Name: Deacon Edwin D. Kamerick
Family: Wife, Jane; sons, David, Justin and Aaron; daughter, Melissa Ballard.
Occupation: Along with my wife Jane and son David, we own and operate a construction company.
Ordination date: July 13, 2013.
Parish assignment: St. Patrick-Melrose and St. Mary-Centerville.
Describe your diocesan deacon assignment: I have the pleasure of having my wife Jane help as a partner in doing marriage prep, baptismal prep and the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program. Since she is the DRE (Director of Religious Education), I’m happy to be a teacher in our religious ed program. I am part of an interdenominational chaplain group that serves at a local hospital. A surprising number of Catholic funerals and vigils are held in funeral homes. When needed, I have the honor of helping at these. I’ve also been called by funeral homes to help at nondenominational funerals when the family feels the need to have clergy present. I believe that my greatest joy though is in doing home and hospital visits.
How did you know you were being called to the diaconate? After a pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2001, I had an inward longing for something I couldn’t put aside. The priest at that time told me to pray, especially at the tabernacle, for discernment into what our good Lord wanted from me. When the diocese sent out the call for men interested in Deacon Class VI, I had a feeling of joy and relief, hoping and believing that this is what God was calling me to do.
I think that the following passage gave me the most comfort when I had doubts. Gamaliel said, “So in the present case I advise you: Leave these men (them) alone. Let them go! For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them” — Acts 5:38-39. Good advice for anyone who believes that they have received a call to ministries in the church, especially for holy orders or religious life.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a deacon? There is an old Spanish proverb that goes, “How beautiful it is to do nothing and then to rest afterwards.” The original meaning was to enjoy yourself by doing absolutely nothing and then having a good nap afterwards. I have found another meaning for this proverb, especially when we get a trying call for our services. Our Lord tells us in Matt. 11:30, “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” I find great comfort in knowing that when we accept the yoke of Christ, he is there beside us because a yoke is made for two. When we are tired, the load is heavy and the road is rough, as hard as we pull he is pulling even harder. The more we depend and lean on our partner in his yoke, the lighter and lighter our load becomes until we lovingly say to those trying to thank us, ‘it was nothing.’ And how beautiful it is …”
What is the most challenging aspect of being a deacon? Sometimes I’ve found that writing homilies for funerals can be the most challenging aspect of what I do. I believe it was Bishop Emeritus Martin Amos who told me that the three most challenging funeral services to do are for a close friend (especially one who died of a disease), for someone who has taken his/her own life, and for a young child. I sought his advice after being asked to speak at my friend Scot’s (Methodist) funeral; he had taken his life. I thought that writing a homily for the death of a child would probably be the most challenging of all three to do. When my little granddaughter Brooklyn passed away at mid-term, our priest asked if I could do the homily. The challenge became one of the easiest homilies I’ve done. With no idea how to start, I started writing down the words of a poem as they came to me. My buddy in the yoke did a marvelous job that day. I believe the most challenging thing that a deacon can come up against is relying on himself.
What is your favorite Scripture passage? So many Bible passages come to mind, but I think that my favorite comes from Psalms. At the end of the day after night prayers, while resting in my easy chair, my mind can be in turmoil about all that has happened in the world and to myself that day The passage that gives me peace of mind comes from Psalms 46:10 –“Be still and know that I am God.” 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for us.”