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Boise deacon featured on EWTN’s ‘Journey Home’

The following story appeared in the December 3 Idaho Catholic Register.

Deacon Lou Aaron appeared on the Nov. 22 episode of EWTN’s “Journey Home” program. (Photo courtesy of EWTN)


By Gene Fadness

Editor

Deacon Lou Aaron, who has appeared on the Food Network, can now add EWTN to his television credits.


The Boise deacon and chef appeared on EWTN’s “Journey Home,” program on Nov. 22, with the program re-airing on Thanksgiving Day, fitting for a man accustomed to creating festive meals.


“I’m still getting reaction,” from viewers he said a week after the first episode aired.

Most of the reaction, he said, has not been so much about his reversion story to the Catholic faith, but about his battle with cancer and his nontraditional approach to fighting the disease through diet.


Deacon Aaron was diagnosed with lymphoma six years ago just as he began his final year of study before being ordained a deacon. He shared with “Journey Home” host Marcus Grodi about how the cancer diagnosis, with a seven-year survival rate, caused him to initially question whether he should be ordained and instead focus on his cancer treatment. However, he said, God spoke to his heart, letting him know he would be ordained and things would work out.


Deacon Aaron was ordained in 2016, serves full-time as director of operations at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish and the cancer is well under control, he told Grodi. “Do I look like I have cancer?” he said.


However, the reduced immunity caused by his cancer presented another significant health challenge two months after Deacon Aaron returned from his August taping of the show.


On Oct. 23, Deacon Aaron learned he had COVID.


COVID-induced pneumonia caused him to be hospitalized for 14 days. He is now home, but still on oxygen. He hopes to return to work after the start of the year.


 

“This is one of those moments when God puts you on a different path,” Deacon Aaron said. “I’ve had good conversations with God. It’s taught me how to slow down and appreciate what I have.”


 

Grodi, the “Journey Home” host is a former Presbyterian minister who founded the Coming Home Network, chnetwork.org, to help those converting to Catholicism, many of them former clergy members who were leaving behind not only their faith tradition but their financial livelihood as well.


The program has aired weekly on the worldwide Eternal Word Television Network since 1997.


Grodi formerly taped the program from the EWTN studios in Birmingham, Ala. But the time away from his Zanesville farm prompted him to ask EWTN if he could create a replica of his EWTN set in a warehouse on Zanesville’s main street. The network agreed, and he has been taping his show there ever since.


“You drive through these cornfields to get there, kind of like ‘Field of Dreams,’ ” Deacon Aaron said.


During the program, the Boise deacon shared his riveting story of his years-long battle with alcoholism, the house fire that brought him back to the Church, his love for Scripture, his decision to buy the Westside Drive In, his appearances on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” his discovery of the importance of food and diet revealed in the Bible, his call to the diaconate and his faith-based decision to hire homeless people and recently released prisoners to work at his drive-ins. (A second drive-in opened on Boise’s east side. Both drive-ins are now operated primarily by Deacon Aaron’s son while he devotes full-time to his parish.)


While in Zanesville, Deacon Aaron was able to sit on the taping of another episode taped the same day, featuring Jim Wahlberg whose story had some commonalities with Deacon Aaron’s.


Wahlberg also struggled with addictions, and, like Deacon Aaron, now ministers to people with addictions. Wahlberg also has a career tied to restaurants with the family-owned Wahl-burgers restaurants. He is the brother of actors Donny Wahlberg (“Blue Bloods”) and Mark Wahlberg.


Deacon Aaron is not the first guest to appear on the program from the Diocese of Boise.

Deacon Gene Fadness and Thomas Smith, converts from Mormonism, appeared in 2006 and 2014, respectively. Emily Woodham, a writer at the Idaho Catholic Register, will fly to Ohio to tape a segment in late January that is tentatively scheduled to air in April of next year.


To view Deacon Aaron’s episode, go to chnetwork.org/journey-home/deacon-lou-aaron-catholic-revert/. Those interested can also type “Lou Aaron” and “Journey Home” in your web browser and a YouTube video of the episode will appear. The same can be done to view the Fadness and Smith episodes.


If you enjoyed this story and would like to read more like it, please consider buying a subscription to the Idaho Catholic Register. Your $20 yearly subscription also supports the work of the Diocese of Boise Communications Department, which includes not only the newspaper, but this website, social media posts and videos. You can subscribe here, or through your parish, or send a check to 1501 S. Federal Way, Boise, ID, 83705: or call 208-350-7554 to leave a credit card payment. Thank you, and God bless you.





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Diocesan Pastoral Center

FAX: (208) 342-0224

1501 S. FEDERAL WAY, SUITE 400, BOISE, ID 83705

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