by Kara Hansen
Special to The Leaven
KANSAS City, Kan. — Traveling to the Holy Land was the perfect way to wind up diaconate formation for Stuart Holland.
“It was my first trip there, and it was an extraordinary experience, being in the land where Jesus lived, taught, died and rose again,” said Holland.
Holland traveled with other Catholics from the archdiocese in January. While in the Holy Land, Holland found some more inspiration for his future role.
“On that trip, the person of John the Baptist really caught my eye,” he said. “His mission was to point to Jesus; to decrease, so Jesus could increase. And that really excites me — to point the way to Jesus and live a life of service as a deacon.”
Holland’s ordination to the diaconate has been a long time in the making. Holland made four retreats in the 1990s to discern the possibility of becoming a permanent deacon. There was one small problem, though. There was no diaconate program in the archdiocese.
“Each time I went to discern the possibility of becoming a deacon, I felt a ‘yes,’ but we didn’t have the diaconate here,” said Holland. “I had no inkling that was even going to happen in the archdiocese until I saw it introduced in The Leaven six years ago. I was thrilled.”
Name: Stuart Holland Parish: Holy Trinity, Lenexa
Age: 54 Family members and ages: wife, Marsha; children: Valerie, 34; Jeremy, 31; Katie, 29; Amy, 25.
Occupation: Director of Christian formation at Holy Trinity
Something people might be surprised to learn about me: That I am related to several clergy and religious: Deacon Nick Blaha — soon to be ordained a priest — and Father Tony Lickteig, both in the archdiocese. In addition, I have a cousin, Mother Gemma, who is a nun in the order of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, and an uncle (Fred Dinges) who is a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Galveston-Houston.
Favorite saint: Francis of Assisi has been my favorite saint for a long time because of his pursuit of living Gospel poverty in the way that God called him personally, his living that out with great joy, and his great humility expressed through his relationship with all of creation.
Favorite book (nonreligious): “The Source,” by James A Michener