from Saginaw, Michigan, Roy Mellon spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Air
Force. Now retired and living in Korea for 11 years, he’s serving the U.S., the
Catholic Church, and fellow believers in his new role as deacon. For Mellon,
service has never meant so much.
Photos by Margaret Mellon
How has the
term “service” changed for you as a member of the military?
service gave me a background in many fields related to the aerospace industry,
specifically in operations and maintenance of special mission aircraft. I am
currently the area manager for my U.S.-based company’s operations in Korea.
This has given me the ability to have a challenging career. It’s allowed me to
care well for my family, and is also personally rewarding.
position is that of a permanent deacon incardinated with the Archdiocese for
the Military Services, USA (AMS). In 2008, after attending a discernment
retreat led by Archbishop Timothy Broglio from AMS, I said I would like to
pursue the diaconate. I was told that the AMS did not have a program, and that
I would have to wait until I left Korea to work with my home diocese.
mean you had to come back to the States?
the dilemma to another AMS auxiliary bishop. Shortly after that he asked me to
help him formulate a proposal to send to the archbishop to establish a pilot
program for diaconal formation for the AMS. He specifically asked me to work on
what is called the intellectual aspect of formation, or the academic portion. I
did a “trade study,” as we call it in engineering, of all the academic
institutions listed by the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops on their website.
of research and discussions, I presented my analysis and findings to the
bishop, and we agreed to propose the Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology (MAPT)
program at Saint Joseph’s College Online as the academic qualification for the
diaconate. We spoke many times with Deacon Dan Sheridan, PhD in the process.
abroad informed your work, both in the military and the Church?
anyone a larger worldview. I believe living overseas and being multilingual
inherently gives a person the ability to see things in ways that they normally
couldn’t when their frame of reference consists of only one cultural
environment. I am sure that living overseas has changed the way I view the
world and has made me more understanding and compassionate. Everything that has
happened in my life to date has contributed to my ability to be successful in
my mission as well as with my activity in the Church.
has contributed to this calling as well. I am retired from the Air Force and
have been a member of the parish community at the U.S. Army installation near
my house since arrival in Korea in 2003. My language training through the
military has enabled me to reach out to local residents.
God as a member of the military differ from its civilian counterpart?
are called to serve those in service to their country are truly privileged. I
can’t think of anything more rewarding at this time than caring for the
spiritual lives of those who are dedicating their lives and are willing to
sacrifice everything for the ones they love, God, family, and country.
wake up in the morning and look at where you are and what you are doing, what
goes through your mind?
amazement and happiness. Six years ago there was no way a permanent deacon
could have been ordained for the AMS. In fact, my fellow graduate Deacon Joseph
Pak and I are the first clergy ever to be ordained and incardinated
specifically by the military archdiocese. I believe in miracles, for sure. I
believe that anything is possible if you truly have faith in God.
My life to this point has been very rewarding. I
have been blessed with a beautiful, loving family and the ability to care for
them. It is now my privilege to serve others in any way I can, with the grace