Name: Mike Snyder
Family: Married 37 years to Patty. We have two daughters, Allison and Brynn. Allison is married to David. We have four grandchildren: Bella, Jackson, Quinn and Logan.
Occupation: Retired engineering manager.
Parish: Our Lady of Lourdes, Bettendorf.
How did you know you were being called to the diaconate? The thought first came during a pilgrimage, from another pilgrim’s comment to me. In the following weeks and months I could not get the thought out of my head even though I tried to ignore it. So I went to Mass one morning planning to speak to my pastor about it afterward, and his homily that day was about how our diocese needs more deacons! I realized that it wasn’t just my own thinking, and started recognizing it as a calling.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a deacon candidate? I first think of the study workload and time commitment, which is high; but the Holy Spirit helps you balance that work with faith life, family life and work. The most challenging aspect for me was the new ministry situations we put ourselves into in order to learn and to stretch the boundaries of our comfort and even our own faith.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a deacon candidate? The most challenging situations usually became the most rewarding. Every now and then we are invited into another person’s life, to celebrate a joy, share a hurt, or to grieve. The most impactful experience for me was during a hospital visit to a patient in her final days. I did not know her, but got to hear her life review. As she re-lived her joys and regretted her mistakes, she recognized the good that she, God’s child, brought to her family, her community and even humanity. I was deeply honored because I was probably the only person who ever heard those innermost feelings and thoughts.
What do you look most forward to in your ministry as a deacon? First, seeing where the Holy Spirit takes me on this journey. In a daily reflection near the beginning of formation, I realized that I should not focus on what I thought was my destination. I think God wants us to stay in step with him on our journey, not focusing on the destination, but following his lead. If we are wrong about the destination, or if it changes, we would not be following. Second; I have a deep love of our church’s beautiful liturgy and Eucharist, and look forward to serving in Mass and other liturgies. This is a good example of how the Holy Spirit works; serving in liturgy was the part of being a deacon that I was most intimidated about at the beginning of discernment!
What special ministry will you undertake? Many of the things I could do as a deacon would be an extension of what I have started or done as a deacon candidate and/or lay person. I am drawn to hospital ministry, but I don’t know what that might look like yet; I have some investigation and praying yet to do.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Not a single passage, but I appreciate the post-resurrection texts in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, when the Apostles fully grasped what Jesus had revealed to them, and they began sharing the Good News and putting their faith in action.