By Dan Russo
DUBUQUE — Five men from the Archdiocese of Dubuque are going to be ordained transitional deacons this year. The transitional diaconate is the last milestone before being ordained to the priesthood.
The ordinations are scheduled for 7 p.m. May 27 at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque. The five candidates are: Dennis Conway, Ralph Davis, Kevin Earleywine, Andrew Marr, and Austin Wilker. They will receive an additional year of formation and training before joining the priesthood.
Dennis Conway is finishing his third year of theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He is the son of Brian and Christina Conway. Dennis grew up in Cedar Rapids as a member of All Saints Parish.
Ralph Davis grew up as a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Gilbertville. He attended Immaculate Conception grade school and graduated from Don Bosco High School in 2009. He entered seminary formation at St. Pius X Seminary at Loras College in the fall of 2009 and graduated from there in 2013. Davis has recently completed his third year of Theology at Mundelein Seminary.
“One thing I have been able to do this semester is travel to the Holy Land with my class,” reflected Davis recently. “We traveled around to various sites in Israel for eight and a half weeks. It was a really good experience, especially with diaconate ordination coming up, to visit the places we hear about so often in the Gospels.”
Earleywine was born and raised on a farm in the small town of Brodhead, Wisconsin. In 2008 he began studying at Loras College in Dubuque. After two years of study, he formally entered the St. Pius X Seminary Program at Loras College, beginning in the fall of 2010. In 2012 he graduated from Loras and began his studies at Mundelein Seminary. In February 2014, he chose to take some time from seminary to explore religious life.
“In the Fall of 2014, I joined a religious community known as the Franciscans of the Eucharist of Chicago, whose main apostolate involves service and outreach to the poor neighborhood of West Humboldt Park in Chicago,” said Earleywine. “In Feb. 2015, I discerned that God was calling me to be a diocesan priest.”
Earleywine returned to study as a seminarian for the archdiocese. He spent the remainder of that year on a pastoral internship at St. John XXIII Parish in Cedar Rapids. In the Fall of 2015, he resumed studies at Mundelein. From January to March of 2016, he and fellow classmates at Mundelein spent two months on pilgrimage to the Holy Land (Israel).
Andrew Marr grew up in Floyd, the son of David and Tami Marr. He has an older sister, Ashley, and a younger brother, Anthony. His home parish is Immaculate Conception in Charles City. Marr graduated from Charles City High School in 2006 and graduated in 2012 from Loras College. He started major seminary in the Fall of 2013 at Mundelein Seminary.
“I recently finished my third year of theology and I am looking forward to being in Calmar with Father Bob Gross for the summer,” he said.
Austin Wilker is a native of Garnavillo. He graduated from Clayton Ridge High School in 2008 and then moved on to pursue his passion of studying astronomy at Drake University.
“It was there that I found my call to the Priesthood and said yes,” recalled Wilker.
He transferred to Loras College and graduated in 2013. He recently finished his third year of theology at Mundelein Seminary. This semester he was also able to go to the Holy Land for eight weeks on pilgrimage with some of his classmates.
“Being able to walk in the footsteps of Christ and immerse myself in the Gospel truly opened up the Scriptures in a new and thrilling way that I hope to be able to share with the people in the Archdiocese of Dubuque,” said Wilker.