New deacons to be ordained in archdiocese

HIAWATHA — Eleven men will be ordained permanent deacons July 15 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Hiawatha after four and a half years of formation. Below is information about the 2017 class of deacons.

Stan Upah of St. Patrick Parish in Tama and his wife, Charlotte, were married in 1980 and have three children, including Deacon Andy Upah, who was ordained to the transitional diaconate earlier this year. Upah, 57, is self-employed and works in the agricultural industry. He currently serves as a marriage minister, youth group leader and religious educator at his parish, among other roles.

As a deacon, Upah is looking forward to “serving the needs of people seeking God in their lives, and to build the body of Christ through marriage ministry and youth education as vehicles to lead people to holiness with a focus on salvation of souls through the truth of the Catholic Church.”

Scott Zogg of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Hiawatha and his wife, Mary, were married in 1986 and are parents of four children. Zogg, 54, is an engineer with Rockwell Collins. He is involved in youth ministry, RCIA, retreat teams and the parish council at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, as well as other endeavors.

“My formation has been a tremendous gift,” he said. “I’m looking forward to see where God will lead me to use that formation in his service.”

Daniel O’Brien of St. Benedict Parish in Decorah and his wife, Kim, were married in 1977 and have three children. The 60-year-old native of Cresco is self-employed in the construction industry. At his parish, O’Brien is a faith formation teacher, a member of the pastoral council and part of the retreat team, among other activities. He is also involved in Habitat for Humanity as a volunteer and past board member.

“As deacon, I pray that I may embrace the spirit of Christ in the joyful service of others, all for the glory of God!” he said.

Robert F. Pailthorpe of Immaculate Conception Parish in Van Horne and his wife, Diane Lynn, were married in 1991 and have three children. In 2001, Pailthorpe retired from the U.S. Navy where he worked as a journalist. He is currently a security-training instructor at the Transportation Security Administration (U.S. Department of Homeland Security). Pailthorpe serves his parish as a eucharistic minister, lector and catechist and is vice president of the parish council.

Pailthorpe, 54, is looking forward to “preaching the Gospel of God’s love and building a greater sense of community within the Queen of Saints Cluster.”

Matthew Miller of St. Mary Parish in Greene and his wife, Monica, have been married since 2002 and have five children. Miller, 40, is a farmer of certified organic corn, soybeans ands oats and member of the International Organic Inspectors Association.

Miller is a eucharistic minister, lector and catechist at his parish and is active in the Knights of Columbus. As an inspiration for his ministry as a deacon, Miller alluded to John 3:30.

“‘He must increase; I must decrease’ for the building of the kingdom of God,” said Miller.   

Travis J. King of St. Columbkille and St. Joseph the Worker parishes in Dubuque has been married to his wife, Melissa, since 2006. The couple have four children. Born in Mason City and raised in Dougherty, King is director of the Office of Client Management at Prudential Retirement.

King, 36, serves as a eucharistic minister and is a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference at his parishes, serves meals at the Dubuque mission and is a Knight of Columbus.

King is looking forward to “showing the love of God to others through liturgy, word and charity, (and) lead many souls to heaven.”

Chris E. Evans of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Waterloo has been married to his wife, Carrie, since 1995, and the couple has five children. Evans, 45, is employed at Covenant Medical Center. At his parish, Evans is a eucharistic minister, cantor and member of the TEC team, among other activities. He is also involved in the Cub and Boy Scouts, the Knights of Columbus and coaching for youth sports.

“I think that I am most looking forward to discerning the face of God in those that I have the opportunity to serve as part of this vocation,” he said.

As a deacon, Evans said he will “really be paying attention to the needs of the church in Waterloo and the needs of the community” for his first few years in ministry.

Mark Dolash of St. Henry Parish in Marshalltown and his wife, Shelby, were married in 1980 and have four children. Dolash, 59, is an employee of the Iowa Department of Transportation. He is active in his parish as a lector, eucharistic minister and Knight of Columbus. He is also involved with Little League, first responders, his local fire department and the Izaak Walton League.

As a deacon, Dolash is looking to “represent the church in such a way that everyone would want to be a part of it.”

Thomas Blomme of St. James Parish in Forest City (part of the Archangels Cluster) has been married to his wife, Julie, since 1990. They are the parents of two children. Blomme is retired after spending 39 years working in education at Forest City Elementary School.

Blomme is a member of the youth ministry advisory team at his parish and also serves as a eucharistic minister and Knight of Columbus. In his community, he is a co-coordinator of the local CROP Hunger walk, a national charity event that raises money to fight hunger. He also serves on the board of directors of his local YMCA and the Winnebago County Historical Society board.

“I am most looking forward to serving the spiritually, emotionally and physically poor of God’s humanity,” said Blomme.

Charles J. Bernhard of St. Cecilia Parish in Ames has been married to his wife, Adriana, since 1999. The couple has four children. Bernhard is currently employed at the Iowa Department of Transportation. At his parish, he is involved with the Legion of Mary and Date Night ministries. In his community, he is also active at Beloit Residential Care.

As a deacon, Bernhard, 48, is looking forward to “sharing God’s love and mercy (and) ministering to the poor.”

Michal Schemmel of Immaculate Con­ception in Sumner has been married to his wife, Holly, since 1987. The couple has three children. He currently works at Mercy Hospital in Oelwein as staff chaplain.

At his parish, he currently serves as a eucharistic minister, lector and acolyte. In the past, he has served as a religious education teacher and on various parish committees. He is a YMCA Big Brother and on the Project Reach Fundraising Committee.

“I sense my role as deacon will be best served assisting various cluster and parish groups in ministry,” said Schemmel. “I also feel called to the ministry of the sick and homebound. Jesus defines the role of deacon as one who serves others with love and compassion. What better role can we have than one that shapes our lives towards Jesus?”

Coverage of the diaconate ordination will be in the July 23 issue of The Witness and more information will also be posted at

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