Sacred event, special place
Michael Weitl ordained a deacon at Basilica in Vatican City
October 25, 2013
Eminence Cardinal James Harvey, who is the Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls,laying his hands on Michael Weitl in ordinartion ceremony.
The following article was submitted by Twilla Hoffman of Carroll. She's a member of the Carroll area Serra Club, which promotes and foster religious vocations. She's been a friend and neighbor of Howard and Sharon's Weitl, whose son Michael was ordained a transitional deacon in a ceremony at Vatican City. She also was Michael's preschool teacher.
Michael R. Weitl, son of Howard and Sharon Weitl, was ordained a transitional deacon at The Chair in the Papal Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican City State.
The Weitls are members of the Carroll Area Serra Club in Carroll.
He was one of 41 students at the Pontifical North American College in Rome who was ordained by his Eminence James Cardinal Harvey on Thursday, Oct. 3.
This ordaining prelate is Archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul's outside the Walls.
Weitl graduated from Audubon High School in May 1995 and graduated from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb., in August 1998 with a degree in_math and Spanish.
While he was in college he spent a semester with a school missionary tour to the Dominican Republic. He worked with the hospice and nursing home patients. Some of the students in the group traveled to Haiti, and there he worked with the "poorest of poor" people. He left Haiti with an empty suitcase, leaving them all his clothes and belongings.
It was his experience in Haiti that he felt a calling to minister to the sick and needy as a missionary.
His father said, "After his college graduation Mike spent the next year visiting various seminaries and missionary societies all over the United States. He worked in the soup kitchens in the poor areas of New York City, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
During this time of discernment he discovered the Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario, Canada, in the Diocese of Pembroke.
He entered the Madonna House in 1999 as a guest and performed various duties there for a year.
His second year he entered the Madonna House priest seminary serving in the missionary field houses in Edmonton, and Regina, Canada, and in Brussels, Belgium.
Madonna House has 23 field houses worldwide.
Michael spent six months at the Madonna House in Washington, D.C., located across the street from the Hart Building. The religious assigned there spent 24 hours a day praying for the decisions being made by the members of Congress.
In 2008 he took his final vows, and in 2009 he began his seminary studies at St. Phillip's Seminary in Toronto, Canada.
The North American Conference of Catholic Bishops chose him to attend the Pontifical North American College, which is where he has been studying the past three years.
A paragraph in the ordination program reads: "At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed ... unto a ministry of service. For strengthened by the sacramental grace - they serve in the diaconate of the liturgy, the word and of charity to all people of God."
Weitl said,"I have always considered my many years being affiliated with the different missionary fields a very important aspect of my calling to the priesthood. I feel that was God's way of preparing me for this very sacred and holy vocation of which I feel so blessed and honored to be called to."
Deacon Louis Meiners vested Weitl in the deacon's stole and dalmatic. Meiners said, he "was honored to be a part of his former neighbor boy's ordination."
Meiners serves in St. Joseph Parish, Dedham, Annunciation Parish, Coon Rapids, and St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, Glidden.
He is also chaplain for the Carroll Area Serra Club.
Jenny Meiners, his daughter of Sioux Falls, S.D., traveled with her father.
The Weitls reside on a farm in northern Audubon County and have been active members of St. Patrick Parish in Audubon since 1970.
His mother, Sharon, said, "Our son has always had a deep devotion to Mary and the rosary."
She said, "We are filled with joy and gratitude to God for calling our son to a religious vocation. It is a miracle as he was a premature baby and nearly died in child birth."
Father Chris Fontani, who is pastor at Earling, Iowa, previously served at St. Patrick and counseled Weitl during his discernment of a religious vocation. A cousin, Father Paul Kelly, of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Denison, has also been an inspiration to Weitl during his time of discernment.
Bishop Richard Pates, Des Moines Diocese, designated Fontanni, and Father Dan Kirby, Winterset parish, to attend the ordination as his representatives.
Attending from the Madonna House were Father Denis Lemieux his spiritual director there, and four other staff members.
A contingency of 40 clergy, family and friends from Germany, Canada and the United States attended the ordination.
Ulla Siedenburg, of Hamburg, Germany, a former exchange student in the Weitl home joined the family.
Sister, Sherri Harms, her children, Shaylee and Andrew of Kearney, Neb., Sherri's husband, Bob, and their son, Ben, were the only family members unable to attend.
Brother, John, wife, Angie K. their three children, Halli, Jarett and Savannah of Omaha, Neb.
Sister, Angie Hupp, her husband, Lorne and their three daughters, Allissa, Brianne and Joslyn, of Kansas City, Mo.
Aunts: Noreen Havermann, Fort Dodge, and Janice Klaus and husband, Paul, of Minneapolis, Minn.
Cousins: Dale and Peg Heider, Humboldt, and Julie and Pat Weldon, Des Moines, Leon and Cathy Heider, Humboldt, and Aloys Kitte, Hanover, Germany, Harold and Carol Meiners, of Dedham.
Friends: Mark and Linda Kerkhoff, Audubon, and Mary Nieland, Carroll.
Weitl's father is a 1961 graduate of Kuemper Catholic High School, and his mother graduated from Marathon High School and Iowa School of Beauty in Des Moines. She has her business in her rural home.
His mother said, "God willing, Michael, will be ordained a priest on June 21, 2014, at Combermare, Ontario, in the Diocese of Pembroke, Ontario."