Holy Name Roman Catholic Church

Listening to God's Whisper . . .


Deacon Thomas Buige  



My name is Thomas Buige and I am a permanent deacon.  I was the first man from Nanty Glo to be ordained to the sacred order of permanent diaconate.  In the early days of Christianity, the apostles ordained deacons to assist with their ministry.  However, by the Middle Ages, the diaconate had become a transitional step in preparation for priesthood.  Following Vatican II in 1967, Pope Paul restored the permanent diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church.  Today there are more than 10,000 permanent deacons in the United States. A permanent deacon’s service is threefold: service of the Word, service of the altar, and service of charity. A significant difference between a permanent deacon and a transitional deacon is that those ordained to the permanent diaconate are permitted to be married.

My vocational story began when I first believed I was being called to the priesthood.  When I attended St. Mary’s Grade School in Nanty Glo, my intention was to become a Marian priest.  However, the first day of high school in my sophomore year, this desire abruptly ended when across from me sat a pretty blond named Helen George.  A few years later, after graduating from college, Helen and I were married and have remained so for over 35 years. We have three daughters, Jacquelyn, married to David Raco, Philadelphia, Mary Ellen, Pittsburgh, and Jodi Lynn at home.  Sadly we lost our only son, Thomas Jr., a premature baby, during Helen’s pregnancy.  We have three grandchildren, Grant, Griffin and Nicole.

I believe my call to the diaconate is strongly rooted in the birth of our daughter Jodi.  Jodi was born with Down Syndrome.  When we placed a framed picture of Jodi on our living room wall, I also included a picture of Jacinta Marto, the youngest seer at Fatima. Although Jodi’s picture has been changed over the years, the original picture of Jacinta has remained there for the past 28 years.  I prayed that Jacinta would be Jodi’s guardian angel and protect her throughout her life.  To this day we have not been let down.  Jacinta was even Jodi’s confirmation name.  Little did I realize at the time how that picture would play a role in my own vocation and ordination.

I’ve always been active in church ministry.  One day I came home from teaching school and picked up the Catholic Register.  I opened it at random and the first thing I noticed was a small ad, about two inches by two inches, advertising for any men interested in becoming a deacon to call this number.   I cut out the ad and placed it on our bulletin board next to the phone where it remained for sometime.  I finally got up enough nerve, called, and requested an application.  When the application arrived I filled it out completely, sealed it in an envelope, placed a return sticker and stamp on it and for some reason placed it on our kitchen counter,  not sure whether or not I really wanted to mail it.  That application sat on that kitchen counter top for almost two weeks.  Finally one day I returned home from work and noticed it had disappeared.  Helen had gotten tired of moving it everyday to clean the counter top. She finally told my daughter Mary Ellen to mail it on her way to work. It’s amazing how God employs others to get you to answer the call.

Eventually I was accepted into the program. Throughout the formation, I prayed to our Blessed Lady for her help, guidance, and some sign that it truly was a call from her son.   Four years later I was ordained a permanent deacon.   While continuing to teach Technology and Computers at Blacklick Valley Jr. Sr. High School in Nanty Glo, I accepted my first assignment at St. Mary’s Parish in Nanty Glo which lasted eight years.  After retiring from 33 years of service from Blacklick Valley, I currently am employed on a part time basis with the Askew Houser Funeral Home in Nanty Glo and serve in my new diaconate assignment at St. John Gaulbert Cathedral in Johnstown. 

Oh yes, the role that the picture of Jacinta Marto played in my ordination. I was ordained on May 13th, 1995, seventy-eight years exactly to the first appearance of our Blessed Lady at Fatima, Portugal, to Jacinta Marto and the other seers, A coincidence?  No. A sign?  Yes!


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