by Kara Hansen
Special to The Leaven
LEAWOOD — Six years ago, becoming a deacon was not on Mark Stukel’s radar.
At the time, Stukel was unaware of the diaconate program gearing up in the archdiocese for the first time. But there were a couple of other people who thought the St. Michael the Archangel parishioner would be a perfect fit for it.
“Father Bill Porter and Father Mitchel Zimmerman asked to talk to my wife and me and arranged to come over to our house,” said Stukel, who has been a parishioner at the parish since its founding in 1999.
Unsure what the meeting was about, Stukel was a bit cautious, wondering what the topic might be. Once the four met, Father Porter and Father Zimmerman asked the Stukels to consider pursuing the diaconate.
“First, I was relieved everything was OK,” said Stukel. “My next reaction was feeling humbled and flattered. They wouldn’t take an answer then, but asked us to think about it, pray about it, and talk about it with our family.”
Stukel did just that and, together with his wife and family, decided that becoming a deacon was worth pursuing.
“There’s a certain amount of uncertainty at this point, but I’m really looking forward to the sacramental side of being a deacon, as well as being involved in the charitable side of the parish community,” said Stukel.
Though being a deacon will involve some time away from his family, Stukel said that potential benefits are there for them as well.
“Selfishly, I’m looking forward to the opportunities for our children to learn to help others and appreciate the community,” he said.
Name: Mark Stukel
Parish: St. Michael the Archangel, Leawood
Family members and ages: wife, Kim; children: Jacob, 15; Joshua, 15; Michael, 15; Nathan, 14; Lexi, 12
Occupation: client executive for IBM
Favorite food: a great steak
What I’m looking forward to most about being a deacon: Having the opportunity to help people grow closer to Christ — this includes myself and my family.
Something people might be surprised to learn about me: Kim (my wife) and I both grew up in South Dakota but we met in Florida. I was born and raised on a farm/ranch operation in south-central South Dakota.
Favorite saint: St. Joseph — there is no better model of a husband and father. How do you top being that close to Christ and Mary?
If I could visit a period of church history, it would be: How cool would it be to participate in the first Mass? I’d visit the Last Supper in a heartbeat.
Hobby: Keeping up with the activities of five kids! I do enjoy organizing and cataloging photos to create slide shows and videos. I hope that having the photos and videos easily accessible will help my kids to always remember how important family is to them.