By Renee Webb, Globe editor
Posted May 22, 2003
William McCarthy, 44, a transitional deacon of the Diocese of Sioux City,
will be ordained to the priesthood at 10:30 a.m. May 31 at Cathedral of the
Epiphany in Sioux City. Bishop Daniel N. DiNardo will be the ordaining prelate.
A native of Hawarden, he is the son of Virginia and the late William
McCarthy, who died May 10.
"For me it (the ordination ceremony) will be like deja vu because
Cathedral is where my first big turn came, realizing that God might be calling
me to be a priest," noted McCarthy. "It is a special place."
Prior to entering the seminary as he answered his call to a priestly
vocation, he farmed - corn, soybeans and cattle - for 17 years near Hawarden.
McCarthy holds a Bachelor of Science degree from South Dakota State University.
"God started working in my life in special ways that drew me deeper into
conversion and the realization that I was being called to be one of the Lord's
shepherds," the transitional deacon described.
Through the years, several people mentioned to him that he should become a
Priestly vocations run in his family. McCarthy's uncle, his mother's brother,
is a priest for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. Two deceased great uncles, one on
each side of the family, were priests.
"It's pretty much a leap of faith, knowing that if it is going to happen
and you are going to be successful it is by the grace of God," explained
Before entering into major seminary studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology
in St. Meinrad, Ind., he pointed out that he took a year of classes at Briar
Cliff University in Sioux City. At that time, McCarthy said he had set his heart
and mind to following the Lord's call, but he wanted to take some classes that
would prepare him for this new field of study.
McCarthy was ordained to the transitional diaconate on Oct. 18, 2002 at St.
Mary Church in Hawarden. After five years of study, he was awarded a Master of
Divinity degree this month from St. Meinrad's.
As a transitional deacon, he has had a variety of experiences that have
helped prepare him for priestly service. Along with proclaiming the Gospel and
delivering the homily regularly for Mass at the seminary, one of the more
memorable experiences was leading the Ash Wednesday Day of Prayer for the
school. At the seminary, he has also had several opportunities to lead an
adoration service that includes delivering a reflection.
For the past three years he has taught high school religious education at
parishes near the seminary.
"When you encounter high schoolers with real-life problems and issues,
it allows you to test what you have learned in class and apply it to the actual
situation," noted the transitional deacon.
While studying church architecture in Rome last January, Father Brad Pelzel
of the Diocese of Sioux City asked McCarthy to deacon a few times at St. Peter's
Basilica. He found that to be a great experience.
His family has been very supportive. He credited his parents for being
unselfish as they encouraged him to pursue the priesthood even when it meant
leaving the family farm operation.
"They could have easily said, 'No, you are running the farm, let that
slide.' As I near the priesthood, I see what a treasure a priest is in being
able to touch people's lives in comparison to being a farmer where you don't
engage with that many people," explained the deacon.
McCarthy's two sisters and their spouses are Mary and Brad Koelher of Lake
Minnetonka, Minn. and Patricia and David Haden of Primghar. The transitional
deacon also has seven nieces and nephews.
"I will enjoy coming back to the Sioux City Diocese. I know a lot of
people scattered throughout the diocese and I am looking forward to encountering
them in a new way - where I will be able to minister to their sacramental and
other needs," he explained.
The transitional deacon said that he was open to serving in whatever capacity
the bishop wishes.
"I will probably actually enjoy doing anything - rural or city,"
said McCarthy, who extended gratitude to the bishop and Father Brian Hughes,
vocations director of the diocese for accepting him and sending him to the right
school for seminary studies.