Dc. Robert Johnson
“What happened to that man I married?” This is the question my wife, Patt, has been asking me since the spring of 1998 when I applied for the diaconate.
Applying was so out of character for me. By nature I am a quiet and shy person. Neither of us could see me in the role of a deacon. We weren’t the only ones with doubts.
Shortly after ordination, I visited a fellow parishioner in the hospital and he told me, "Robert, I owe you an apology.” I asked him why. He said, “When they announced in church that you were entering the diaconate program, I thought, "I can’t see him doing that. He’s so quiet.” He went on to tell me, “I was wrong, you are doing a good job.”
After four years of preparing for the diaconate I came to understand why the preparation is called formation. That is truly what it was for me. Through my fellow classmates, their wives, the guest deacons and their wives, I came to understand that there is no “role” for a deacon.
I am still the same person but formed differently. My only role is to be open to the Holy Spirit in my life, and to use his gifts as God leads me.
Deacon Robert Johnson was ordained with the fifth diaconate class Dec. 14, 2002. He and his wife, Patt, have been married 42 years and have two children and three grandchildren. They reside in Pine Bluff where he is now retired from the steel industry. He is currently assigned at St. Joseph Church, where he is very involved with Pre-Cana and Marriage Encounter along with his diaconate duties and hospital visitations. They are also currently part of the diaconate formation core team.