Dentist deacon called to treat a new kind of pain

by Kara Hansen
Special to The Leaven

As a teen, Todd Brower considered a vocation to the priesthood and graduated from a minor seminary. Although he ultimately chose marriage as his primary vocation, he considers the experience formative to his faith and one that led him to the diaconate.

“I would say the seminary experience and the Catholic faith my parents shared and taught me are still the foundation structure my life is built on,” said Brower.

Brower and his family have been involved with various ministries over the years at their parish — he has served as a eucharistic minister, helped lead marriage preparation sessions, trained altar servers, and was active in the Knights of Columbus.

But in 2005 — the same year permanent deacons were being considered for the first time in the archdiocese — Brower says he felt called to take on something more. Pursuing the diaconate was, he felt, the answer.

“God has given me many talents and gifts and responsibilities over the years,” he said. “For years, I have treated and eased physical pain and suffering. Now I am called to relieve spiritual pain and suffering through the Gospel message, and to be a living witness in action, word and deed as a deacon of the church.”

Although his children are grown, Brower shares the concerns of the other future deacons about balancing professional, marital and family obligations with his new role.

“I am excited about it. As with all projects I’ve ever been involved in, I don’t like to do them halfway, “ said Brower. “I finish what I start and what I put my mind to.”

Still, Brower said he knows the role of deacon ultimately leaves him answering to a higher power — with perhaps a different set of expectations than his own.

“I do not want to be overly concerned with being the best deacon I can be,” he said. “I want to be the best deacon Christ wants me to be,” he said.


Profile

Name: Todd Brower

Parish: Church of the Ascension, Overland Park Age: 47

Family: wife, Jean; sons — Kevin, 24; Phil, 21

Occupation: dentist

Favorite food: Italian

What I’m looking forward to most about being a deacon: Being a minister of baptism — opening the doorway for others to have a relationship with Christ, joining his church, and sharing in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. As a minister of charity — doing the most for the least and forgotten of our brothers and sisters.

Something people might be surprised to learn about me: I worked hard at overcoming shyness.

Favorite saint: St. Dismas. He received forgiveness directly from Christ and is the only sinner we know who obtained the salvation rewards of heaven.

If I could visit a period of church history, it would be: the patristic years and the growth of the church from those who knew the apostles. Seeing the Holy Spirit working in overdrive as the good news, via the church, brought many to believe and receive the gift of faith.

Favorite book (nonreligious): “The Republic,” by Plato Hobbies: fishing, camping

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