New Grande Prairie deacon says formation program strengthened his family
Gerald Logan likes to say that his wife Marian brought him back to the Catholic faith of his childhood.
It’s that faith that has led Logan to answer God’s call and become the fourth deacon in the history of Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan — which is nearly three times as large as its Edmonton counterpart.
“It is a sacrifice, but it’s nothing compared to other sacrifices that have been made. We didn’t get nailed to a cross,” said Logan, who was ordained to the permanent diaconate July 7 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Grande Prairie, north of Edmonton.
A retired school principal and member of St. Joseph parish in Grande Prairie, Logan is a veteran of parish ministry.
A member of the parish council, he also led the church in prayer and Scripture readings when his parish didn’t have an available priest.
Logan said he started to consider the diaconate in 2003, after seeing a deacon visit his parish for Mass.
“It just seemed like a logical progression of the path that I was on,” said Logan, who had led several services at the parish.
He also shared his feelings with another priest — Gerard Pettipas, who is now the archbishop.
“As we would chat in the sacristy before Mass, Gerald would tell me that he felt that he should be a deacon,” Pettipas said in his homily.
It would be another 10 years until Logan joined the diaconate program after retiring in 2013.
Archbishop Pettipas recalled: “Within years of my being named the archbishop, Gerald came knocking at my door. It may have taken that long for the butterflies to settle in his stomach. If they are even settled today!”
Logan’s journey wasn’t an easy one.
As the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese doesn’t have a diaconate program, Logan was invited to join the program in the Edmonton Archdiocese. A four-year program spread over 40 weekends, it includes intensive study at Newman Theological College for a certificate in theology.
For Logan, a major challenge he faced was making four-and-a-half-hour drive to Edmonton and back — for weeks at a time.
Despite the stress from the program, Logan’s wife Marian said her husband’s journey to the diaconate has brought their family closer together.
“I wouldn’t say to somebody, ‘Oh if you want to strengthen your marriage and family life, you should become a deacon!’” said Marian Logan. “I think you have to go into it already on strong ground.”
“My wife made incredible sacrifices. There were times when she had to look after everything, because I had an exam coming up. But it’s also drawn myself and my wife closer together, because we’re taking the journey together” Logan said.
As a deacon, Logan has agreed to start a new Office for Life and the Family in the Grouard-McLennan Archdiocese – an unexpected, yet welcome addition to his ministry.
“This has been a dream of mine for several years, and I am delighted that Gerald has agreed to initiate this office in our diocese,” Archbishop Pettipas said.
While Logan said his academic work at Newman was difficult, it also helped him understand his Catholic faith as he prepared for his new life of service.
“I was a cradle Catholic. I just believed and attended. I didn’t understand and I couldn’t explain my faith, I couldn’t explain my beliefs or where it came from,” said Logan. “Now I have 40 weeks, times how many hours! Now I have a good background on that.”