Thursday, August 11, 2022

Meet Deacons Biter, Bogdanoff and Centenera

Over the course of the next several weeks, The Catholic Witness will introduce readers to the Diocese’s 35 new permanent deacons, with photos, biographical information, and their comments/words/remarks on service to the Church.

Deacon Shawn Biter
Deacon Shawn Biter
Deacon Shawn Biter

Wife: Becky Biter
Home Parish: Our Lady of Lourdes, Enola
Parish Assignment: Our Lady of Lourdes, Enola
What drew you to serve the Diocese as a Deacon?
I have, for as long as I can remember, been drawn to serve the Church. Even when I was a child, I wanted to preach.
What aspect of the ministry are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to preaching and helping those in need.
What is/was your profession prior to ordination?
I am an Orthopedic Trauma consultant. I have been in this career for almost 20 years.
How has the formation program helped you grow spiritually?
Formation has helped me grow spiritually by growing closer to my fellow classmates. We love each other and because we love each other, we hold each other accountable for prayer and actions. The man I see in the mirror is not the same man I saw five years ago.

Deacon Alex A. Bogdanoff
Deacon Alex A. Bogdanoff
Deacon Alex A. Bogdanoff

Wife: Sally C. Bogdanoff
Home Parish: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Mechanicsburg
Parish Assignment: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Mechanicsburg
What drew you to serve the Diocese as a Deacon?
Prior to the Catholic Church, I served as an Elder and Deacon in my previous Christian tradition. Upon reception into the Church, various clergy and consecrated encouraged me to look into the diaconate, should the opportunity arise. When Bishop Gainer opened the door for formation, I entered a season of prayer. After a particularly intense prayer time, I encountered Deacon Neil Crispo at Holy Spirit Hospital, where I serve as a Pastoral Care volunteer. He urged me to apply for the program (within 30 minutes of my prayer!). The bottom line is, I feel Our Lord called me to serve.
What aspect of the ministry are you most looking forward to?
I am eager to experience the opportunities that the ministry will provide to share and experience the love of Christ, whether at the altar, in declaring the Word or in serving my fellow man. As a representative of the Catholic Church, my wife Sally and I anticipate the joy of joining (in a special way) the Church’s evangelizing mission, both inside and outside of Her boundaries. We know the Lord has called us to ministry and who He calls, He empowers with His graces and faith to follow His direction to reach people with the love of God.
What is/was your profession prior to ordination?
I am a retired U.S. Naval Flight Officer of 21 years, serving at-sea aboard aircraft carriers, and ashore in Florida, California and Texas. I worked as a civilian commercial pilot and in small business. Currently, with Sally, I’m in the real estate business, in and out of state. Sally has a financial (CPA) background.
How has the formation program helped you grow spiritually?
In the theological, academic and practical formation, not only have I become educated in a greater way in my Catholic faith, I have become more aware of the Lord’s call to love both Him and my fellow man. The formation program has empowered me to hear the voice of God whether through prayer, the Word or the Church; service at the altar has opened the treasury of Eucharist to a level I could not have imagined. Relationships within marriage, family and spheres of influence have benefitted, as I have grown in listening, dialoguing and empathizing skills, energized by the Holy Spirit.

Deacon Virgilio Centenera
Deacon Virgilio Centenera
Deacon Virgilio Centenera

Wife: Joann Centenera
Home Parish: St. Patrick, Carlisle
Parish Assignment: St. Patrick, Carlisle
What drew you to serve the Diocese as a Deacon?
I had originally seen my calling to the diaconate as a natural progression of service in the context of outreach ministries that I was involved in. But I have come to realize that the true gift of the Church needs to fully integrate the completeness of liturgy, the word, and charity. This underscores the truth that as I continue to give my life to God, I had better buckle up as I have no idea where it will eventually lead me.
What aspect of the ministry are you most looking forward to?
I am not sure exactly what my ministry will look like, but at its core I hope I can show that our faith is not just for the “religious,” but rather a universal opportunity to answer those inner stirrings that we all feel and wrestle with.
What is/was your profession prior to ordination?
Staff Urologist for Wellspan Urology, based in both Chambersburg and Carlisle.
How has the formation program helped you grow spiritually?
These five years have allowed me to learn my Catholic faith in a unique way that has allowed me to appreciate its wisdom, its beauty, and the manner in which our faith is an expression of the truth of our lives. In doing so, it has opened my eyes to view the world through a different lens, a lens which will provide answers yet to be asked.

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Submission Deadline

The deadline for submissions to the biweekly Notebook/Parish Obituaries listing is every other Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Please refer to the Publication Schedule for edition dates and deadlines.

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