Hendricks says years as catechist helped form his faith, led him to diaconate

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | July 29, 2020

Hendricks excited for parish outreach

ALLOUEZ — Rob Hendricks, who will serve as a deacon at SS. Edward and Isidore Parish, Flintville, has advice for Catholics seeking to learn more about the faith.

Rob Hendricks

“I have been teaching religious education for 30 years and discovered that if you really want to understand your faith, try teaching it to children,” he said.

Ministry involvement began at a young age for Hendricks, who was born and raised in Tigerton. His parents, Jeanne and Bob Hendricks, were active at St. Anthony Parish.

They “raised all of us with a respect for Jesus Christ,” said Hendricks. “I was a server, lector and high school representative for the parish council.”

Hendricks met his wife, Phyllis, as a student at UW-Stevens Point. They have been married for 35 years and have three children and two grandchildren. Hendricks’ work in retail management prompted nine moves in nine years.

A position in business development for the Oneida Tribe brought them to Suamico.

For the past nine years, Hendricks has worked in business development for the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Bowler.

Prior to joining SS. Edward and Isidore Parish, Hendricks served as a lector, religious education teacher and parish council president at St. Benedict Parish in Suamico. In Flintville, he has served on several committees, including groundskeeping, food pantry, Christian formation and as president of the parish council. Hendricks has also ministered as a lector, acolyte and extraordinary minister of holy Communion in addition to teaching religious education. Phyllis is the religious education coordinator for middle school, high school and confirmation at the parish.

Even with his extensive ministry experience, Hendricks said that he was not confident that he had a call to serve others as a deacon when he was first asked.

“During my theology classes at St. Norbert, the call became more prevalent and I entered the diaconate program,” he explained. “Over the past five years, my desire to fully participate in the church and serve my parish community has become a reality.”

Hendricks is currently working on his thesis for a master’s degree in theology from St. Norbert College. He and Phyllis are graduates of the Emmaus Program of the Green Bay Diocese with an emphasis in religious education.

The late Fr. Dave Kasperek, longtime pastor at SS. Edward and Isidore, was among the faith examples for Hendricks. He recalls Fr. Kasperek’s passion for gardening.

“Or ‘plant seeds’ as he would say,” said Hendricks. “Planting seeds was his living example of planting faith in our hearts, providing nourishment through Jesus Christ and watching it grow.”

Through Fr. Kasperek, Hendricks met Fr. Paul Demuth, who has served as his spiritual director for the past four years.

“Through our conversations, Fr. Paul always brings everything back to how Jesus is active and guiding us in our lives,” said Hendricks.

Deacon Mike Dabeck of Nativity of Our Lord Parish, Ashwaubenon, is Hendricks’ deacon mentor. He is also thankful for the support of Fr. Dave Hoffman, pastor at SS. Edward and Isidore, whom he said “will provide plenty of training in the next few years.”

Hendricks plans to continue to work with youth through religious education and said that he will discover his role to serve others in the parish community as a deacon.

“I have had the pleasure of teaching religious education for the past 30 years and probably know more youth in the parish by name than I do their parents,” he said. “I will work on that. As a deacon, my parish life will become more involved in the baptisms, marriages and prayer services for our faith community. Our church offers plenty of opportunities in ministry and I am anxious to begin.”

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