Deacon Answered Call, Placed Life in God’s ‘Hands’

Serving in a parish partnership with three parishes and working a 40-hour week at a local store give Deacon Archie Bowers plenty to do, but he wouldn’t trade it.

He ministers at St. Clement of Rome in McLeansboro, St. John Nepomucene in Dahlgren and St. John the Baptist in Piopolis.
In fact, as a very young man, he thought he would be “a preacher,” but not exactly the way it turned out.

“I married a Catholic,” the deacon who was born and raised in McLeansboro said. Before that he was considering being a Baptist minister.
When God has plans, it’s important to follow them. Deacon Bowers converted at 22 and has been following God’s call ever since which led him to diaconate ordination in 2013.

The deacon said his life changed when he incorporated prayer into his daily life. “Life is not about me but about God,” he said.

Enrolling in the diaconate, the deacon discovered that holding down his job, meeting family obligations and studying required balancing three important dimensions of his life.

“The first three months of study were very overwhelming. I was ready to quit.”

With less than stellar typing skills, he was finding it difficult to keep up with the papers. He spoke to Patti Warner in the Office of the Diaconate about his concerns.

Warner encouraged him to pray about it before he made any final decisions. At that time, he met someone who worked at the local hospital whose typing skills were phenomenal, and better yet, she volunteered to type his papers.

A gift? Certainly. The deacon saw God’s hand in these details.  “God just leads you in the right way,” he said.

Deacon Bowers travels among the parishes with parish administrator, Father Slawomir Ptak, assisting with sacramental preparation and witnessing weddings.

Finding his strength through his ministry, the deacon said the appreciation of parishioners humbles and exhilarates him.
He is most comfortable, he said, when he assists at liturgies, “standing at the altar.”

Most difficult and sometimes “trying” is maintaining a balance among all of his responsibilities: family, church and the 40-hour job.
However, “I know I made the right decision” to enroll in the diaconate.

These days, the deacon continues his practice of praying the rosary daily, and with a new grandchild, he has already begun setting aside money in a savings account for a Catholic education for the youngster at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Herrin.

Of his experiences thus far, Deacon Bowers said: “You have to leave your life in God’s hands and he will put you where he wants you.”
After years of study in the diaconate program, the deacon advises present candidates to “try not to get overwhelmed, especially if you’re still working.”

While a number of candidates are presently in the diocesan program, anyone interested in learning more about it, please contact Patti Warner at [email protected]