April 7, 2017

Meet our future deacons

Gary Blackwell

Gary Blackwell	Age: 57
Wife: Lynn
Home Parish: Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Beech Grove
Occupation: Firefighter, Indianapolis Fire Department

Who are the important role models in your life of faith?

Many priests that I have known over the years, the Benedictine Sisters at Our Lady of Grace Monastery and also those who have led and participated with me in Christ Renews His Parish and Cursillo retreats. The number one role model, however, is my wife Lynn for her strength and ability to bring out the best in me.

What are your favorite Scripture verses, saints, prayers and devotions?

John 15:16; Psalm 119:105; James 1:2; 1 Corinthians 10:31. One of my favorite saints is St. Paul, one of the greatest evangelists ever, ministering to both Jewish and Roman audiences. My favorite prayer is the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, also known as the Peace Prayer. You can’t go wrong with a rosary.

Deacons often minister to others in the workplace. How have you experienced that approach?

As a firefighter, I have tried to be an extension of the Church at the firehouse and on certain calls. The nature of runs we go on can impact both the victims and the rescuers. I try to be present for co-workers as well as those we serve, listening and praying with them. I hope to retire in a few years, but if needed, I would remain available to any first responder and the victims they serve.

Why do you feel that God is calling you to become a deacon?

As Christians, we are all called to point others to Christ. It’s a matter of whether we listen and respond. At some point, I started to listen more closely. It began with me giving him more of my time each week, and then each day. Afterward, a relationship develops and you just decide to let him drive. There were a few sharp turns I didn’t really see early on, but as I continue to serve in various ministries, the path seems to be well lit.

How will being ordained a deacon have an impact on your life and family?

Our formation helps us to prioritize and balance our busy lives of family, work and ministry. Our wives can play an important role in helping us stay anchored by keeping that balance in check. The impact of ordination will be relative to staying devoted to a path of continued formation centered on prayer, while listening to and working closely with our wives and pastors. †

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