Deacon Spencer is the newest deacon at Holy Family. He was ordained at Saint James Cathedral on June 29, 2013 by Bishop John Noonan. He is part of a group of deacons that were the first class to complete a five year course with Saint Leo’s University.
Spencer was born in Quito, Ecuador and was the fourth child of five and the only boy. He attended public schools there and finished with a civil engineering degree at the State University of Guayaquil. The whole family are ‘cradle Catholics’ as Spencer beamed with pride. His mother prayed the Rosary daily with his sisters and they all went to Mass as a family. This was mostly without his father present as he was a merchant marine and away a lot of the time.
When asked about a vocation calling Spencer had a rather unusual reply. In his youth, a religious vocation was frowned upon, and locals thought that the person died in the seminary since no one ever saw them again. They were cloistered and would live without having children. These ideas made a religious vocation a difficult possibility. But Spencer did have a calling while in Florida while doing the Saint Ignatius Prayer Exercises with Fr. John O’Holohan, S.J. He had a very significant influence on Spencer, spiritually, with the Ignatian Exercises and Retreats.
Deacon Spencer’s favorite part of his diaconate is bringing to the altar at the offertory each day, all the people he served during the week. He recommends the diaconate to anyone if they are called to go the extra mile and serve God. Spencer feels that vocations are plentiful but more people need to discern their calling. Spencer has been at Holy Family for many years after moving from New York, and has been involved in many ministries such as: prison ministry, PREP, spiritual direction with ‘Audire’ or listening, Saint Vincent de Paul as Spiritual Director, mentoring two young men for the diaconate, mentoring to the Young Adults ministry, training altar servers and following Fr. John O’Holohan, S.J. example in giving the Ignatius Exercise experience to many at Holy Family.
Spencer’s favorite Bible verse is from Mark to ‘serve and not be served and to give your life for the ransom of many’. He feels that the new emphasis on the diaconate from Vatican II was the most practical and spiritual part of it. He says his spiritual director is Father Ennis and he considers him a friend, boss and teacher. Spencer really liked our pastor’s phrase about Holy Family being an ‘oasis of faith’ today. Spencer expressed his gratitude to Holy Family’s family for embracing his family over the last twenty-one years as a parishioner, employee and now as a minister.
You can just see the joy Spencer has in his new position as a deacon and he is experiencing ‘heaven on earth’.