Elliott Shaw celebrated his 25th anniversary as a Catholic deacon Oct. 1. A life-long Ticonderoga resident, Shaw serves St. Mary’s Church in Ti. He credits his wife, Peg, with supporting his ministry.
Faith. Family. Friends.
That’s the formula for a good life, according to Elliott Shaw.
“The three Fs will get you where you need to go,” Shaw said. “Throughout my studies I was always taught God is at the center of all life, but we need to remember our commitments to family and friends. There should never be any question about priorities — its faith, family, friends.”
Shaw celebrated his 25th anniversary as a Catholic deacon Oct. 1. A life-long Ticonderoga resident, Shaw serves St. Mary’s Church in Ti. He was served seven different pastors in his tenure.
“It’s been a good run,” Shaw said. “It was a very good decision to become a deacon. I’ve really enjoyed my work and all the people I’ve met.”
Shaw, a member of the Ticonderoga Knights of Columbus, will be honored at a breakfast at the Knights following the 8 a.m. Mass Sunday, Oct. 20.
Following five years of training, Shaw was ordained a deacon Oct. 1, 1988.
Deacons assist priests by visiting the sick, teaching the faith, counseling couples and individuals, working on parish committees and councils, and giving advice to the pastor. Deacons can baptize, witness marriages, perform funeral and burial services outside of Mass, distribute Holy Communion and preach the homily.
Deacons, like priests and bishops, are considered members of the clergy in the Catholic Church.
“I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation for all the wonderful gifts that Deacon Elliot brings to the parish,” said Fr. Kevin McEwan, St. Mary’s Church pastor. “From his outreach to the home bound to his care at the nursing home. For his assistance at all liturgical events as well as his work with altar servers and lay ministers. Also his work with those serving time in our prisons, he brings God into their midst and shows them how they are still loved by God.
“I am so grateful for all the assistance and blessings that he has brought into my life since my arrival here at St Mary’s and Sacred Heart (Crown Point),” he said. “My prayer for him is that God may continue to bless this wonderful man in all that he does to serve God’s people and congratulations on your 25th anniversary!”
A graduate of Ticonderoga High School, Shaw served three years in the military before coming home to start a 38-year career with International Paper Co.
“I’ve always loved the church,” Shaw said. “As a young boy I thought about the priesthood. I was always involved with the church, but became more and more involved when Fr. (Albert) Salmon was pastor here. Eventually I decided to I’d like to be a deacon.”
Becoming a deacon is no simple task. Shaw had to spend one weekend a month for four years at Mater Dei College in Ogdensburg to study. He was also required to make a week-long retreat each summer. Once his studies were complete, Shaw spent a year working with a priest, gaining experience. After five years preparation, he was ordained.
“I couldn’t do that today,” said Shaw, age 74. “Traveling all those miles, not know what the weather might bring, was very difficult. It was a lot of hard work.”
Throughout it all, Shaw had the support of his wife, Peg, and six children.
“My wife and family have supported me at every point,” Shaw said. “I couldn’t have done this without Peg’s love and support. She’s the key to everything. And we have great friends who have helped along the way. I can’t say enough about the support I’ve received.”
Shaw has been much more than a deacon, according to his daughter Wendy. He’s been a great father and role model, she said.
“We are very proud of our dad for celebrating 25 years as a deacon of St. Mary’s Church,” Wendy said. “We love the strength, guidance, faith and, most of all, unconditional love he has shown us all our lives. We are proud to call him our dad!”
There are about 70 deacons in the Diocese of Ogdensburg, Shaw said, but he’s the only one in the Essex Deanery.
Shaw also serves as the Catholic chaplain at the Moriah Shock Camp, ministering to inmates on a weekly basis.
“It’s one of my favorites things to do,” Shaw said of his work with inmates. “It’s turned out to be one of my favorite ministries. I feel like I make a difference there.”
He has been Moriah Shock chaplain 18 years, delivering Communion, homilies and guidance.
“It’s a big commitment, especially preaching (homilies),” Shaw said. “You start on Monday morning and it’s a week-long process. You want your talk to be reflective of what you bring to the church and how you view the scriptures and the world.”
Shaw has enjoyed being a deacon.
“I feel God’s hand guiding me,” he said. “The lord has led me, personally, through some rough waters. I’ve had water up to my nose, but I’ve never been in over my head.
“The Holy Spirit guides us,” Shaw said. “When I’ve veered off in the wrong direction the Holy Spirit gets me back on track.”
Faith is not a sometimes thing, Shaw said.
“Our faith is every day, not just on Sunday,” he said. “We live our faith in everything we do — when we go to the store, when we’re at work, when we’re visiting with friends. It’s always there.”