Dcn. Billy Chavira and even his fraternity brothers thought he was called to something greater. They nicknamed him “Fr. Billy.” He thought about some sort of holy orders over the years, particularly after his interaction with deacons.
He put the thought aside while he was still a younger father. Now that two children are in local Catholic high schools and a third is off to college, Dcn. Chavira is eager to further guide others in the Church, particularly when it comes to understanding the Mass and embracing the gift of faith.
His great-grandmother taught him to keep his faith rooted in Christ. Claretian fathers serving at St. Anthony Parish where he grew up an altar server and sacristan also served as examples. Mass was always a strong priority for him, even if it wasn’t for others in his immediate family growing up. “You have to go there to fill up every other part of your life because that’s where you go to be fed,” Dcn. Chavira said.
Almost one week to the minute before his ordination, he thought about the faith he’s grown in throughout his life: “I have always remained close to the altar,” he said.
Diaconate formation deepened what he thought he knew about the liturgy. As a deacon, he will support the diocesan Office of Worship and Liturgy. He will also serve at St. Thomas the Apostle, his home parish.
Most of his ministry, however, will occur daily by the nature of his medical practice. Dcn. Chavira opened an OB/GYN practice nearly 15 years ago and remains committed to respecting the full dignity of women. He is the medical director of Natural Family Planning at St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
Dcn. Chavira is confident the graces to carry out his newly ordained ministry will come if he remains open to them. He doesn’t know exactly what to expect, but said it’s an exciting time to be a Catholic.
“I feel if we remain open to … the Spirit, that He will guide and that’s exciting,” Dcn. Chavira said. “I think one of the main things from formation was the realization that my identity comes from who I am as a son of the Father.”
That gives him a sense of peace and has taught him not to be immediately reactionary to the issues going on in secular culture. Instead, he has the ability to change them through his own witness. He said many have asked what he will be able to do as a deacon — his functional role.
“We tend to give value to what a person is able to do. Holy orders is not only what you can do but who you are — that indelible mark on your soul,” Dcn. Chavira explained.
He hopes to continue to use his own family, as imperfect as he said it is, as a model of love.