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The Congressman Who Became a Deacon


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 04/15/16

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You don’t hear this sort of story very often, from The Riverhead Local newspaper on Long Island:

Former Suffolk Congressman Mike Forbes, long on a political path, is now on a spiritual path — and he sees a clear connection. Mr. Forbes who from 1995 to 2001 represented the First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives will receive a master’s degree in canon law from Saint Paul’s University in Ottawa, Canada in September. He has been a full-time student at Saint Paul’s for the past year-and-a-half working towards the master’s and also an ecclesiastical licenciate of canon law. About every month he returns to the family’s home in Texas and his “very supportive” wife, Barbara, he related by phone from Canada. The family (Mike and Barbara have four children) moved from Quogue to Round Rock, Texas — “the home of Dell Computers” — in 2007. They had found, like many Long Islanders have, it “difficult” financially to remain on the island. In Ottawa, Mr. Forbes resides in a religious community, Oblates of Mary Immaculate.  With the degree in canon law, he will be able to be a judge on a Catholic tribunal that rules on annulments, holds trials for “disobedient” priests and otherwise deals with “legal issues for the church.” Earlier, back in Texas, Mr. Forbes studied for five years to be ordained a permanent deacon. Deacons of the Catholic Church can perform marriages, baptize infants and conduct funeral, wake and communion services. …As the Diocese of Austin, for which he has served as a deacon and will soon be on its tribunal, reported in an article covering his ordination: “Describing himself as a devout Catholic in love with Christ all his life, Mike Forbes considered whether God was calling him to the deaconate for more than 10 years during a successful career in public service.” From Ottawa last week, Mr. Forbes said: “I was pretty much devout all my life. And after leaving the Congress, I felt I would love to continue to do service…I think there’s a continuity. To me it was always about service. And I was always so involved in my faith. So it just seemed that becoming a deacon was a natural thing to do. I want to be involved in working for the church for the rest of my days, to serve the Lord and serve parishioners and trying to be helpful.”

Read more. 

Photo: Roll Call

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