Get to know the new deacons being ordained July 20

DUBUQUE — Candidates of Deacon Formation Class XVIII are scheduled to be ordained as permanent deacons by Archbishop Michael Jackels on Saturday, July 20, 2019, at the Cathedral of St. Raphael,

Dubuque, at 10:30 a.m. Read on to find out more about each candidate.

Steven Robert Bauer is a parishioner at St. Matthew Parish in Cedar Rapids. He and his wife, Valerie Ann, have been married since 1982. They have three children. Bauer was born in 1952 in Kansas City, Missouri. He attended St. Joseph High School in Shawnee, Kansas, the U.S. Air Force Academy and California State University at Long Beach. Bauer holds a bachelor’s degree in astronautical engineering and a master’s in electrical engineer. He is employed as an engineer.

At his parish, Bauer is a eucharistic minister, brings Communion to the homebound, serves as a lector and visits parishioners who are hospitalized. He is a Bible study leader, confirmation leader and Holy Name member. In the past, Bauer has also been involved in his parish as a catechist, RCIA sponsor and marriage prep volunteer. He has also led retreats and a prayer group. Bauer is a former soccer coach and referee and Air Force Academy liaison officer.

As a deacon, Bauer is looking forward to “discovering the unexpected places the Holy Spirit will lead me.” For anyone discerning a vocation, Bauer recommends he or she “be open minded, pray and trust God.”


Kevin J. Hagarty is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Gilbertville. He and his wife, Kristy, entered into marriage in 1976 and are the parents of four children. Born in 1956 in Waterloo, Hagarty attended Don Bosco High School. He attended Hawkeye Institute of Technology and holds an associate degree in electronic engineering. He retired after working for many years at John Deere Inc. At his parish, Hagarty currently serves as a lector, acolyte and eucharistic minister. In the past, he has brought Communion to the homebound, been an usher and taken part in service trips. “I am looking forward to serving the church and community, and cooperating with God’s will,” said Hagarty of becoming a deacon. Hagarty is a former member of the Immaculate Conception school board and Camp Courageous volunteer. As a deacon, he is looking forward to assisting at Mass and with the needs of church. He reflected on his journey to the diaconate and offered the following advice to anyone discerning God’s call in his or her life. “When trying to discern a vocation, commit yourself to daily prayer and ask God if he wants you to commit to the vocation,” said Hagarty. “Listen intently, even though it’s not always clear, keep praying and moving towards the vocation, until you hear a yes or no for the vocation.”


David Allan Harris is a parishioner at Immaculate Conception and St. Wenceslaus parishes in Cedar Rapids. He and his wife, Jackie, received the sacrament of marriage in 2002 and have one child. Born in 1969 in Boone, Iowa, Harris attended Boone High School and Iowa State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Harris works in sales. At his parishes, Harris is a eucharistic minister, sacristan, lector, Bible study facilitator, and a lay presider for funeral vigils. In the past, he has been involved as a Liturgy of the Hours instructor and he and his wife have served as a mentor couple in the marriage prep program. As a deacon, Harris is looking forward to “spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.” He is involved in Jail & Prison Ministry, combating homelessness and aiding those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. In describing his journey to the diaconate, Harris stated that those undergoing discernment now should “pray about it, talk to your wife, and then do it.”

Daniel Hurt and his wife, Veronica, belong to the parishes of St. Thomas Aquinas in Webster City and St. Mary in Williams. They are the parents of five children. Born in Ft. Dodge in 1974, Hurt attended Northeast Hamilton High School in Illinois before earning a degree in English and a teaching license at Buena Vista University. He is currently employed by his cluster as the director of faith formation and youth minister. At the parishes, he is also involved as a volunteer on various committees and in the effort to take Communion to the homebound, among other things. He is also involved with the Iowa Food Bank and visits the Ft. Dodge Correctional Facility regularly. “As an ordained deacon, I will still continue to serve the church and community in many of these various roles,” he said. “It was through my formation that I got involved in Jail & Prison Ministry, and this is something I feel called to continue. … Being a deacon, however, is not about what I get to do; it is who I am, and these are all different avenues where the Lord can reach others through me.” Hurt is looking forward to assisting at Mass and with other sacraments as a deacon. For anyone in discernment, he advises: “Trust the Lord, and continue his guidance through prayer.”

Brad Kneeland is a member of St. Edward Parish in Waterloo. He and his wife, Jennifer, have five children. Born in 1966 in Decorah, he attended Columbus Catholic School in Waterloo before going on to Iowa State University to earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine. He currently works as a veterinarian. At his parish, Kneeland is an acolyte and eucharistic minister, and he participates in the sponsor couple program with his wife. He previously served as a greeter and in other capacities. Currently, he is volunteer night chaplain at Mercy One Hospital. Inspired by St. Francis, after his ordination, he plans to “spread the Gospel wherever I go and, if necessary, use words.” He is looking forward to “continuing my ministry among the people of the church.” For anyone discerning a vocation, he recommends to be brave in pursuing a calling. “It is only our hesitation that is keeping us apart from where (God) wants us to be or how we are to serve him,” he said. “Most of all, have faith in God’s plan.”

Keith McCarraher and his wife, Deanne, are members of the Spires of Faith Cluster  based in Dyersville. They have seven children. Born in 1967 in California, Mc- Carraher graduated from high school there before earning his degree in computer information management from Clarke College (now university). He works in manufacturing. At his parish, McCarraher is involved with confirmation preparation, RCIA, Bible studies, baptism preparation and That Man is You.

