Deacon Mical: ‘It comes down to being a good servant’
For Andrew Mical, the formation process of becoming a permanent deacon was not what he expected.
He spent the five-year process of discerning and learning while the diocese began Chapter 11 reorganization. He experienced the closing of the local Christ the King Seminary, the Covid-19 pandemic, and an adjustment to remote learning. He also made friends for life.
“It was unlike what I thought it would be like, for good and ill,” he said, adding it was a “tough group of years.”
“You spend weekends together with the same group of people for five years and you build up some relationships,” the 50-year-old safety inspector for Rosina Food Products said. “We’re all walking the same path together.”
After a year of inquiry, deacon candidates begin work on their master’s degrees. Deacon Mical calls the classes that took place, first in person at Christ the King in East Aurora, then online through St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in Rochester a “hefty academic load.” The deacon candidates attend classes part-time and write academic papers while still working full-time jobs.
“It’s an intellectual adventure,” he said. “The amount of knowledge you pick up. You thought you knew who Jesus was until you start taking academic classes on theology and philosophy. You haven’t even thought to ask these questions.”
The academics and personal growth go hand in hand. Candidates also attend Formation Weekends with their wives once a month packed with spiritual exercises. There, Deacon Mical learned good spiritual habits such as liturgical prayer in community and Bible reading. “You leave exhausted in a good sense,” he said.
The Tonawanda native was pointed to the diaconate by people who saw how seriously he took his Catholic faith.
“I would go to men’s conferences and join small groups, and be willing to have that conversation about faith, when maybe most people didn’t,” he said. “I was usually the person people would come to to ask questions about things. Whether they saw me praying or saying grace before meals. I think eventually those kinds of questions started being asked of me.”
As with all deacons, Deacon Mical received a ministry of prayer and a ministry of service assigned to him at his ordination. He will serve at St. John the Baptist, Kenmore, and with the Teams of Our Lady, which promotes authentic married love leading to God and a more intimate and enriching relationship with one’s spouse. He has no specific goals with either ministry.
“It comes down to being a good servant; to be able to see a need and address it if I can. Always be outward looking to go where I can help,” he said. “I don’t want to not have an effect. I want to be effective, but I also don’t want to put my personal goals first.”