July 20, 2018

Serra Club Vocations Essay

Student’s late grandfather, a deacon, showed how to lead by example

By Sarah Gray (Special to The Criterion)

Sarah GrayThe contemporary American entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki once said that “the reality is that the only way change comes is when you lead by example.”

Leadership is a necessary skill for disciples to have. Leading by example is exactly what priests, deacons, nuns, brothers and even lay members must do to show Christ to others.

Deacons are especially helpful and active members of the Church. One specific deacon who used leading by example to change my life was my grandfather, Deacon Ronald Stier. Deacon Ron Stier not only led an openly holy life in the Church, but also a personal one within our family. My grandpa changed me to become a better person through his obvious love and example of service.

Deacon Ron was a disciple of Christ. He showed this quality through his unconditional love for everyone. My grandpa had a large family, and he loved us all more than anything. When he first became a deacon, he came home and gave us all a blessing.

As a young child, this had a huge impression on me. I thought my grandfather was the most amazing person alive. I bragged about him to all of my friends. He blessed our Bibles, rosaries, and other items. He persuaded me to pray more than anyone else. My grandpa made creating a relationship with God fun and easy to understand. He shaped my prayer routine, and made me who I am today.

My grandpa loved his family so much, and showed it all the time. By loving us, he showed us the love of Jesus. With every sacrifice he made for his family, he emulated Christ’s sacrifice for us. That is what made him such a great disciple. Deacon Ron’s actions have showed me how to love others and treat them with respect.

He also affected my life by his acts of service. This was a major way he led by example. My grandpa used to deliver Communion to various places, including nursing homes and even the jail. Here, he led by example.

Since he passed away, my other grandma has become an extraordinary minister of holy Communion who brings the Eucharist to homebound members of the parish. I am also now considering becoming an extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

This goes to show that my grandfather’s selfless actions have an effect on various people. Even when he was ill, my grandpa did his best to serve the Church. This was especially inspiring to me. Though my grandpa was struggling himself, he still constantly thought of others.

Deacon Ron Stier was a disciple of Christ through his love and service. He changed my life and many others for the better.

Leadership is an excellent trait to have, and my grandpa was naturally an incredible leader. His examples showed me the correct way to live. Leading by example is the only way to change lives, and that is exactly what my grandfather did.

(Sarah and her parents, Vince and Denise Gray, are members of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Richmond. She completed the 12th grade at Seton Catholic High School in Richmond last spring, and is the 12th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2018 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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