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Staff Addition: Deacon Kabat

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe warmly welcomes a new Major Gifts Officer, Deacon Chris Kabat. Dcn. Kabat has worked in financial services for twenty-eight years, finding both success and satisfaction there. “The last ten years have been fantastic,” he says, “helping people navigate the markets and providing good advice.”

Deacon Chris Kabat and his son, John

Having grown up in Green Bay but spent most of his life in Iowa City, Dcn. Kabat, together with his wife Julie, made the choice to move to La Crosse after much discernment. This move meant leaving their two grown sons, three grandchildren, their parish, and a well-established business. “This has been a prayer and a discernment for the last two years,” Dcn. Kabat reflects, “to really come to this point, to say yes, we’re moving and coming to the Shrine. Because it was hard, you know.”

Listening to Our Mother

The Kabats sought guidance from Mary to lead them to their mission. "Mary’s been a very important part of the discernment and her guidance in general, because typically my prayer as we pray the Rosary is, 'Please, Mary, lead us to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,' and so I just have placed my trust in her, that she is leading us down the path that we’re supposed to be following, and I don’t always get it right, but when she starts pulling, it’s pretty easy to say yes."

After contemplating the decision to say "yes", Dcn. Kabat acknowledged, "we’re very much at peace and it’s like, ok, this is amazing!” In his first weeks of work, Deacon Chris has already encountered moving signs of grace: “Some of the initial donors that I’ve met are amazing. The pilgrims I get to talk to on the path are incredible. Some of the stories I’ve already heard are just over the top. What Our Lady’s doing in these people’s lives … So this work, this mission, is very much in line with everything I believe and stand for.”

Trust in Mary

This emphasis on mission is an essential element of Dcn. Kabat’s spirituality, one that he notes grew through his contact with the Shrine: “In that process … the whole concept of mission became very much forefront in my work, in my ministry, in my family life.” He finds, too, that pursuing that mission comes by way of confident dependence on Our Lady: “I just have placed my trust in her, that she is leading us down the path that we’re supposed to be following … To trust her, that she’s leading us down that path, is what we continue to pray for, that we’re still following where she’s guiding us, into the Heart of Jesus.”

"I had to learn to surrender. It’s not about me. It’s about the Church, it’s about Jesus, it’s about Mary, it’s about the people. I’m just the conduit, and what a beautiful place to be, to just continue to say yes and trust, and let those earthly things go. "

"Because of her yes, I can say yes, and to have that confidence and trust that there will continue to be God’s will, and it’ll all be good. Yep, so very blessed to be here. What a gift!"

The Shrine staff are blessed and thankful to have Dcn. Kabat, for both his tailored skillset and his witness of trust in our Heavenly Mother. Both qualities are of great value to the Shrine’s mission; and taken together, they make Dcn. Kabat an exceptional fit for this aspect of that mission.

Thank God for all those who listen to Our Lady's call!