Name: Tom Hardie
Family: wife, Mary; children: Joshua, Katie, son-in-law Jason Jordan; grandchildren: Charles, Makayla, Sarah, Andrew, Evan.
Occupation: Retired state facility manager.
Parish: St Anthony, Knoxville, Sacred Heart, Melcher.
How did you know you were being called to the diaconate?
Through the process of discernment, I can see that from an early age events in my life have been leading me to this vocation. It’s in my spiritual DNA, you might say. It was awakened when I met now-Deacon Ed Kamerick and his wife, Jane, while attending MFP (Ministry Formation Program) classes in Pella and hearing him describe his calling. A little later, we had a visit by Deacon Bill Olsen from Grinnell who spoke to us at Mass about the diaconate. Seeing that gentle giant of a man and listening to him rooted the seed planted in me all those years ago and started it growing strong. I was blessed to be able to tell him that before he passed away.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being a deacon candidate?
I would have to say the family that has grown out of our class. The knowledge gained during formation is priceless but the growing together as a faith family is what I value the most.
What has been the most challenging aspect of being a deacon candidate?
Challenging myself to go where I was uncomfortable in my ministry experiences. If we are to be the sacramental sign of Christ the servant, then we must be able to, as the song says, “go where we don’t know.”
What do you look most forward to in your ministry as a deacon?
Helping folks find their talents and gifts and how they can make a difference in the world by using them for the benefit of others. To help them see the world through the eyes of Christ by putting on their Holy Spirit glasses.
What special ministry will you undertake?
Prison ministry was my first placement, thanks to the encouragement of Father Steve Ebel. I have been working with the residents at the Newton Correctional Facility ever since. I will continue that work. There is also a local shelter and food bank that is close to my heart. I hope to increase my time working there as well.
What is your favorite Scripture passage?
Romans 12:4-5: “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.” (New American Bible Revised Edition)
This passage speaks to the very intimate connection we all have with one another. We are created from the elements of the world we share as our common home; we share DNA with each other, we are woven together like the seamless garment of Christ. The love of others and the common good grow from this intimate connection. This is how as a deacon I should see the world around me.