Deacon Manley is also municipal and county court judge

Doug Manley said a few words to the congregation at his reception on Sunday morning at Our Lady of Guadalupe / St. Patrick’s. He has returned to the La Junta Parish, where he started when ordained in August 2007, from Rocky Ford, where he has served for about eight years. Manley’s day job is being a judge in both Otero County Court and Municipal Court in La Junta. How did this attorney become an ordained minister? It’s a long story.

Doug Manley, before he became a Catholic, was a Methodist. People had always urged him to go into the ministry. He became a Catholic when he married Linda. Linda’s cousin was a priest, now a bishop. They visited him when he was a priest working at the Vatican in Rome. He had been called to work there from his diocese in Pueblo. “The priests that work in the Vatican are called there as needed for work in various languages,” said Manley. They were also there when her cousin was ordained a bishop. Linda’s cousin was then assigned to Cheyenne, Wyo. and is now in Green Bay, Wis.

The life of a deacon is different from that of a priest, though both are subject to changes in assignment as the hierarchy of the church sees needs. A deacon may be a married man, or he may marry after he becomes a deacon. Deacons usually have other occupations, also. There is a shortage not only of priests, but also of deacons. “There were five deacons in this area, and now there are only three,” said Manley. “I was happy in Rocky Ford, and I am also happy here.”

There is another deacon still stationed in Rocky Ford, which serves Ordway and Fowler as well as Rocky Ford. Manley will be assisting Father Henry Wertin, who serves Las Animas as well as La Junta.The three deacons are assigned to Rocky Ford, La Junta, and Lamar.

Manley is a devoted family man, grateful that his wife, Linda, survived a bout with cancer. He raised Linda’s son, Aaron Olson, who is now married to his wife, Dawn. Doug and Linda’s daughter, Nichole, is married to Jerry Hasty. They have two children, Clayton, five and Jey, three. The Hastys live in Swink. Their daughter Rebecca Ramirez, married to Chris, is well known in La Junta, having taught at the Primary School for nine years. Their children are Elin, seven; Manley, five; and Greyson, four. Doug and Linda’s daughter Leanna is married to Alex Fabian and lives in Oklahoma. They have two children - Audrey, six and Harvey, five. So the Manley’s have a plethora of grandchildren of the most exciting ages. “Two of the girls were pregnant at the same time,” said Manley (the five-year-olds).

Manley expects to be working a lot in La Junta as a representative to the ministerial alliance, the Wake Up Breakfast, and as a visitor to the hospital. La Junta welcomes back this devoted worker and family man.