Parish: St. Michael, Vicksburg
Spouse: Ann Rouch
Hometown: Vicksburg, but after college I moved to Magnolia, Arkansas for 22 years before moving back in late 2018.
As a Catholic, did you have a deep conversion or deep faith experience?
My real conversion came about in my mid to late 30s when my pastor asked me to serve as RCIA director. I was in a very small parish and so one other gentleman and myself handled all the presentations. As I dug deep into the scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, God drew me deeper and deeper into himself. The more and more I learned about what the church really teaches the more and more I realized how closely what the church teaches aligns with what I personally believe to be true, and I got really, really excited about my faith. It changed my life.
Favorite Scripture passage: Luke 1:46-49 – “And Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.’” I love this passage because it describes the way He has worked in my life!
Favorite saints: St. Thomas Aquinas – I appreciate his efforts as reconciling reason with the faith of the church. This reconciling has been very important to my own journey and is vital to the future of the church.
My favorite female saint has just got to be Mother Teresa. Her faithfulness to the Lord’s calling for her and her dedication to doing the work of the Lord is an inspiration to me and speaks to people of all nations and faiths and walks of life. Her life demonstrates an important element of how the church needs to evangelize in the future.
Favorite religious image: I really like the image of the smiling Jesus. I think it’s a good model for us as we think of ourselves as images of Christ that the rest of the world sees. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of joy – we need to let people see that. When people look at us, they need to see the joy of the Gospel shining out to them through a happy person smiling back at them, ready to share their joy with them.
Favorite liturgy: By far the Easter Vigil! I love the drama played out in the fire outside, the light of Christ being carried into the darkened church, the lights being brought up as the old testament unfolds and then the celebration when Jesus comes into the world! I wish everyone would immerse themselves in the Triduum and take part in the Easter Vigil. Mass on Easter day pales in comparison!
Did you come across something you learned in your formation that you did not expect?
Probably the thing that I didn’t expect was how much I would grow as a person. One of my first Deacon formators said, “if you want to be the same person that you are today, leave now.” Formation is about growing into a better image of Jesus Christ. People think it’s about studying and learning stuff, but really, that’s just a means to an end. It’s really about changing who you are for the better.
Vocation story: In retrospect, I think I have been aware of a call beyond the vocation of Christian husband and father from an early age. When I was a kid, I’d play priest and my mom says I would tell her that I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. Life went on and I got interested in girls and life took turns that I felt like closed off that opportunity to me. One day at church I saw a flyer about the diaconate, and I picked it up. I remember being incensed that the church wouldn’t ordain people until they were 35.
Then when I was about that age, the diocese started a Diaconate formation class. I thought about it briefly but didn’t respond. During that time, I became very active in my church and my pastor at the time, Father T.J. Hart, asked me if I’d ever considered the diaconate. He invited me to pray about it, but it would be several more years before the diocese started another class.
During that time, I was praying about it diligently and I led a church trip to an event at another parish. As we walk in, this guy walks up to greet us, looks at me and says, “Are you a Deacon, or are you going to be one?” Obviously, I was completely shocked! At the time, only my wife and my pastor knew anything about my discernment. I had to ask the people with me not to talk it, because the shock on my face was readily apparent to everyone.
Now that I look back on my journey, God gave me lots of hints and nudges along the way, and He even guided me away from the priesthood, which I see clearly now was not my calling. People ask, “How did you receive your call?” From my experience, that is the wrong question. We are all called to ministry, some are called to live their baptismal ministry as Christian Husband or Christian Wife and Father or Mother. Some are called to the religious life. Some are called to the priesthood. Some are called to the diaconate either as a single person or a married couple, but we are all called. It’s not a matter of being called, it’s a matter of recognizing what you are called to and deciding how you are going to respond.
What are you most looking forward to doing?
What I really want to do the most is engage the young adult church. Young people today are so beautiful and want so desperately to do good, but they have been let down by everyone: their parents, their church, their government, society. They are jaded and distrustful, especially of the church. here is such good and such beauty in Catholicism, but many of them dismiss it, thinking it is too good to be true. I want to reach out to them, get them involved and “rebuild the brand.”
Ann and I have four adult children and three grandsons:
Reece and his wife Nicole and their son Jack, age seven months. They live in Olive Branch.
Destin and her husband Jonathan and their two sons, James (6) and Benjamin (2). They live in Germany.
Meredith, our daughter, who lives in Shreveport.
Conner and her husband Zach, who live in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Deacon’s wives questions:
Name: Ann Rouch
What did you think when your husband first began to consider ordination?
When David first started talking about entering the deaconate program, I thought that if this was what God was calling him to do then who was I to stand in his way? I very much supported his decision. David has always worked in the church, so this seemed to be the next step. I was concerned that in becoming a deacon, then he would have to work where the priest told him to work instead of where he wanted to work. I am sure that whatever assignment David is given then he will give it his all.
How has the preparation deepened your spirituality?
I think this has made me more open minded to things. I find myself trying to look at all sides in any situation more. I pray about everything all the time. I try to find God in everything. I am convinced more than ever that there are no coincidences, that God has a hand in everything. My hope and outlook are more positive. The longer that I live I realize that I cannot change anything, but that God can change everything. Also, I don’t have to be successful; I just have to be faithful. Mother Teresa’s words to live by.
How has the preparation impacted your relationship as a couple and as a family?
Over the last five years, David has been noticeably absent from most holiday and family events. My family thought that he must be having an affair. I assured them that it was an affair with God. Whenever we went anywhere, I always drove, and David was in the back seat either reading a book or typing a paper for class. David has been giving his obvious sacrifice, but I like to think that I am also giving God my sacrifice of time with my husband. We have many more religious discussions, and we pray together. I think that the experience has strengthened our relationship as a couple.