Deacon Terry Bell          Contact Dn. Terry


Our deacon, Rev. Mr. Terry Bell, was ordained➚ a permanent deacon on 7 May 2022 at the Cathedral. At MMOC, he assisted at Mass for the first time, read the Gospel, and gave his first homily on 8 May 2022➚. In addition to his duties at MMOC, Deacon Bell is actively involved in FOCUS Ministries➚ in connection with the Roncalli Newman Center.

Deacon Terry describes his own faith journey as follows:

"I have been joyfully married to my wife, Johanna, for 17 years. We have five daughters: Felicity, Lydia, Faustina, Sophia, and Josephine. I am a Wisconsin native. I grew up in Chippewa Falls in a non-Catholic, non-religious home. However, my parents did have me baptized as an infant. And whether it was some grace given in that sacrament or the undeniable beauty and goodness of the world around me, I always believed that God existed. Someone had to have created the universe. But I also thought that this Creator had left creation by itself to run its course. I was surprised then, when, at age 19, I first encountered Him.

In spite of my belief in God, I had been living a rather godless lifestyle at that time. But, in spite of my godless lifestyle, God woke me up to His presence. I no longer found Him to be some impersonal force, but to be living, personal, and active in the world – here and now – in my life. Even more surprising to me was that this God seemed to care. He wanted to be with me, help me, and guide me. He actually had a plan for my life that was much better than the mess I was making on my own. I was overjoyed and began following His lead.

In January of 2002, He led me to enlist active duty in the U.S. Navy’s Construction Force. In boot camp, one of my fellow recruits invited me to come to Mass with him. And, since I thought Church had a lot more to do with humanity than divinity, I said “no.” But, thankfully, he invited me again the next week and, with the prospect of getting away for a moment, I acquiesced and went with him. There I encountered God once again, but this time came to believe in Jesus Christ as well as His presence in His people.

Having no background in Christian denominationalism, I thereafter wandered through a good number of Protestant communities and became an evangelical Christian. Through the next few years I passionately sought to grow in my relationship with God. While there was a lot of good in the growth of that time, I also grew a bit anti-Catholic because of some misinformation that was handed on to me by my sincere – but misinformed – friends. This remained the case until someone challenged me to ask a Catholic what a Catholic believes. And so, I did. I then began to read. And read. And then I began to pray because this Catholic stuff was making way too much sense. For months I studied and had conversations with Catholics and non-Catholics September 24, 2023 alike. But, when all was said and done, it was the Eucharist that sealed my fate. If Jesus wanted to give Himself to me in this way, how could I say no? I entered into full communion with Christ and the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, 2006.

But that was just the beginning of my journey. After almost 9 years serving active duty, God invited me to embark on a different mission: His mission. I got out of the military and began a more formal and full -time study of both theology and catechetics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. After I graduated in 2014, I became a missionary with an organization that serves college students called FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) and have been working to help these young adults encounter God’s marvelous love and teaching them to share it with others. This brings us to a little over a year ago, when I began working on some national initiatives for FOCUS and I transitioned from campus to working alongside you at our parish. Although the transition to full-time was slower than I was hoping for, I have found it to be entirely worth the wait! I am so grateful to belong to this parish! It really is the perfect fit! Whether it has been through “The Search,” my CCO small faithsharing group, multiple discipleship groups, RCIA/ OCIA, or just chatting at a Chicken-que, fish fry, or after Mass, it has been such a joy and blessing to get to know and learn from so many of you already. And I am so excited and grateful to have this opportunity to work alongside you as we build our future together by making His life and His mission our focus.

Updated 16 May 2024