his ordination day.

Priests who attended in support included Frs. Peter Mitchell (Greenville); Bob Lotz (Kohler); Carl Schmitt (Sturgeon Bay/Maplewood) and Marek Duran (Mundelein). His best friend Ben Plocar and his wife, Abbey, and newborn daughter, Brynn, also joined the congregation, along with classmate Martin Moreno from the Diocese of Tucson, Ariz.

Deacon Weber looks forward to visiting the sick and poor, preaching and teaching the richness of the faith as a deacon. When he entered seminary in 2011, Deacon Weber received some good preaching advice.

“Fr. Ryan Krueger told me, ‘To stay fired up about preaching, you need to listen to passionate men who open up the Word of God every Sunday.’ I’ve been listening to Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Larry Richards and Fr. John Riccardo every Sunday since he said that. The joy and love these men have for preaching the word of God has inspired me to want to preach in a way that moves hearts: accept Jesus as Lord, to receive Divine Mercy and live a virtuous life of discipleship by giving one’s life away for the glory of God,” he explained.

Deacon Weber’s first Mass as a deacon will be at 10 a.m. on May 29 at St. Mary Church, Greenville. He hopes the ordination rite inspires others to say “yes” to Jesus.

“When I felt called to the priesthood in 2007, I was very fearful because I knew little, if anything about the Catholic faith and priesthood,” he said. “However, after taking a deep look at the priesthood, (God) has removed my fears and showed me how full of joy he wants me to be.”

View more ordination photos on our Flickr page.


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