From staff reports
Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly announced on Sept. 1 that Deacon David Banowsky would serve as the director of Diaconal Ministry and Formation for the Diocese of Dallas.
“I am very grateful to Deacon David Banowsky for taking on the role as the director of Diaconal Ministry and Formation,” Bishop Kelly said. “He is quiet and forceful and a great example of a servant leader.”
Deacon Banowsky, who had been serving as an associate director of Diaconal Ministry and Formation, replaces Father Emmett Hall, who in addition to his duties as director began serving as pastoral administrator of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in 2022 and was appointed pastor in 2023.
“Knowing that Deacon David has such a strong faith and has been a deacon for five-plus years serves the diaconate well,” said Laura Tornaquindici, chief of staff for the Diocese of Dallas. “Deacon David is also bilingual which allows for the facilitation of welcoming a diverse group for developing and strengthening the identity, mission, and vision of the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Dallas.”
The Diaconal Ministry and Formation Office supports and coordinates the ministry and continuing education of permanent deacons in the Diocese of Dallas as well as oversees the recruitment and formation of candidates for the diaconate.
Currently, the diocese has more than 80 men in formation for the diaconate in two classes. One class of men is set to be ordained in 2027 while the other is set for ordination in 2029.
When a man expresses interest in becoming a permanent deacon, Deacon Banowsky said he advises him to enter into the process prayerfully and then asks if the man is in close contact with his own pastor.
“The vocation generally originates from service he is already doing in his own parish that has prompted the stirring of the Holy Spirit in him,” he explained. “Then through the formation process, we help them discern whether they are able to integrate their family life, their work life, and what would be their vocation in the diaconate all at one time.”
The diocese currently has about 150 active deacons as well as many retired deacons who remain active in parish ministries.
Born in Nashville, Tenn., Deacon Banowsky grew up in Los Angeles, Calif. Following high school, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma before accepting a commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy. Deacon Banowsky spent seven years in the Navy, which saw him stationed in Spain where he would meet his wife, Ana, before returning to the U.S. to attend law school at Southern Methodist University.
After graduating law school in 1990, he remained in the Dallas area and began practicing business law while also becoming more involved at his home parish, St. Patrick Catholic Church. He credited his involvement with the church as a catalyst for his vocation into the diaconate.
“It was really the result of getting more and more involved in the various ministries of the church – and most particularly the prison ministry,” he explained. “It was also through the prompting of my pastor at that time, Father Josef Vollmer-König, who had been a permanent deacon before being ordained a priest.”
He was ordained a permanent deacon in 2018 and continues to serve at St. Patrick.
Deacon Banowsky and his wife have four adult children, Will, John, David, Jr., and Elisa. Deacon Banowsky shared a special moment with his oldest son in 2018 as they both were ordained to the diaconate, though for his son, it was the transitional diaconate. Father Will Banowsky was ordained a priest in 2019.
“I actually got to vest him at his diaconate ordination in Rome and then serve at his ordination to the presbyterate in Oklahoma City,” Deacon Banowsky said. “It was really special.”
As the new director of the Diaconal Ministry and Formation Office, Deacon Banowsky looks forward to helping those men who express an interest in formation as well as those who have already answered the call. He said he feels there is a special grace for those men who join him in the permanent diaconate.
“I get more out of it than I could ever give,” Deacon Banowsky said. “Christ says, ‘You can do all things through me.’ You get asked to do a lot. It’s astonishing how much you can do if you just say, ‘yes.’”