Men's Breakfast, October 11, 2014

The Men’s Breakfast Group met Saturday, October 11 with Wallace Shaw, Deacon at Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church.  Wallace was raised in Freeport and graduated from Brazosport High School.  He went off to college and majored in biology.  However, his advisor advised him that although he could graduate with a degree in biology he shouldn’t make it his profession.   He therefore went to UT law School where he got a law degree and met and married his wife.  They came back to Freeport where Wallace opened a law office.   The business was not very successful; he spent most of his time with his feet on the desk.  Fortunately he was offered a position as an assistant district attorney which he accepted.   A few years later another assistant district attorney decided to leave and set up a practice in Freeport and invited Wallace to join him.  This practice was successful.  Wallace eventually bought out his partner and acquired a practice from a retiring attorney.  He now has another lawyer working for him.  Wallace is best known for being City Attorney for both Clute and Freeport.   This combination could cause a conflict of interest if the cities squabble about extraterritorial jurisdiction.  If this occurs, both cities will need to hire additional lawyers. Fortunately the cities have been able to come to terms without going to court.  Wallace says that his identity is as a lawyer although he is also a deacon.
Wallace and his wife have been active at Saint Mary’s as long as they have lived in Freeport.  His turn to a vocation came from a tragedy.  His nineteen -year -old second son was killed by a drunken driver in 1986.  The priest at the time suggested that Wallace become a deacon in the church.  This involved three years of part-time study in Houston.  Wallace says that a potential deacon must have an understanding wife. 
Catholic deacons can carry out many of the functions of a priest.  Wallace has conducted weddings and funerals.  He preaches a sermon at least once a month.  He also carries out the Biblical deacon’s role of helping the distressed.  His wife is treasurer of the Saint Vincent DePaul Society which makes this a family affair.  The two things that a deacon cannot do are serve communion at mass and grant absolution.  There is therefore little point in Wallace hearing confession although he can do so but can’t grant absolution.  Saint Mary’s has two deacons, the other comes from Angleton.  Deacons are unpaid although he can keep any fees he is paid for officiating at weddings. 
Saint Mary’s demographics are gradually changing in line with Freeport.  English masses are losing attendance but the Spanish mass fills the church.  Since we last had a representative of the Catholic Church, the archbishop was promoted to cardinal and a new pope was selected.  Wallace said that the new cardinal still carries out the bishop’s function; he comes here for confirmations for example.  The new pope, Frances, is very popular.  Wallace believes he will clean up the scandals in the church. 
The men had an interesting discussion and a good breakfast.  The next meeting will be November 8th with Tyrone Morrow as featured guest.