Archdiocese Local Religious life

Deacon opportunity worth the trade-offs, says Topeka man

by Kara Hansen
Special to The Leaven

Becoming a deacon was a natural step for Daniel Ondracek.

“I have been a part of Catholic education my entire life and considered being a monk for a while in college,” said Ondracek. “I’ve always been active in the church and becoming a deacon is an extension of that. I love being around people, especially helping them and teaching them the faith.”

Aside from his professional and family responsibilities, Ondracek also volunteers at the juvenile prison in Topeka and helps with Special Olympics. He is looking forward to beginning his ministry as a deacon but expects it to be something of a balancing act.

“I work in a hospital in a position where I don’t have set hours, so it’s going to be a challenge balancing my time and responsibilities with family, church, and work,” he said.

But the trade-off — becoming a deacon and having the opportunity to serve in his faith community — is definitely worth it, said Ondracek.

“I love being around church, and I enjoy everything about our faith,” he said. “Community is a big thing with being Catholic, and Topeka is a great Catholic town.”


Name: Daniel Patrick Ondracek

Parish: Most Pure Heart of Mary, Topeka

Age: 53

Family: wife, Carol; sons: Alex and Ryan

Occupation: nurse anesthetist

Favorite food: cookies

What am I looking forward to most about being a deacon: serving those who need help the most.

Something people might be surprised to learn about me: I raised hogs to help put myself through college.

Favorite saint: Actually four — St. Pio of Pietrelcina, because he never wavered; St. Don Bosco, because he had tremendous faith in young people; St. Francis of Assisi, because he gave up everything to serve the Lord; and St. Thérèse, because of her simplicity and love. If I could visit a period of church history, it would be: following in St. Paul’s footsteps.

Favorite book: “Left to Tell” by Immaculée Ilibagiza Hobby: gardening/landscaping

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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