Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2008
Deacon may open 'new vistas' in Camrose region
- WCR photo by Glen Argan
Doug Tien has been a community leader in Camrose, including stints as president of the Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the St. Mary's Hospital board.
By GLEN ARGAN
Once upon a time, there were three priests in Camrose - the pastor, the associate pastor and another priest in the high school.
Today there is Father Eduardo Escober who serves the city of 16,000 as well as the parish in Bashaw. Then there are missions in Hay Lakes and Round Hill.
But Deacon Doug Tien hopes he can help. The weekend after his ordination, the 56-year-old accountant was to preach at the four Masses in Camrose and Bashaw.
He also expects to lead funerals, witness marriages, facilitate activities in the parish and be part of the chaplaincy at Augustana University College.
Then there is the hospital. Tien served nine years on the board of St. Mary's Hospital, including a stint as chairman. He walked the halls of the building when it was under construction. Now he'll be involved in ministry there.
"If we can support the pastors, that would be wonderful," Tien said in an interview a couple of days before his ordination. "It opens up some other vistas."
When Archbishop Thomas Collins launched the diaconate program for the archdiocese, Catholics in Camrose turned to Tien as a likely prospect.
"It was never in my mind," he recalls. But the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul (Kingston) who run the hospital suggested he consider it. So did others in the parish.
"To me, it felt right too," Tien said. Even if he was never ordained, he knew he would benefit from the education and formation.
Tien is a mainstay in Camrose. A former president of the city's Chamber of Commerce, he has also been active in the Lions Club, Habitat for Humanity and a myriad of activities in St. Francis Xavier Parish.
"I've been a big volunteer right through. Small towns are that way - nothing much happens without volunteers."
Once in the diaconate program, Tien felt he had found his long-lost brothers among the other candidates.
He noted that he had drifted away from his boyhood friends - they had moved away or not followed the same path of life.
But when he joined the diaconate program, "I found I had 12 brothers out there I didn't know I had.
"With these ones, you feel like you've known them forever."
For the past year, Tien has been giving a reflection after Communion at a couple of morning Masses a week at St. Francis Xavier.
"It's not like any other public speaking that you train for," he said. "It's more personal and close to your heart where you're sharing your faith and the teachings of the Church."
It's easy to tell he's looking forward to preaching. He has a clear love of Scripture and he talks about how it has heightened his prayer life.
Tien has been encouraged by the positive reaction he has had from parishioners to his reflections. He hopes he can lead others to love Scripture as well.
His wife Mary has been active in the formation program too. Over the years, the couple has taken on several ministries together. Now, it's as though the parish is getting two ministers who've been through the program, he said.
"That should be a resource for the parish that we've never had before."
Their daughter, Shannon, 19, is now studying English at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.
Tien knows there will be thorns with the roses in his ministry. Not everything will work out as planned. But after years of being a community and parish leader, he's ready to take it to another level.
"At this point, it's like 'Oh Lord! It's good to be here."