Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Washington, recently welcomed a new deacon, Deacon Ryan Weber.
Originally from Imperial, Deacon Weber will be with the parish every day through the summer and then on weekends once school begins in August.
Deacon Weber is a transitional deacon, which means he is still in preparation for the priesthood.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College Seminary, St. Louis, and currently is enrolled at Kenrick Seminary, Shrewsbury.
He will graduate next May with a master’s degree in theology and will be ordained a priest at that time.
At Our Lady of Lourdes, Deacon Weber will assist at Mass, visit the sick, bring Communion, learn to preach a Sunday homily and will be involved with “Mass and More” youth group at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School.
He has helped with three other youth groups at other churches.
“It’s something I really like to do,” Deacon Weber said. “Youth group was a really big part of my vocation when I was in high school. It really helped me, so I like doing that for other teenagers now.”
Deacon Weber said he knew he wanted to be a priest in third or fourth grade, but his mother has said he told her about his dream as young as kindergarten.
“It was in my mind from a very early age,” he said.
After visiting Kenrick Seminary, he knew it was where God was calling him.
Deacon Weber is the son of Karen and Ed Weber, Imperial, both of whom have a religious background. Deacon Weber’s mom is a campus minister at Rosati-Kain High School in St. Louis. His father was in the seminary for four years.
His father has three cousins who are priests, although none are in the St. Louis Diocese, and he has a cousin who is a religious sister in Wichita, Kan.
“It’s neat to have that background,” he said. “I’m really glad to be carrying it on in this diocese.”
Deacon Weber said he’s looking forward to getting involved with the parish on a deeper level.
“I’m looking forward to getting more personal and involved in one place,” he said.
In school, he explained, students are often assigned to parishes on weekends only and don’t have as much time to get to know people or branch into other areas of service outside of their assignments.
“Now I can broaden out and get a bigger taste of what a parish is like,” he said.
Deacon Weber said he’s also looking forward to working with OLL Pastor Father Mike Boehm.
“He seems like he’s really easygoing and understanding — someone who works hard and would be a really good example of who to model,” he said. “They knew what they were doing when they assigned me here with him.”
Deacon Weber said he speaks fluent Spanish and enjoys being able to speak with people in more than one language.
So far, Deacon Weber said he is enjoying Washington. Prior to moving here, he had visited Washington a few times to visit classmate, Deacon Conor Sullivan, who is from Washington.
Deacon Weber’s home parish is Immaculate Conception, Arnold.