By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT – Newly ordained Deacons Dale Mallory and Ben Snyder each say they look forward to the year ahead, concentrating on their ministry of service as deacons. One year from now, God willing, they will be ordained to the priesthood.
“I’m being given a chance to be what God called me to be,” Deacon Mallory said after the Liturgy of Ordination on June 12 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. “I’m just looking forward to growing into the diaconate,” Deacon Snyder said. The promises made as a deacon, he said, are permanent. “I said the ‘I do’s.’”
Bishop Thomas Zinkula ordained both men, classmates at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, to the diaconate during the Mass attended by their families, friends, priests, deacons and others.
Their ordination “reminds me that the Lord calls young men to the diaconate. We have to help young men recognize their call to vocation,” said Deacon Mike Snyder, director of the diaconate. He served as Deacon of the Word at the ordination Mass, which evoked memories of his ordination four years ago. He is a permanent deacon while Deacons Mallory and Snyder are in the last phase of training for the priesthood.
Father Jake Greiner, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport and director of seminarians, requested ordination for the two seminarians. He affirmed their worthiness for that ministry to Bishop Zinkula, who declared, “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose Ben and Dale, our brothers, for the order of the Diaconate.”
In his homily, Bishop Zinkula reminded the men, “Deacons are consecrated to serve. They are configured to Jesus, ‘who came not be served, but to serve.’” The bishop shared the story of Father Stanley Rother, an Oklahoma priest and martyr (1935-81) who “exemplified a life of service and knew what it meant to be a shepherd.”
Father Rother, the first American-born priest to be beatified (2017), “is a good shepherd and servant for you, Ben and Dale, to emulate.” The priest served for five years in his Oklahoma archdiocese before ministering in Santiago, Guatemala, where the Mayan people he served lived in extreme poverty.
“He ministered to his parishioners in their homes. He ate with them, visited the sick and assisted them with medical issues. He even put his farming skills to use by helping them in the fields, bringing in different crops and building an irrigation system.”
Father Rother returned to Oklahoma briefly because his name appeared on a death list in the midst of civil war in Guatemala. He returned to Santiago “because he was determined to give his life completely to his people. He famously said that ‘the shepherd cannot run.’” He died as a martyr in his rectory on July 28, 1981. “The people of Santiago mourned the loss of their leader and friend,” Bishop Zinkula said.
“Dale and Ben, when you are ordained this morning you will be configured to Christ the Servant. This will be the case not only ontologically, but also in terms of your whole life – the way you think speak and act. People should see this configuration lived out in your daily life and pastoral ministry. You will respond ‘yes’ to God when you are ordained. May you respond ‘yes’ again and again throughout your life of service.”
Jamie Snyder, father of Deacon Ben Snyder, said he was grateful for the prayers and support of priests and parishioners from various parishes. The Snyder family belongs to Holy Trinity Parish in Keota. Their prayers focus on the goal of Deacon Snyder “being a holy man.”
His father’s conversion to the Catholic faith inspired Deacon Snyder at an early age. “Seeing him go through the process, the faith became personal for me,” said Deacon Snyder, the oldest of five children. That witness, along with the family’s weekly hour of eucharistic adoration, encouraged him in the discernment of his vocation. “I could see myself doing this. I felt at peace.”
His mother, Michelle, said she felt joy throughout the Mass. One of the highlights for her was “when I received Communion from him. That’s when the tears came.”
Deacon Mallory’s mother, Lori, of St. Anthony Parish-Knoxville, said she tried not to cry during the ordination Mass. Her son’s journey toward a vocation to the priesthood began after college, when he began attending Mass again. “I could see it coming,” she said. “I’m just proud of Dale’s accomplishment, his dad, also named Dale, said. “He’s grown into a fine young man.”
Deacon Mallory said that had fallen away from the faith but after college, “I felt something was missing in my life.” He rediscovered his faith after returning to Mass on a regular basis and eventually felt a calling to the priesthood. During his ordination, he felt a little scared but mostly excited about this next step on his vocation journey. “You want to be a good deacon,” he said.
He looks forward to ministering to the people and enjoying this year as a transitional deacon. He and Deacon Snyder say they look forward to their summer assignments (St. Patrick Parish-Iowa City and Prince of Peace Parish-Clinton, respectively) before returning to the seminary this fall.