A few months ago, somebody commented to Deacon Richard Wilson that his last semester at seminary should be easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Deacon Wilson and Deacon Roger Morgan have been working harder than ever as the clock winds down to the day they will be ordained as priests for the Diocese of Charleston.
The two men have been writing papers and taking exams as they complete classes at St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston, plus performing their duties as transitional deacons.
They will be ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone on May 29 at St. Mary Church in Greenville.
Deacon Morgan said he has been working especially hard in a class on the Gospel of John, and on a paper he wrote for sacred theology about the ritual of laying on of hands in the Catholic charismatic renewal.
He has also assisted at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Houston, where he was able to baptize, preach at Mass and bless marriages.
Added to his daily duties is the challenge of making arrangements to move back to South Carolina. Deacon Morgan is originally from the Upstate and his home parish is St. Mary. He became a Catholic in his 20s and felt the call to priesthood at age 31. Before the seminary, he worked for 15 years as a cook in Georgia, Minnesota and Texas.
“It’s all been busy and a little hectic, but it feels great to be at this point,” he said. “Something that’s been long expected is finally coming to fruition. I’m certainly very happy and looking forward to coming back home and being able to serve in the diocese. There also is a bit of anxiousness, because I’ll be stepping into a new role.”
Deacon Wilson, whose home parish is St. Joseph in Anderson, has divided his time between academics and parish work.
He took classes on parish administration, the writings of St. John and St. Augustine, canon law, the sacraments and leadership. During the weekends, he served at Resurrection Catholic Church in Houston and La Divina Providencia, a mission church, where he assisted the pastor at Masses in both Spanish and English, performed baptisms and preached during Mass several times.
“It’s been great to experience all the challenges and joys of being in a parish,” he said.
Deacon Wilson, who is in his 60s, experienced seminary with classmates who were typically much younger.
He was raised Lutheran and retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army. He was working as a financial adviser when he joined the Church in 1998. His call to the priesthood came in 2005.
“Sometimes I feel like there’s too much on my plate, but I know the Lord will help me get through it,” he said. “I try to be faithful in what I have to do. You have to trust God that things will work out, because God works, God provides, he answers prayers and things come together.”
Related: Deacons Morgan and Wilson: ‘Bring hope and love’ to God’s people
Miscellany file photo/Doug Deas: Deacon Richard Wilson, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, and Deacon Roger Morgan process out of St. Joseph Church in Columbia, where the two men were ordained to the transitional diaconate on May 16, 2014.