Eager to get in the game

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For 25 years, Kevin J. Dansereau was a self-proclaimed Sunday-only Catholic who stood on the sidelines of faith. But when the sports fan placed prayer at the center of his life, God led him into the thick of His' work.

Dansereau will be ordained a deacon May 31 by Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington and, if all goes well, he will become a priest next spring.

Born in Falls Church Sept. 1, 1981, Dansereau is the youngest of four children of James and Judy Dansereau. Judy retired last June from her job in the Office of Vocations, a position that exposed her youngest to many priests. He respected them, he said, but what motivated them was then a mystery to him.

Dansereau grew up in Burke, attended Lake Braddock Secondary School, and graduated in 2004 from James Madison University in Harrisonburg with a bachelor's degree in technical and scientific communication.

Following graduation, he attended a life-changing Cursillo retreat, and it inspired him to make prayer his compass and pointed to the basic purpose of life - to become a saint. "That refocuses this life," said Dansereau.

His challenge was how to refocus.

Drawn to service, he became a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa, in 2005. However, when he discovered he was required to teach contraception, he knew immediately he must withdraw.

Back in the Unites States, Dansereau felt a call to work in special education, and he enrolled in a master's program. In a culture that worships worldly achievement, Dansereau said he wanted students "to know God loves you for who you are not what you do."

He came to realize that what he really wanted was not to teach but to bring Christ to the kids.

"The greatest gift I've received was the faith," he said. "The biggest thing I could do for my students was to pray and pass along the faith to them."

Then came the "last straw," said Dansereau.

A lover of sports, Dansereau initially perceived priests as not very athletic. After meeting Catholic athletes and sport-loving seminarians, he realized how wrong he was.

"The Lord calls people from any walk of life," he said.

Dansereau entered Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., in 2009. The seminary often feels like a team, he said, but on this team, "everyone wants the best for you and makes Christ the center of their life."

"The Lord has used everything in my life to prepare me for this," said Dansereau. "I'm looking forward to getting in the game."

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2014