No day is the same for Deacon Pete LeTourneau, Director of Parish Ministry & Evangelization at Our Lady of the Wayside Church in Arlington Heights. Especially Thursday, when he offers the invocation at the Arlington Heights Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast.
It will be one of his first public appearances — outside the confines of Our Lady of the Wayside — and he looks at the opportunity as a chance to reinforce the power of prayer and reflection.
And he should know. It was through years of prayer and reflection — not to mention the gentle nudging of parishioners — that he discerned a calling to become an ordained deacon. This married father of two, longtime Boy Scout leader and former president of the family’s road construction business, finally decided to go beyond merely practicing his faith — and start living it.
LeTourneau entered formation within the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2014, and after four years of intense study he was ordained in 2018. He spent two years as business manager of a church near Lake Villa before returning to his home parish, Wayside, and taking on the role of Director of Parish Ministry & Evangelization.
Ever since then, he has never had a bad day, he says. Each day is filled with joy.
“I’ve never worked so hard or so much in my life,” LeTourneau says, “but it’s so fulfilling.”
Consider this week, when he started his day doing a mock baptism for 3 and 4-year old preschoolers in the sanctuary, before leading altar server training after school and writing articles for the parish bulletin.
He also coordinates baptisms — his favorite — and weddings for couples, but all of that can change with one phone call. LeTourneau is the first point of contact for families wanting to plan a funeral, at which point he drops everything to help the grieving family.
“Deacon Pete is the ‘man behind the scenes’ who makes many good things happen here,” says Sean Reilly, Communications Director for the parish. “He’s all about service, and not about accolades and attention.”
Until Thursday’s prayer breakfast. Taking center stage, LeTourneau will open the spiritual part of the program, before others do readings and offer a reflection. This is the 36th year for the multi-denominational event. It was created to gather business leaders, elected officials and area residents to celebrate the strengths of the community through spirituality.
“It’s such an honor,” LeTourneau says, “to represent Our Lady of the Wayside Parish and the Catholic community of Arlington Heights.”