April 18, 2008

Meet our future deacons

Timothy HellerTimothy Heller

  • Age: 52
  • Widowed: his wife, Sandra, died on Oct. 10, 2007
  • Home Parish: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Parish in Bright
  • Occupation: Hospice Social Worker and Bereavement Coordinator, Dearborn County Hospital in Lawrenceburg

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

Growing up, my parents, Terry and Jeanne, were role models in the faith for me. My parents’ role came through their example and caring for those in need. My late wife, Sandra, showed me what it meant to live in faith and trust in God. Over the years, there were a number of priests that fostered my vocation to become a permanent deacon. The deacon formation team members served as significant role models in my faith life. I also find the saints to be sources of inspiration and role models: St. Francis of Assisi, who was ordained a deacon; Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, both of whom understood and practiced the Sermon on the Mount.

What are your favorite Scripture verses, prayers and devotions?

Jn 1:1-8, Jn 6 and Mt 25:45: “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

Deacons often minister to others in the workplace. How have you experienced that already, and how do you anticipate doing in the future?

I have always understood my professional career in counseling and hospice in terms of ministry and service. While my primary focus as a hospice social worker and bereavement coordinator is to provide emotional support and counseling, it often touches on spiritual matters. It is a spiritual experience to be with patients during this time of their lives. Being allowed into this journey with hospice patients and their families at the end of life is a privilege and a testimony to an afterlife. When appropriate, I do pray with the patients and their families.

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

For many years, I had been searching for a way to formally respond to my vocation in the Church. After a long discernment process and education, I feel confident that being ordained a permanent deacon is the end of this search and the beginning of this new ministry. I am just trying to stay open to how God is going to use me. †


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