Chartier looks forward to serving church as deacon
By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
A novena prayed at St. Joseph Parish in Sioux City each Tuesday is what Bruce Chartier attributes to him becoming a deacon.
The main intention of the novena, which began at St. Joe’s during World War II, is for vocations.
“There have been a lot of vocations from St. Joseph’s,” said Chartier, who will be ordained a permanent deacon on May 1 with five other candidates. “That was an instrumental part of my vocation.”
He also credits his wife, Terri, as the other key to him entering the diaconate process. She asked him if he thought about becoming a deacon and prompted him to enter the program.
“She has been encouraging me on the whole journey since we started aspirancy six years ago,” said Chartier.
“I have had a lot of confirmations along the way since Terri and I got involved with the diaconate program,” said Chartier. “After people knew we were involved, there was a lot of encouragement and a lot of questions.”
He referred to Psalm 131 that talks about humility and the passage from the Acts of the Apostles when the deacons were commissioned. He said he can relate to them.
“I have a heart to serve,” said Chartier. “I look forward to being empowered with the gift of the Holy Spirit and doing whatever the bishop and the priest I am assigned to at the time calls me to do.”
The 58-year-old deacon candidate grew up in Sioux City and graduated from Riverside High School. He has taken courses at Western Iowa Tech Community College and at Briar Cliff University. He went through the electrical apprenticeship program and became a journeyman electrician in 1980. From 1986 until 2007, he worked for Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation. Chartier currently works for Toshiba International as an outside industrial electrical salesman.
He grew up in a Catholic family. He always went to Mass and was involved in the church. At St. Joseph’s, Chartier currently serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, an acolyte and a lector. He also facilitates a Bible study.
In discussing what his responsibilities will be as a deacon, he and Father Michael Erpelding, pastor at St. Joseph’s, have decided that Chartier will help with marriage and baptism preparation as well as visiting the homebound and those in nursing homes. He will also continue facilitating Bible studies.
Chartier and his wife have been married since 1971 and have three children. Jody and her husband, Brett, live in Witchita, Kan., and have one child, Sydney. Their son, Travis, and daughter, Jammie, both live in Sioux City.
He said his wife and family have been supportive throughout the process.
Terri said at the beginning she kept probing her husband to become a deacon. She kept praying for him and supporting him while he made his decision.
“I let him know that it was okay that it was going to take a lot of time and he would be gone,” she said. “I think we should both be involved in it. The man and wife need to come forward and help.”
Terri commented that her husband is a wonderful man and is close to the Blessed Mother.
“She helps him create these gifts that Bruce has of being very kind, gentle, forgiving and loving. He is quiet and listens to your problems,” said Terri. “It is a big change when they study. They let the Holy Spirit lead them. You look at them and almost don’t recognize them. It is beautiful. It has made me fall in love with him all over again.”
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