As a permanent deacon, Deacon Paul Kendall has accepted a role of service. But he is also a father.

“As a father I need to first be of service to my family by encouraging them to go to Mass, get involved and to give back,” said the parishioner of Holy Family Parish in Springfield and Chester. “As a deacon, I need to love beyond my family and show everyone that I care and love them too.”

Deacon Kendall and his wife Eileen have four sons: Daniel, 30; John, 28; Thomas, 27; and Peter 25; and one granddaughter.

He is president of Lawrence and Wheeler Insurance Agency in Springfield.

Deacon Kendall sees his role as a father first to be an example of a “practicing Catholic dad” and to set the expectation about attending Mass and living a life of faith early in his sons’ lives.  “And then as they get older and move away, to still be the teacher, the reminder, the loving and caring father about how important our faith is and continues to be,” he said. “I think it is important that as our children get older, go off to college or move away, that we stay connected through our faith. Encourage them. Love them. Be proud of them, and most especially pray for them every day.”

He lamented that “too many fathers give up on their kids’ practicing their faith when they are gone.” But he encouraged: “If the foundation and expectation was set, pray to get them back to church and continue to encourage and love them with gentle reminders and stories of how blest our lives have been because of our commitment and love of Jesus in our lives.”

Peter Kendall, 25, of Burlington, attends Mass at his alma mater, St. Michael’s College in Colchester. “The values of faith that my dad has instilled in me have been a cornerstone of my life and all of my brothers’ lives,” he said. “It’s about being a good person and doing the right thing, no matter how hard it may be.”

John Kendall, 28, lives in Boston and attends Mass at St. Monica-St. Augustine Parish. He considered the qualities of his father that he most tries to emulate and noted “his ability to speak with anyone about anything and retain the entirety of the conversation. Then no matter how much time goes by he will continue to remember that person and everything they shared with him. My father is friends with everyone, and his father was friends with everyone so I strive to be like them every day.”

Added his brother, Peter: “Since before I can remember, he has always been a positive force for good toward every person that he encounters. I try every day to live up to that quality in my own life.”

Deacon Kendall enjoys spending time with his sons, family meals with grace, games and attending Mass as a family.

His most fervent prayer for his children is that they keep strong in their faith and their commitment to the Catholic Church, and he prays to St. Joseph to be his and his sons’ protector and guide.

—Originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.