Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2008
God's love was a revelation for Farley
Business success allows Wetaskiwin man to turn his attention to ministry
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
At age 25, Leo Farley sunk to his knees and prayed.
By LASHA MORNINGSTAR
WCR News Editor
Leo Farley's eyes smile as he says, "I remember as a child lying in the fields, looking up at the clouds and wondering who God was and what eternity was."
Now 62, Farley's search for who God is in his life finds him in the first class of deacons ordained July 4.
"Being a deacon is not something you choose even though you do make a choice," describes an impassioned Farley. "It is a calling. You feel a calling inside and you respond to it and be obedient to that calling and open to what the Holy Spirit is doing in your life."
A cradle Catholic, Farley felt he "grew up with a fear of God more than love, and in his late teens he "kinda drifted away - not too far - because God always had his hand on me."
But the gift of the Good News for Modern Man Bible let young Leo realize "the Lord was a real loving God."
As he read, "Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened . . ." he sunk to his knees, saying, "Lord, I am seeking, I'm knocking, I'm asking."
Farley was 25 at the time and not long afterwards ended up in charismatic renewal "and my real personal relationship with Christ started and it gave me a better understanding of the Holy Spirit."
He heard there were deacons "and I wanted to be deacon." But there was no program then, "so I just took a couple of courses at St. Joseph's (College). The children started coming and I spent my energies raising my family."
Farley opened his own oilfield supply business in Wetaskiwin "with a minimal amount of money in 1993. Father Bob Colburn blessed our company and it just took off and spread throughout the province.
"As I look back now, (the business' success) allows me to be able to a deacon full time because I was able to retire."
It was just four years ago when Father Mitchell Fidyka, then the pastor at the city's Sacred Heart Parish, said, "Leo, they are opening up the diaconate to married men."
Farley attended the inquiry night, took the information package home, answered the questions, did all the interviews and he says with an ear-to-ear smile, "it has been a journey ever since."
Beauty of the faith
Farley exclaims with wonderment,
"I did not realize how deep our faith was until I really got into this. You never would exhaust the beauty of our Church. There is so much to it.
"The professors that we have had, like Dr. (Caroline) Nolan, the priests that have been looking after us, like Father Paul Terrio - these people have had a profound effect on my life."
Farley says he also drew strength and direction from his parish priest
Father Jim Corrigan.
"He was my spiritual director, my confessor, a real inspiration to me. He has always been there to support me."
As with any intensive path of discovery, "There were a lot of bumps along the way as well. There've been challenges. I am not saying it is an easy road.
"But it was a tremendous journey.
Farley's wife Gerry and children Ryan 27, Lindsey, 25, Michael, 22, and Caitlin, 13, watched their husband and father as he took this new life path.
"My wife is supportive - behind me 100 per cent," he says. "My kids are the same way. They are all looking forward to the day when I am ordained."
Then he begins his mission.
"A deacon," he explains "is the third degree of the ministerial priesthood. We are the natural bridge between the laity and the ministerial priesthood. We are married, still in the world, yet we are part of the ministerial priesthood as well."