A journey which took four years culminated on May 17, 2015 when Riverside resident Randy Belice of St. Mary Parish was ordained to the order of deacon at Holy Name Cathedral.

The decision to become a deacon was one, according to Belice, that involved prayer and guidance from many. The late Tom Coffey, a deacon at St. Mary’s, was an influence as was Deacon Bob Boharic, Monsignor Sarauskas and Father Tom May, who is pastor at St. Mary ‘s. Most influential was his wife, Paula Jo, because the program is a joint venture.

Following his application and careful examination, he began four years of study at St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein. When asked why he chose to become a deacon, Belice stated, “It was not one thing but a gradual pull of events and the work of the Holy Spirit.”

As a deacon, Belice will be able to give homilies, baptize, and officiate at weddings and funerals. The word “service” came up often in our conversation, as he feels he can be a living example of how to serve not only the parish but others in need. 

He currently serves by giving his time to Catholic Charities. He told me of the meaning of the vestments he will wear — his will have sleeves, signifying how he can “roll up his sleeves” and get to work. The priests’ vestments are a “poncho” type, while the Bishop to whom they report has a full vestment with sleeves.

Randy and Paula Jo have been an active presence within the parish and will continue to be so as “deacon couple” to St. Mary’s. The celebration and appreciation of friends and family was evident when Deacon Belice was at the altar at a Mass of Thanksgiving at the parish on May 24, followed by a reception in his honor. It was also a way for all to express their thanks to someone so willing to serve.

Belice is self-employed as a photographer, giving him some flexibility. He has been under contract to the NBA since 1995 and, yes he does have Bulls pictures. He describes his job as “market-based photography” and it has given him the opportunity to travel extensively. Paula Jo Belice, his wife of 25 years, is a researcher at Rush.

Deacon Randy Belice brings his talent and willingness to serve in many areas and if asked, will be glad to take pictures to show the results of people working together and serving together.