Lawrence Bowers on track to be ordained to the priesthood in May
by Joe Bollig
ST. MARYS — The newest archdiocesan deacon’s path to ordination led to a religious order, and then back to his home diocese, proving that there’s no place like home.
Deacon Lawrence Andrew Bowers III, 36, a seminarian at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, was a Capuchin Franciscan friar when he further discerned that he was called to be a priest of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
Deacon Bowers was ordained to the transitional diaconate on Nov. 10 at Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys. He is the son of Larry and Marla (Brooks) Bowers of Delia.
Originally of Sacred Heart Parish in Delia, the family became members of St. Stanislaus Parish in Rossville at the time of Sacred Heart’s closing. Deacon Bowers has two older sisters.
Deacon Bowers graduated from Rossville High School in 1994, and earned a bachelor of science in computer engineering from Kansas State University in 1999. He did computer engineering until he decided to enter the Capuchin Franciscan order in 2004. He began his seminary studies in 2008.
The main celebrant and ordaining minister was Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann. Also present was Bishop Emeritus George Fitzsimons of the Diocese of Salina. Deacons Nathan P. Haverland and Daniel P. Schmitz vested Deacon Bowers.
In his homily, the archbishop thanked Bowers’ parents for their witness to marriage and family, and recognized that Deacon Bowers was sacrificing such blessings for himself in order to serve the people of God as an ordained minister.
The archbishop also said that Deacon Bowers’ decision to follow God’s call was a noble use of freedom, in contrast to a society that more and more sees freedom as the “right to do anything any way we want and whenever we want” simply because we want to do it.
Further, he said Deacon Bowers’ faithful response to God’s call demonstrates an obedience to true freedom, a gift that always comes from God.
During the promise of the elect, Deacon Bowers pledged to fulfill the duties of the diaconate. Then, he prostrated himself on the floor during the Litany of the Saints. Next, he approached the archbishop to receive the laying on of hands and the Book of the Gospels.
Although short, the period of the transitional diaconate is important. In addition to committing to pursue a life of service, Deacon Bowers made commitments to lead a life of celibacy and obedience to the archbishop and his successors.
As a transitional deacon, he will be able to baptize, officiate at weddings, preach, distribute the Eucharist, preside at funerals, and lead Sunday celebrations in the absence of a priest.
Deacon Bowers will continue his seminary studies and serve at Christ the King Parish in Denver. The tentative date for his ordination to the priesthood is May 25, 2013, at St. Matthew Parish in Topeka.