WCR PHOTO | CHRIS MILLER
Margaret and Deacon Wesley Turton belong to Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove/Stony Plain.
Some men entering the diaconate receive clear signs or hear a dramatic call. Wesley Turton's experience was not as noteworthy.
"There was no lightning or voices coming out of the clouds. If I heard God's voice, it sounded a lot like Father Paul Terrio. He was the one who promoted it to me," said Turton, one of four men ordained to the diaconate June 2 at St. Joseph's Basilica.
Turton is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Spruce Grove-Stony Plain. He is an industrial level electrician, and his interests include reading, board games, music and acreage maintenance.
A convert to the Roman Catholic Church, he took RCIA at age 21. He married his wife Margaret, a cradle Catholic, 35 years ago. Together they have six children and seven grandchildren. He is grateful to his wife and family for their patience over the past five years of the diaconate process.
Making an informed decision or judgment on any subject, especially Christianity, is difficult without first learning more about the subject, he said. Even earnest Catholics could make an effort to increase their knowledge of the faith.
Almost every Sunday, Turton kept asking Terrio questions about the Church, religion and theology. Finally, perhaps sensing his keen interest in the faith, Terrio suggested he become a deacon.
Admittedly not strong academically, taking the diaconate program entailed new challenges for Turton. He used computers and learned English arts, which were foreign to him before.
"God answers prayers in mysterious ways because I often thought I should improve in those areas and the next thing I know, I am," he said. "It's been an extremely fruitful program for me to take, and had I not even passed, it still would have been worth it because of what I gained and what I learned."
He was pushed beyond the threshold of his knowledge of Catholicism.
"If you're going to make it, God is going to get you through. You're not going to get through this on your own," he said.
In his new role as deacon, Turton will assist his parish's pastor at Mass. But he asked for some time to determine which specific services he will perform. He has put extensive effort into completing the program but not much thought into what he will do next.
Never accomplishing for oneself what can be achieved fills a person with regrets and misgivings. He heard a quote that hell is when you meet the person that you could have become.
While he does not necessarily encourage every man to become a priest or deacon, he does suggest that every man broaden his understanding of his faith.
Turton is a strong believer that most people do not maximize themselves. His view is that if every Christian in the world tried to learn 10 per cent more about their faith, the whole world would change.
"Most people are capable of things that they never thought they could accomplish. I hope more people would be encouraged to attempt. There is growth, even in the attempt, whether you succeed or not."