Background. Deacon Phil DiBello is one of the two Permanent Deacons of the Catholic Community of Billerica (Saint Andrew, Saint Mary and Saint Theresa Parishes). Deacon Phil is also the Director of Faith Formation and Ministry for the Catholic Community of Billerica.
Deacon Phil is an ordained Permanent Deacon of the Archdiocese of Boston, and a long time parishioner. He was ordained with faculties to Baptize, receive Marriage Vows, and preach. In his capacity as Director of Faith Formation, he oversees Child, Youth and Adult Faith Formation across the Catholic Community of Billerica.
My Conversion Story. I grew up in a large Italian family on Staten Island, in New York City, during the 1960’s. I attended 12 years of Catholic School, including 4 years at Msgr. Farrell, an all-boys High School on Staten Island. I attended college in New Hampshire, but was not very active in my faith (after all, there were women in college :)). In fact I did not begin to come back to the Church until Deb (my wife of 32 years) and I started to plan for our marriage. By then I had been a Software Engineer at several small companies on 128.
Deb’s and my road back wound through Marriage Preparation, Baptism Preparation, Lectoring, RCIA, and leading small Bible Sharing groups. During this time, we were blessed with 4 children, and continued to grow in faith. In the late 1990’s, I started hearing a call to serve the people of God in a sacramental way, and started investigating becoming a Deacon. Thanks to Deacon Tom Mullins and Father Jack McCormick for guiding me through the discernment process and being a constant source of support.
I was ordained in 2004, and was assigned to Saint Theresa Parish, Billerica. Twelve years later, I have performed more than 450 Baptisms and 30 Marriages, as well as preached regularly and counseled parishioners. In 2015, with the advent of Disciples in Mission, I am now assigned to Saint Andrew, Saint Mary and Saint Theresa Parishes.
My life changed with the birth of our 5th child in 2000, with my ordination in 2004, and most recently with a 2011 diagnosis of Colon Cancer. After surgery and months of Chemotherapy, I returned to good health, thanks to the prayers of many parishioners and family and the skilled hands of many doctors and nurses.
As I was returning to full strength at my High Tech engineering job, though, I felt a second call. I started wondering whether God had more in store for me than managing the development of software projects. After about a year of discernment of God’s will, Deb and I decided that we would heed God’s call to enter full-time Ministry in the newly founded Catholic Community of Billerica.
So, at the end of March 2014, I said goodbye to high tech, and hello to a full-time role as Director of Ministry and Faith Formation. I have not looked back. Sure, I sometimes miss the people I worked with in high tech, but there is an almost indescribable sense of peace working in Ministry. And, this is God’s call, not mine.
What’s your story?
What has God been doing in your life?
What is God doing in your life right now?