By Alison Bradish

Deacon Norbert Gaudet struggled with his call. To purify his intentions he focused on Christ the Servant, Christ the sacrifice.

“The more I felt called, I struggled with the thought of am I doing this because of what people think of me or am I doing this because I am being called,” he explained.

Deacon Norbert serves at Sacred Heart parish in Raymore, Saskatchewan, a town north of Regina.  He also travels with Fr. Valentine to the other parishes in the area which include the communities of Govan, Nokomis, Punnichy and Quinton. 

He and his wife Carleen raised their eight children in the community, where Gaudet taught the French program for 30 years.  They have 17 grandchildren, two of which Deacon Norbert had the honour of baptizing.

Deacon Norbert was ordained to the permanent diaconate in a historic ceremony with nine other men June 15, 2018.   The journey to that moment was filled with prayer, reflection and a lot of questions.

Through it all, he realized the Holy Spirit was guiding him all along through the people he had around him.   Raised in Bellevue, Saskatchewan Gaudet was taught by nuns and then attended St. Louis College. 

“It wasn’t ever something that crossed my mind.  It was a calling that suddenly appeared as the diocese was looking at having a deaconate program.  Through the application process, there was a lot of reflecting and questions asked. When I look back on my life, where God was throughout my life, I thought ‘He’s been guiding me all along here, the Holy Spirit has been with me throughout all my life through the people I was surrounded with’.”

When asked who has impacted his faith the most, he says it is his wife Carleen, who he says kept him in a straight-line faith wise.  

Deacon Norbert’s ministry outside of the parish walls is visiting the elderly, primarily at the local care home and those who are shut in. 

He leads a prayer service once every three weeks.   As part of the Diaconate program there is a pastoral care component, requiring deacons to spend at least 20 hours each month in ministry outside of the parish.  “I felt called to work with the sick and elderly, they are happy to see me when I walk in.  It’s a joint ministry with my wife because she’s the one who started bringing communion to the care home before I started these studies (for the diaconate). “

He enjoys working with seniors. “Seeing God working in them and working in me and bringing peace and joy. It’s amazing how the elderly are appreciative of someone being there.  That’s very rewarding,” says Gaudet.

At times, he realizes he misses family time, as none of his children are in Raymore.  Often his wife will be helping with the grandkids while he is taking care of his duties to his community.  Deacon Norbert admits to learning to balance his family life with the duties of his calling.

Gaudet sees another need in his community besides the outreach he is already involved with. He feels called to create better communication with non-practicing parishioners.  He is discerning how best to respond to those who do not frequent Mass and the Sacraments.  How can the Church help them where they are at?

“Faith is lifelong journey,” says Gaudet reflecting on the people in his life who are not in the Church pews but understanding his role of going out to meet them.

Deacon Norbert knows rural parishes have unique challenges but says there is a great sense of community among the people who show up to Mass and prayer services.

He is honoured to be serving as Deacon in the community that helped him grow in his faith and listen to his call.

Alison Bradish lives in Moose Jaw with her husband and two children.  They attend St. Josephp's Parish.   She earned Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at the University of Regina.  She is naturally curious about local and world events.  She writes from her home where she strives to bloom where she is planted.    She often feels pulled to the topics of religion, education and politics.




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