Life experiences motivate deacon to serve

Wednesday, May 09, 2018 - Updated: 1:35 pm

By Deacon Joe Cerenzia Correspondent

In light of Bishop David Zubik’s recent call of a new class into the diocesan Deacon Formation Program, here is a look at one of the men currently serving in this ministry.

Deacon Barry Krofcheck brings a profound empathy to his bereavement ministry.

His beloved daughter, Lauren, passed away unexpectedly in June 2016 from a previously undiagnosed health condition. She was only 27 years old.

“About the only way my wife, Robin, and I and our family are able to deal with such a devastating loss is the confidence we will all be together again someday,” said Deacon Krofcheck, who brings that perspective to his ministry with others who have lost a loved one.

“We live our Catholic faith in our family, and that’s the beauty and the promise of the Christian life,” he said. The Krofchecks also have two other daughters, Rachel, 25, and Rebecca, 11.

Deacon Krofcheck was ordained in June 2013 and has been assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish in Washington for liturgical service in addition to his regional bereavement ministry in the communities of Washington, Meadow Lands and Canonsburg.

In his new assignment that will take effect in October as part of the On Mission initiative, Deacon Krofcheck with serve at St. Agnes Parish and Holy Trinity Parish, both in West Mifflin, and Christ the Light of the World Parish and St. Joseph Parish in Duquesne. He will serve there with Father Thomas Lewandowski and Father Edward Czemerda, two priests whom he has known for years.

Along with a deep love for the Catholic faith, marriage and family life were motivating factors in him becoming a deacon.

“I had considered the priesthood at one time in my life, and always had a strong desire to serve the church and to be active in the faith,” he said. “By embracing the sacraments of matrimony and holy orders, I can do both in very meaningful ways.”

When asked what initially attracted him to the diaconate, Deacon Krofcheck said, “that as a married man I could serve the church and its people in a more profound way.”

His wife, Robin, is very active in the deacon wives’ community in the diocese, including serving as one of the facilitators for the Wives’ Forum program for spouses of men who are in formation.

However, Deacon Krofcheck believes it takes a balance “between the diaconate and family life to be successful at both. Each needs its own time and, occasionally, one may dominate, but (it’s important to) remember to restore the balance to keep a healthy atmosphere.”

Deacon Krofcheck had the support and encouragement of his pastor, Father William Feeney, and Deacon Jeffrey Hirst, both of whom are also assigned to Immaculate Conception. Applying to the diaconate was a last-minute decision, he said, but one he has never regretted.

“The only way to truly know if you have a call (to the diaconate) is through prayer and discernment,” Deacon Krofcheck said. “If you feel in your heart that you want to do more to serve the church, you have a good relationship with God in prayer, you get joy in helping others, maybe then you should consider it.

“Also, talk with family, friends, and the priests and deacons at your parish. Those around you can see better than yourself if you should consider becoming a deacon. Look at your present commitments on your time. Do you have free time in a week to give to diaconal ministry? What changes may you need to make?”

Deacon Krofcheck has a ready answer to what else motivates him in his ministry: “Love. Love for all God’s people, not just those in my parish. It is for them that I serve. There is no greater joy than to do God’s work in the church,” he said.

Questions about diaconal ministry and the diocesan Deacon Formation Program may be directed to deacons@diopitt.org or 412-456-3124. For more information, including the complete interview with Deacon Krofcheck, go to www.diopitt.org/permanent-diaconate.

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