I serve as a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Austin, Texas at St. Thomas More Catholic Church and in the greater community. Along with my wife Joanne and our three children, I am a native to the state of Texas. My ancestry in the state spans seven generations or about 180 years.
Being a convert to Catholicism, I grew up in an unchurched but outspokenly evangelical Protestant household. I was raised entirely by a great aunt and uncle, who were strict adherents to televangelism and especially strong followers of Oral Roberts. As a teenager, I defected from my family's traditional faith and and began attending various church services, but primarily those whose origin was from the Pentecostal Holiness tradition.
During my college years I was introduced to liturgical worship by friends, and I briefly considered becoming an Episcopalian. I graduated from the University of North Texas and received my undergraduate degree in philosophy and religion studies. Shortly thereafter, I began studies through the Texas A&M University system, and received my M.S. in interdisciplinary studies, which was followed by a brief transitional period at the University of Arkansas. Finally I received my M.A. degree in theology from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
From my earliest memories I can recall having a keen interest in the things of God. This was only heightened by the wonderful visits I had with my maternal great-grandmother, an early north Texas Nazarene, who according to my great aunt, had frequent mystical contact with the Holy Spirit. I frequently requested her prayers that I would grow up to be a servant of the Lord.
During college in the mid 1980s, while visiting Immaculate Conception parish in Denton, Texas, I heard a homily that challenged me unlike anything before. I recall thinking that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The priest was actually inviting his parishioners to put their lives on the line and travel to El Salvador where there had recently been the murder of four Catholic churchwomen. I felt like God was speaking to my heart right then. I knew that I was nowhere near having the courage to do what the priest was suggesting, but I prayed at least to begin having that kind of faith.
At that moment I was ready to give up everything I had ever learned about God and religion in order to embrace something that I sensed to be "universal." That day I felt like I had been touched by a brilliant light. God had indeed said something mysterious in my heart. It wasn’t too many days later that I stopped in at the parish office to inquire about the process of becoming Catholic, though the journey itself took me an additional five years.
During my period of deacon formation I served my parish in Austin as Director of Social Outreach, then later went on to work in the community as director of outreach for an Austin area interfaith organization, and to work toward establishing community networks for undocumented immigrants. I felt that I had been called to serve the poorest of the poor, and I prayed that I might reach out to those "who need our mercy most."
However, it wasn’t until my youngest child was diagnosed with autism that I began to see the depth of the need that exists in people, especially in children, with cognitive disabilities. This changed my whole life and its direction entirely.
Currently my ministry, in the truest sense, is in the public school system where I work as a special education teacher serving children with severe and profound disabilities. Still I maintain a strong interest in social justice and a theology of the Holy Spirit.
spirituality, christian apologetics, family activities, special education topics, social justice topics, and advocating and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.