First Class… finally!

by Christine on September 28, 2011

Friday, September 9th on a beautiful & sunny afternoon Scott packed his overnight bag (that took 5 minutes), then he packed his camera, his Mac Book Air, his Ipad, his Zoom H4 Audio Recorder, his wireless microphone and hung his Android Thunderbolt on his belt (that process took more than an hour).  Now he was READY!  (Did you get that my husband’s a geek?).

While he was out getting his second education, I had the week end all to myself!  Not that I did anything spectacular – yes, the week before I did rescue 10 puppies from death row and that in itself is an entire post that I may someday share via my “other” blog.  I spent one day pulling weeds & the next day I spent organizing puppy areas in my unused barn.

I attended Mass at our parish,  Saint Mary’s in Athens (I have to specify because there’s a St-Mary’s in Oakridge), and of course I had to explain to everyone where Scott was because we’re rarely seen without each other.  Many people didn’t know of Scott’s new journey & I received many congratulatory offerings.  When I briefly explained the process, almost everyone said, “What?  Four and half years!  I had no idea deacons had to go to school that long!”

Scott returned home Sunday afternoon elated!  He was like a little child returning from Disney World!  He kept going on and on about how great this was… how fantastic so and so is… how amazing this and that was… of course free coffee for 2 days contributed to his excitement.

He obtained permission from the speaker, Father Ragan Schriver (pastor at Holy Family & executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee (who, by the way looks like a really cool priest!), to audio record all the sessions.  Which is a great thing because remembering everything that was taught is not going to be an easy task – being able to go back and listen to the class is going to be an immense help.  Another great advantage to recording the classes is that not only will I be able to listen but Scott can share with his classmates & their wives (if they’re interested)!  I believe that will be an asset to everyone involved.

As far as the recordings go, I cannot publish them for the general public but if for any reason you’d like to be able to hear them, contact my husband with your request.

However, should you be interested, I can give you access to his notes and the photos that he took during the weekend.  You’ll see that they’re studying heavy duty stuff… I have to admit that most of it is WAY over my head!

If that wasn’t enough to keep his head spinning, you should see his homework assignment!  It’s listed at the end of the document in the link that I posted above.  The Aspirants have 9 papers to write – now, they’re not requested to write much… about 1/2 page but to get to that point, there’s hours of reading & studying.  Scott and his fellow students, have to complete all of this before their next class (October 7, 8, 9)!

In order for Scott to get into this undisturbed, we’ve set up a quiet study area upstairs in the loft area.  He’s surrounded by all of his books and a nice shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  If he looks up from what he’s reading, he’s got a beautiful view of our woods – very peaceful & serene… leaves are gradually changing colors and it’s cool enough now to keep the windows open & let the fresh air in.

Our home is an “open” concept log house – Scott’s concentration is easily disturbed… because of this I have to be as quiet as a mouse while he’s up there.  I’m used to having the radio on or the T.V., – I just have to have sound in the background, all the time.  This new routine is causing me to make changes that are difficult for me but I understand that the graces we will receive because of the sacrifices we are now faced with will outweigh all of our “inconveniences”.

He’s only had one weekend class so far but it has made me realize how much of a sacrifice we will both be making in the coming years.  I feel blessed that my husband received this call & I pray that I will have the wisdom to continue to encourage him.  I know it’s not going to be easy.  Running our own business has allowed Scott & I to be together constantly for the last 11 years or so.  Not many couples can do this but we have and we love it and have always made it work for us.  I’m already missing that in our relationship but we’ll be okay!

This time in our life reminds me of when my step-son graduated college.  He was torn because he thought/felt that he might be called to the priesthood.  He’d also been dating his girlfriend since the start of college and I knew they loved each other very much.  I asked her how she felt about this.  Her response was a very wise one…  “How can I be upset?” she replied.  “If I loose him, I loose him to God!”  She didn’t “loose” him.  They got married almost right out of college and have since then blessed us with four beautiful grand-children.

Allowing my husband the time he needs to pursue his vocation is life changing for both of us.  But I love him with all my heart and with all my soul and I know that we’ll both be better people because of the small sacrifices we are making now.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

April October 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I “stumbled” upon your blog this week, the same week in which my husband received his letter from our Bishop accepting him as an Aspirant in this year’s class. He begins in a couple of weeks. I chuckled as I read some of your earlier posts, especially the ones mentioning the psych eval. That was an experience! In addition to answering tons of questions on a written test, we also had to take the Thematic Apperception Test. The psychologist showed us images and we had to tell the story of what was happening in the picture, what the characters were feeling, and how the story was resolved. I was a nervous wreck about this part! I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be following along on your journey and am glad that you are blogging it.

–an aspirant’s wife from Oklahoma =)

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Christine October 3, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Hi April! Thanks for writing! I thought I had it rough… I met a couple this weekend – I believe they’re from Kansas area (will confirm that), she has to take ALL the classes with her husband and write papers also (all the homework must be done by both of them). She’s not tested & her results have no bearing but she still has to do the work! When I heard that I was very thankful that I don’t have to participate that way. My “classes” begin in January & they’re only a half a day a month… thank goodness! If you have anything you’d like to post about your experience, please email me and attach your writings in a word document & I’ll post it with you as a contributor. If you have a picture of you or of you and your husband, I’ll be glad to insert that. I’m hoping to have more “aspirants” wives contribute. We all have unique & valuable stuff to share!

God Bless & stay in touch!

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April October 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Wow! I have to agree–I am very glad that I do not have to be involved in the classes and homework. My husband, Michael, just had his first class this past weekend and I was eager to hear all about it. Although he was exhausted when he returned home on Saturday night, I “made” him go through his notebook of notes and give me an abbreviated version of the sessions. It was rather fascinating to learn of the history of the diaconate!

We will have a half-day class for the wives in November or December, but from what I understand, we do not regularly meet.

Yes, I’d love to contribute at some point. Thanks for the offer!

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Christine October 17, 2011 at 10:56 pm

It’s nice to hear of a wife that’s really into the program. Everyone I’ve met so far is kind of like me – proud that their husband has received the “call” but not really interested in participating. I don’t mean that I don’t care because I do but I’m really not interested in knowing what he’s learning about our faith. To me it’s very deep & complicated & I’m not sure the regular “Joe” (like me), needs to know all of that. I support my husband in many other ways for him to succeed with this journey in his life but I am not about the “nuts & bolts” of it.

April, because your approach (& perspective) is so different from mine, I’d like to set you up as a contributor on my blog – that way you could post as often as you’d like. I’ll email you the details in a separate email by the end of the week. I think this would be very interesting!

God bless my friend!

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Doris September 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm

My husband will be ordained on Dec. 7 after a long 5 years of once a month weekends. In our Diocese the wives must participate. No tests, no homework but are expected to be in attendance. There are 18 in the class and we are all well bonded at this point. It is coming fast now!!!!!!!!!!!

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Christine September 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm

Doris, you & your husband must be so excited! Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel! I have to say, I admire the women that go through the program with their men – I don’t think I could have done it. One, I really never liked school & secondly, as much as I enjoy what my husband shares with me after his classes, I really find all that “too deep” for me. I’ve come into my faith “like a child” and I’m comfortable only knowing what I know. Sometimes what Scott shares with me makes me question what I do know about my faith & I’m not sure I want to know that… make sense? Congrats & hang in there… December 7 is just around the corner!

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Doris November 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Well, Fred is at the 5 day retreat and December 7 is fast approaching. We have both learned much, him much more than I, because I am happy where I am. That’s not completely true, I wish I were able to soak up more. School work and tests at my age are a no go! Need to blow the dust off around here and prepare for out of town family and friends. By the way we are in the Diocese of Birmingham, Alabama. We have made the trip to Cullman the 1st weekend of the month for 4 years and I am glad and also a little sad that this is over. Hopefully the guys can stay in touch even though scattered about this part of Alabama.
Pray for us, Doris

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Christine November 15, 2013 at 8:07 pm

So happy for you! If Scott hadn’t been in formation that week-end, we would have come down to say hello! We’re only an hour north of Chattanooga.

Does he know what he’s going to focus on as a Deacon?

Although I didn’t go through formation as you have, I’m looking forward to his big day. He was received as a candidate in October & that made it very real to me!

You’re in our prayers!

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Doris December 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Well, my Fred is officially a Deacon!!!!!!! His first two services the next day went well. He was relaxed and did a great job. He IS ready to serve. The service was full of the Holy Spirit. The Knights were out in full force, many Deacons. Priests and 2 Bishops It will be a day to remember. Most of our family were here. We are now trying to decompress!

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Christine December 13, 2013 at 8:24 am

Doris, that’s wonderful! Congrats to you both and yes, I’m sure you’re ready to decompress. At our end, Scott was received as a Candidate in October – a millstone for sure but still 2 1/2 years to go.

Absolutely we’ll pray for you – part of our daily offerings!

God Bless!

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Doris December 12, 2013 at 6:34 pm

I meant to ask you to pray for us as we will pray for you. Blessings, Doris

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