“(As a deacon), it’s the unknown journey that excites me most,” said McCarraher. Where will (God) need me? Who will he place in front of me? What will he ask of me? Come Holy Spirit!” In the past, McCarraher was a lector and sacristan, as well as a board member for local Catholic schools. He is active in the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Knights of Columbus and American Legion. In diaconate ministry, he is excited to stay involved with adult faith education or “whatever the Holy Spirit places in front of me.” “Allow the Holy Spirit to work on your life,” he said, when reflecting on discerning a vocation. “Don’t try to force anything. Prayer and time are your greatest resources.”

Frank Montabon and his wife Sheryl belong to St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Ames. They have two children. Born in 1969 in Berwyn, Illinois, Montabon attended Aquinas High School in LaCrosse, Wisconsin before pursuing degrees in business administration and operations management at Notre Dame University and Michigan State University respectively. He currently works as an associate professor of business and will begin as a professor in the fall.

At his parish, Montabon and his wife are involved in marriage preparation. He also serves as a lector and eucharistic minister. In the past, he was involved with activities for the Catholic student community and the parish budget committee, among other things. He is involved in jail and prison ministry and volunteers with Food at First. As a deacon, he is looking forward to participating in Catholic outreach to those that identify as LGBTQ, assisting at Mass, and proclaiming the Gospel.

“I am looking forward to ministering to the marginalized as I believe Jesus’ teacings are very clear on this subject,” said

Montabon. Montabon advocates for prayer and action when it comes to pursuing a calling from God. “If your mind regularly wanders to wondering about your vocation, follow up on it,” he said. “Pray and look for opportunities to receive help with discernment.”

John D. Robbins and his wife Sadie are members of the Church of the Resurrection Parish in Dubuque. They are the parents of three children. A native of Monmouth, Illinois, Robbins graduated from Monmouth High School before attending St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned a degree in business marketing. Robbins currently works as communications director of the archdiocese.

At his parish, he has previously been involved in young adult ministry and as a catechist, lector and eucharistic minister. As a deacon, he plans to work with his pastor to initiate a family ministry program focusing on discipleship in the home as well as leading baptismal preparation and helping with youth ministry. He also plans to stay active in Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry by serving on a rotation of ministers that lead ecumenical Sunday services at Dubuque County Jail.

“I look forward to accompanying other people on their spiritual journey and allowing them to journey with me and influence mine, if they so choose,” he said. “I’m excited to talk about Jesus, the difference a relationship with him has made in my life, and to share his love through charity, word and liturgy. Also … I can’t wait to sprinkle people with holy water using the aspergillum.”

For people discerning a vocation, he recommends they “talk to other people about what Jesus is saying to your heart and recognize that the Holy Spirit often speaks through them as well.”

Dan Rouse is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Cedar Rapids. He and his wife Jayne were married in 1987 and have two children. Born in 1964 in Independence, Rouse attended Independence High School, Kirkwood Community College and the University of Northern Iowa. He earned associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in communications with a focus on radio and television.

Rouse is currently employed as a creative services manager. At his parish, Rouse is involved with marriage enrichment and St. Patrick’s Men’s Fellowship. He also serves as a lector, eucharistic minister, homebound communion minister and as a visitor of parishioners that are in hospitals. In the past, he was the lay director of the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Men’s Conference, a Knight of Columbus with Council 14952, a certified judge for the Iowa High School Speech Association, a member of the digital media advisory committee at Kirkwood Community College and a volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

“The past four and-a-half years of formation have allowed me to learn and grow in my faith and serve in various ministries,” said Rouse. “I’m looking forward to future opportunities as I live out God’s calling in my diaconal ministry of word, liturgy and charity.” Over his years of discernment and formation, Rouse has learned the essential importance of prayer. “Prayer is vital to discern your calling and to sustain you through the formation process and beyond,” said Rouse. “Daily prayer and time in front of the Blessed Sacrament continue to provide direction for me.”

John F. Schmidt is a member of Sacred Heart Parish in Maquoketa, St. Lawerence Parish in Otter Creek and St. Joseph Parish in Preston. He has been married to his wife Pamela since 2002. They have four children. Born in 1964 in Maquoketa, Schmidt went to Divine Word Seminary in East Troy, Wisconsin for high school. He served in the U.S. Army from 1983-88.

He currently works as an auto technician. In his parishes, Schmidt is a lector, usher and eucharistic minister. He assists with confirmation retreats for young people and participates in social justice and faith formation projects at the parishes. In the past, he has served on the liturgy committee and in other capacities. Schmidt has also volunteered with the Boy Scouts and Knights of Columbus and has served as an American Legion chaplain. As a deacon, he is looking forward to participating with his wife in marriage ministries.

He is excited about the opportunity “to preach and to participate in the sacraments and to assist at the altar.”

“Anyone going into discernment about the diaconate should pray and listen to God,” reflected Schmidt as he prepared for the milestone of ordination. “Do what he tells you to do. He will answer you and ask you to answer the call. The devil will try to persuade you otherwise, but believe and listen to God.”

Brian Zeman is a member of St. Anthony Parish in Dubuque. He and his wife Jennifer have been married since 1996 and have five children. Born in 1965 in Wisconsin, Zeman graduated from Sauk Prairie High School and holds a degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin in Platteville. He works in advertising and marketing.

At his parish, he is a eucharistic minister and lector. He volunteers on Emmaus weekends and with That Man is You. As a deacon, he wants to focus on marriage preparation ministry and aid of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

“I’m looking forward to welcoming people into the church; either those who are entering at baptism, those who might have slipped away or those who are seeking a closer relationship with God,” he said. Zeman encourages people to listen to God when discerning a vocation. “Know that he’ll provide that answer, but probably not on your timeline,” he said. “Understand that God has great dreams for you so be open to what he has in mind.”