July 8, 2016

Serra Club vocations essay

Student witnesses mercy in the ministry of Deacon Rick Wagner

(Editor’s note: The following is the fourth in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2016 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By T.J. Mann (Special to The Criterion)

T.J. MannI have experienced mercy throughout my life.

Growing up in a Catholic school allowed me to experience it firsthand. I was able to witness it through others, was given mercy and even gave mercy to others. I have seen mercy through my friends, teachers, family members and more.

At Christ the King School (in Indianapolis), I felt that everyone cared for the best for everyone around them. As I moved on to high school, I wondered if I would experience that same feeling.

Fortunately, I could tell that Bishop Chatard High School (BCHS) was like a family. Each person shared kindness and compassion with those around them. As I became more familiar with Bishop Chatard, I really noticed one person in particular through whom I’ve experienced mercy every single day.

Since becoming a part of the BCHS family last year, I have been privileged to experience Deacon Rick Wagner’s mercy day in and day out. Deacon Rick has shown me indirectly how to be merciful in my everyday life.

For example, every week, we have a Mass for the entire school. The Mass is celebrated by a priest from another parish, and by his side is Deacon Rick Wagner. Deacon Rick has given a homily many times at Mass. During these homilies, I hear stories of a man who shows compassion for those with whom he has had contact.

These stories come from experiences he has had with an organization that he is a part of named Helping Our Own People (HOOP). It is an organization that goes out to the homeless in Indianapolis to provide food, clothing and other items.

Although I have not personally witnessed him doing these things with HOOP, I know that he has touched the hearts of many who have forgotten what mercy is.

I believe that all students at Bishop Chatard High School are similar to these people in that we sometimes forget what mercy feels like. I personally have witnessed Deacon Rick offer help to those who are struggling or to those who have lost their way.

Overall, although I have not personally been ministered to, I definitely have witnessed Deacon Rick Wagner give mercy to all those with whom he comes into contact.

(T.J. and his parents, Todd and Heather Mann, are members of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis. He completed the 10th grade at Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the 10th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2016 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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