Six years from now, Mark Krejci will be in a very different place. Not only is he stepping down from his position as provost and dean of Concordia College, but he is also beginning a five-year program to become a deacon of the Catholic Church.
Krejci’s decision to become a deacon has been years in the making. During the early 1990’s, Krejci taught a human growth class for the Deacon training program. In the process he provided training to Tom Cerar, a current deacon at St. Joseph’s church in Moorhead.
Cerar commented on Krejci’s decision, “I was hoping he would have done this years ago.”
However, Krejci and his wife, Julie Krejci, were waiting for their children to go to college before his enrollment in the program.
“We’ve talked about this for many, many years,” Julie Krejci said. “This seemed to be the time for it.”
The duties that Krejci will take on when and if he completes the program include leading prayer, assisting at Mass, visiting the home or hospital bound to provide prayer and communion and assisting at baptisms and weddings.
The change will be gradual, as Krejci is not officially stepping down from his position as Provost and Dean until July 31, 2013. At that point he will return to his tenured position within the psychology department and continue teaching courses. Krejci has held the position of provost for the past eight years. A committee will be formed to search for his replacement.
Before stepping down, Krejci will begin what is known as the year of aspirancy within the deacon training program. Both Krejci and Cerar described the aspirancy period as a year of vocational discernment for candidates.
“It’s trying to figure out what God wants you to do,” said Cerar.
Candidates get the chance to meet with other deacon candidates who have nearly completed their training and who will be ordained this next spring. Incoming candidates also participate in spiritual formation and theology courses throughout this period.
After the year of aspirancy, and “God willing,” Krejci saidw, he will enter another five years of training. This period includes weekend courses in theology, personal growth and other important lessons as well as homework in-between.
Throughout both of these periods, Julie Krejci will have the opportunity to shadow her husband and to take classes on her own if she wishes. This is a change from the current situation because Krejci’s position as provost has kept him very busy.
“Our roles as a married couple have had to change because of that,” said Julie Krejci. However, she said, “I don’t see he’s going to be any busier than as provost.”
Deacons, unlike priests of the Catholic Church, are allowed to be married and are also expected to remain loyal to their spouses. This means not re-marrying in the case their spouse dies or, if the candidate was unmarried when ordained, remaining celibate.
Deacon Cerar provided a final comment about Krejci’s future path.
“He’s an extremely faith-filled man who lives the Catholic life, and I truly believe that he will be a fabulous deacon,” Cerar said.