Story by Reagan Scott
LINCOLN (SNR) — As of Saturday, May 27, the Lincoln Diocese will become five priests stronger.
Bishop Conley will ordain Deacons Samuel Beardslee, Timothy Danek, Jason Doher, Cole Kennett and Andrew Litt during the Ordination Mass at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, 3500 Sheridan Blvd., Lincoln.
All are welcome at the ordination Mass.
Deacon Samuel Beardslee
On Sunday, May 28 at 11 a.m., Deacon Samuel Beardslee will celebrate his first Mass at St. Cecilia Church in Hastings, where he served as a deacon last summer. His mom and stepdad are Teresa and Alfred Pitts; his dad and stepmom are Eugene and Lisa Beardslee.
He has two older step-siblings and four younger half-siblings.
Deacon Beardslee was born in North Carolina but moved often because his mother was in the Air Force. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg Va.
“Throughout high school and college, I was always trying to do things I thought I wanted to do with my life,” Deacon Beardslee said. After trying different majors in college, he had an idea that he should be a priest.
“God really did reach out to me when I was lost,” Deacon Beardslee said. “He had my way in the world.”
Deacon Beardslee returned to Nebraska, where his family is originally from, to enter the seminary.
Now that he is about to become a priest, Deacon Beardslee is most looking forward to sharing the blessings that God has given to him with others.
He said, “I want to be the instrument that God uses to touch hearts so that they can turn to Him.”
Deacon Timothy Danek
Deacon Timothy Danek, son of Richard and Sandy Danek, grew up in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ Parish in Lincoln and has four siblings. He will celebrate his first Mass in the Cathedral Sunday, May 28 at 3 p.m.
Before going to the seminary, he attended Southeast Community College for a brief time and also spent a semester at UNL.
“My vocation stemmed from a lot of good priests in the diocese. I owe a lot to their great example and love for the Church and the faith,” Deacon Danek said. “I also developed a love for the liturgy when I was an altar server from the fifth grade through high school. Being that close to the altar and serving with the priest stirred up a lot of desire to do what they do.”
Deacon Danek is most looking forward to serving the people of God and ministering to them through the sacraments.
“We all have a calling to bring each other to encounter Jesus Christ,” he said, “and the priesthood is a unique way of doing that. To be able to bring Jesus every day to people through the Eucharist is going to be a humbling and awesome experience.”
Deacon Jason Doher
Deacon Jason Doher grew up in St. Patrick Parish in Lincoln, where his great-grandparents were some of the first parishioners and now, four generations of his family have been members there. He will celebrate his first Mass at St. Patrick Church Sunday, May 28 at 11:30 a.m.
Deacon Doher’s parents are Sidney and Mary Doher, and he has one older brother and two younger brothers.
Before entering the seminary, Deacon Doher attended UNK for two and a half years where he studied nursing. But, throughout his time at the university, the call to the priesthood kept getting stronger.
Every time he went to Mass and heard prayers for vocations during the intentions, those words would stick in his head.
“It was like someone was knocking at my door,” Deacon Doher said. “Every time I went to Mass, that’s all I would hear.”
Now that he is about to be ordained, Deacon Doher knows exactly what he is looking forward to in his new vocation of priesthood.
He said, “I’m most looking forward to celebrating Mass and being an instrument of God’s mercy in the confessional.”
Deacon Cole Kennett
After his ordination, Deacon Cole Kennett will celebrate his first Mass May 28 at 1:30 p.m. at his home parish of St. Joseph in Lincoln. His parents are Tim and Shane Kennett, and he has three younger sisters.
Before attending St. Gregory the Great Seminary in Seward, Deacon Kennett attended UNL for one year.
He said that he came to receive his vocation by attending daily Mass, and receiving the Eucharist on a regular basis. He was also greatly influenced by the priests in his life.
“Outside of the Mass, I had a lot of great priests that were incredible spiritual fathers to me,” Deacon Kennett said. “I was moved by how they sacrificed their lives to make Christ present in mine through the sacraments.”
Through the example of these priests, Deacon Kennett has received inspiration for his ministry.
He said, “These priests showed me that God desired to have an intimate relationship with me, and I desire to welcome others into the same thing.”
When asked what he is most looking forward to in his new vocation he responded, “Outside of administering the sacraments, I am most looking forward to teaching in the Catholic high schools within the Diocese.”
Deacon Andrew Litt
Deacon Andrew Litt, born to Michael and Rhonda Litt, grew up in St. John the Apostle Parish in Lincoln. It is there that he will celebrate his first Mass Sunday, May 28 at 3:30 p.m.
Deacon Litt said his vocation came from attending daily Mass. As a student at St. John School, he attended all-school Mass every day of the week. During the summer that habit would continue as his mom would take him, his older brother, and younger sister to daily Mass. When he got to Pius X High School, he continued to attend Mass every day in the chapel there before school.
“It always comes back to Daily Mass and the reception of Holy Communion,” Deacon Litt said in regard to how he came to realize that God was calling him to the priesthood.
Deacon Litt attended UNL for one year before going to the seminary. Now that he is about to become a priest, he is excited to be with those in his new parish.
“I’m looking forward to being with the parishioners and being with the people of God,” Deacon Litt said. “I’m looking forward to bringing Christ to the people and all that it entails.”
The Mass for those being ordained deacons will be Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln.