Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 14, 2008
Didsbury deacon kept on saying 'yes'
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Margaret and Claude Baril run Pharmasave drugstore in Didsbury.
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
God didn't rush Claude Baril into the diaconate. "I would say it was a very gentle nudging," the member of St. Anthony's Mission Parish in Didsbury says as he describes the faith journey that concluded with his ordination as deacon July 4.
"I've always had a place in my life for God and I think that very gently he prompted me along to answer this call. It was something I couldn't say 'no' to."
After four years of difficult studies Baril, 52, is excited. "I'm looking forward to it and I think it's time to get to work to apply what I've been taught."
He expects to serve not just in Didsbury but also in Olds, Sundre and Trochu under the direction of Father Les Drewicki.
"I know that there will be weddings and baptisms and funerals and being active in the community. The role of the deacon is one of service so I'll be called to reach out to the community, to the elderly, to the shut-ins."
Baril is a financial administrator and his wife Margaret a pharmacist. Together they own and operate Didsbury Pharmasave. The couple has five children aged 14 to 27.
Baril was born in Edmonton to a large French Canadian family and attended Catholic schools. He worked in food retail until his family moved to Calgary. In 1980 he started working with Safeway.
"I've always been involved in the Church. But I journeyed away from the Catholic faith for a number of years and I would say that it was Margaret who brought me back (in 1985 when the couple started dating)," Baril explained.
The couple married in 1987 and moved to Didsbury in 1993 taking over Pharmasave. "It's a traditional small town drugstore. It's always been our outreach to the community."
Baril was mildly involved in parish life until the late Al Dietrich, an acolyte and sacristan at St. Anthony's Parish, persuaded him to take on more. Dietrich was ill and was looking for somebody to take over his roles. In 1995 he approached Baril.
"I said to him, 'I don't know what that entails but I believe that I am supposed to say yes.' And that's when my journey began."
Baril later served in funeral ministry and for several years as a volunteer cook at Our Lady of Victory Camp.
"The yeses just continued to grow over time. I kept taking on more and more and when the opportunity to go into the diaconate program came, I felt that it was right for me."
In the beginning Baril didn't have a real clear understanding of the role of the deacon and said some roles only became clear to him after he started his formation. "I didn't think that the deacon would be giving the homily. So that's something that I had to reconcile with myself and say 'Yes; I'm prepared to do that.'"
The formation program was difficult. "I'm not very strong academically so it was a big change for me to get into the books. But when I look back over the four years God did provide," he said. "I think I'm well prepared for my duties as a deacon."
Diaconal service calls for a balance among family, work and ministry. If the diaconate becomes overwhelming, "I'm going to be calling on the keeper of the deacon's heart," Baril said with a smile, turning to his wife.
"If the diaconate becomes too big a part of my life them my family will suffer. And that's not anybody's intent."
Later this month Baril and his daughter Jacqueline, 18, will travel to Sydney, Australia for World Youth Day. The trip is an ordination present from Margaret.