No sooner did Associate Deacon Mike Underwood join the staff at St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas, than he found a huge basket on his desk, filled with cards and letters from the parish’s schoolchildren welcoming him.

Deacon Mike and Kathy Underwood

“They were so heartfelt,” Deacon Mike says. “It’s been a tremendous blessing to work with all the staff and parishioners here, and now to have the students embrace and welcome me, well, I’m filled with joy.”

As a way of thanking students — and meeting them in person — Deacon Mike accompanied Principal Tracy Brunelle to individual classrooms and offer students a blessing.

Deacon Mike gives a fist bump to Matthew, as Mrs. Brunelle watches.

He spent a little extra time with Matthew, one of the students in St. Viator’s Micah Program. It turns out Deacon Mike baptized Matthew two years earlier and now their paths cross again.

“We share a special connection,” Deacon Mike said. “We both wear special braces on our legs — and we were both wearing our Golden Knights socks.”

As a member of the first class of ordained deacons in Southern Nevada, and after having served many years at St. Thomas More Catholic Community, Deacon Mike feels called to serve and share the gospel message. However, as a Viatorian associate, he also strives to advance the mission of Fr. Querbes, and raise up communities of faith.

“I want to continue to be a presence in the school,” Deacon Mike says, “and continue the Viatorian ministry and charism that is alive and well here.”