April 12, 2024

Deacon Timothy Dickes is our featured deacon this month. He was born near Laurel, Nebraska, and grew up on a dairy farm with one brother and three sisters, one of whom is deceased. He was ordained on May 24, 2018, the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians. He is currently assigned to the Cathedral of Saint Joseph and prison ministry.

How did you get your call to the diaconate?
There were a number of people asking me if I thought about becoming a deacon, including my parish priest. Each response to them was, “No, I am not being called to be a deacon!” This went on for a few years, until a good friend and I were doing a Bible study one morning. He had a funny look on his face. I asked him what was up? He said, “God spoke to me at Mass this morning.” I asked him what God said. He pointed at me and said, “He wants you to be open to becoming a deacon.” He knew nothing of the others asking me. It felt like I was hit between the eyes with a two-by-four! It was then I knew I needed to at least look into it.

What did you do before the diaconate? (or during the diaconate if you had/have another job)
I worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Yankton for 21 years, with the last 15 years as the facility manager. I retired in 2009 and then moved to Sioux Falls that fall to marry my wife Julie. I started a handyman business, which led into working as a contractor renovating apartments.

Is there a particular part of Catholicism that really fascinates you?
Mystical theology and studying the lives of the saints.

Who was most influential in your life?
I would have to say my parents, Norbert and Elizabeth Dickes. They were a true witness of living a sacramental marriage and living a wholesome rural life as dairy farmers. Dad and Mom were very faithful, devout Catholics who loved and shared their faith with their family. They were prayer warriors!

What’s your favorite part of being a deacon?
My favorite part of being a deacon is serving at the altar. It has been a privilege to be assigned to the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, the Mother Church, serving with our bishop and the many fine priests and deacons who have been assigned there.

What’s the most challenging thing?
Balancing my first vocation of marriage to Julie and being a father and grandfather while serving my liturgical duties as deacon at the cathedral, and the prison/jail ministry can be a challenge. It is God’s grace and prayerful discernment that help me keep things in check.

Who is your go-to saint? Why?
St. Brother Andre Bassett. As I started formation, my spiritual director at the time encouraged me to take 30 days to pray for a saint to be the patron of my diaconate. About two weeks into praying, as I woke one morning, Brother Andre’s name came to mind. I had heard of him but knew little about him. In doing research, I totally understood why he offered to be my patron. He loved St. Joseph. Julie and I made a pilgrimage to Montreal to the St. Joseph Oratory that he built, prayed at St. Brother Andre’s tomb, venerated his incorrupt heart and experienced many aspects of his life.

What do you do in your spare time?
I love to go camping and riding my recumbent trike on bike trails in the surrounding states with Julie.

What is something most people don’t know about you?
I am a tech school dropout. After that, I started to work for a commercial electrical company and held a journeyman electrician license for 30 years.

How can your parishioners and people of the diocese best help you be a great deacon?
Pray for Julie and I as we minister to those incarcerated in the jail and prison. Even though it can be heavy, by God’s grace and mercy, we see many miracles of conversion.

If you could have supper with anyone from history (besides Jesus), who would it be and why?
St. Joseph. He was a carpenter, so we are like-minded in that way. But even more so, I would love to hear his stories about Jesus and Mary and his humble obedience.