By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Two men will be ordained to the priesthood and two to the diaconate during an ordination Mass June 4 at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Mass is not open to the public, but will be livestreamed on the Sacred Heart YouTube page at https://tinyurl.com/4bxjwfae
Deacons Dale Mallory and Ben Snyder will be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Davenport. Seminarians Isaac Doucette and Duoc (Dominic) Hoang Nguyen will be ordained to the diaconate. The seminarians will continue their studies for the priesthood at University of St. Mary of the Lake-Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois.
Deacon Mallory, 31, said his discernment story is tied closely to his coming back to the Church. “After college, I was dissatisfied with my life. Despite doing well overall in regard to my job, finances and so forth, I wanted to find a deeper meaning to my life. After investigating many different faiths, I decided to give Catholicism another go. I was raised Catholic but fell away from the practice of the faith during college.”
When he returned to Mass, “I felt the power of Christ’s love for me and his desire to bring my life into conformity with him. I started going to confession, adoration and daily Mass. As I did so over the course of a year and half, I felt in my prayers that God was asking for even more from me. I thought maybe he was calling me to be a priest, or to at least give seminary a shot.”
Deacon Mallory spoke with Father Thomas Doyle who introduced Mallory to then-Vocations Director Father Thom Hennen. “We began meeting every few months,” Deacon Mallory said. “During that time, I went on discernment retreats, visited seminaries and spent more time in prayer in order to see where the Spirit was leading me. Each step I moved closer to the seminary filled me with excitement, joy and also a deep sense of contentment. There was still fear of the unknown, of course, but I let that movement of the Holy Spirit lead me and it brought me to the seminary. I have continued to follow that Spirit, even now as he prepares me for ordination to the priesthood.”
Deacon Mallory completed internships at Our Lady of Lourdes and St. John Vianney parishes in Bettendorf, Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington/West Burlington, St. Mary Parish in Williamsburg and St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City. He completed his clinical pastoral education at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and his theology studies at St. Paul Seminary, School of Divinity in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Deacon Snyder, 27, said he didn’t have a “lightning bolt” moment, but a series of small ones over time discerning a call to the priesthood. “A first moment was when my family started to go to Mass at Mother Cabrini (Richland) and St. Joseph (East Pleasant Plain) on a regular basis.” Until then, his first church memories were of going to Prairie View Methodist Church since his dad and grandparents were Methodist.
Father Charles Fladung was the pastor in Richland and East Pleasant Plain “and I would say he is the first priest that got me thinking about priesthood. It was there that I received first Communion, learned to serve at Mass, and we were part of a group of local homeschooling families that went to the parish at the time.”
Another moment occurred when Deacon Snyder’s dad converted to Catholicism. “When he became Catholic, our family could be one in the faith and that really created a strong home environment of prayer and discernment.” The family attended St. James Parish in Washington, where Deacon Snyder was confirmed. Fathers Paul Appel and Troy Richmond were the first young priests he met, which made him realize that he could begin discerning a call to the priesthood at a young age, such as right after high school.
Deacon Snyder’s appreciation for eucharistic adoration serves as another moment calling him to discern a vocation to the priesthood. His family spent one hour a week in adoration, which took his prayer life deeper. “I applied and was accepted for the Diocese of Davenport and went to Conception Seminary College” in Conception, Missouri. He completed internships at St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City, Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport and Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace in Clinton. He completed clinical pastoral education at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis and his theology studies at St. Paul Seminary.
Doucette, 32, attended Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Iowa-Henry B. Tippie College of Business, with a BBA in entrepreneurial management. He worked in finance at Northwestern Mutual and then Transamerica in various capacities. In the fall of 2017, he discerned a call to the priesthood and began studies at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake-Mundelein Seminary. He completed internships at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf, Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf and Holy Family Parish in Riverside, Richmond and Wellman.
Nguyen, 27, attended Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois, and Scott Community College in Bettendorf and graduated from Conception Seminary College. He currently is studying at Mundelein Seminary.
He completed internships at Divine Mercy Parish in Burlington/West Burlington and St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. His clinical pastoral education has included hospital visits to Genesis East in Davenport, Genesis Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf and various nursing homes, homes and workshops.