Name: Deacon Dan Huber.
Family: Wife, Rachel; daughters, Sarah and Mary.
Occupation: Pastoral Associate at Sacred Heart Cathedral, Davenport.
Ordination date: July 13, 2013.
Parish assignment: Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Describe your diocesan deacon assignment: I manage a food pantry in central Davenport. This assignment allows me to see a cross-section of our society and the multiple factors that keep people in the bondage of poverty. Often there are economic factors. Sometimes the factors are cultural because of the inability to speak English. Sometimes the factors include mental and physical challenges. Systemic social factors may also make it difficult for individuals to participate fully in the economy.
Perhaps the biggest area of poverty is spiritual, stemming from feeling forgotten by loved ones and society. Feelings of loneliness and isolation cause many to come to us to receive a portion of what they are seeking. Most of our people are desperately hungry for a visible and tangible experience of God. Our volunteers step into the gap to help people experience some small gestures of God’s love for them. This assignment also allows me to work with several different faith traditions. While we differ on some aspects of theology and practice, it doesn’t get in the way of serving those most in need. The best thing about this ministry is seeing the Kingdom of God at work at the individual and corporate level. Over time, you witness the growth of the kingdom from a small seed of faith to one where many will find shade, protection and comfort.
How did you know you were being called to the diaconate? It took a number of years for me to recognize fully the call to serve as a deacon. I always enjoyed being of service as a young person and really enjoyed working with the poor in our parish ministries. Many faithful witnesses who lived an authentic spiritual and devotional life inspired in me a desire to do the same. I saw how Deacons Bill Ditewig, Frank Agnoli, Mike Sheil, Jeff Schuetzle and other deacons served the church and her people. Each possessed different gifts and served in different areas, which helped me to see that God was calling me to consider life as a deacon.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a deacon? I love redemption stories. Seeing the unfolding of God’s redemption in the lives of others keeps me motivated to offer the little I have to Jesus, like the boy with a few loaves and fish. It is rewarding to see couples returning to the faith as part of their marriage preparation or after the birth of a child. It is rewarding to see couples, who have been struggling in their marriages, choose the hard road of sacrificial love. The person who overcomes an addiction brings joy. Seeing someone step into the confessional for the first time in many years is exhilarating. Seeing individuals from other faith traditions find a home in the one true church is powerful to me. God is actively at work all around us — replacing our stony hearts with a natural heart that desires to love God with our heart, soul, mind and being.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a deacon? I find ministering to people with mental illness the hardest and most challenging part of ministry. It serves as a gentle reminder to place everything in God’s hands because I am not capable of changing the situation. I am only choosing how to offer the most loving response I can in a given moment.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? Micah 6:8 reminds me of something St. Teresa of Kolkata said about God not calling us to be successful, but to be faithful. The Scripture: “You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you: Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.”