William (Billy) Chavira, MD

Faith is truly a gift.  Throughout my life I have come to appreciate this gift; it was through my great-grandmother “Nana Bell” where I came to understand the gift of faith that has been passed down from generation to generation.  She did not have a degree, did not graduate from high school, she was poor and lived in public housing; however, her wealth came from her reliance on God.

I learned through the example of my great-grandmother that Holy Mass was the most important thing in life and therefore I would walk with her to St. Anthony Catholic Church during the heat of the summer months and the cold of winter. My great-grandmother’s love and devotion to our blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, was an inspiration to me as a young boy.  I learned of our Lady’s maternal protection of her son Jesus; something I foster in my own life and try to teach others.

I attended The University of Arizona and studied medicine.  I began my career as an instructor of clinical OBGYN which I soon left to begin my private practice.  It was at about this time when I met Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted who truly served as a spiritual father to me, allowing me to fully embrace, understand, and promote the teachings of Humanae Vitae. It was through the encouragement of priests and deacons where I began to again discern a call to the Permanent Diaconate.

With the support of my wife and children, I began the process of formation.  The Holy Spirit has lead me on a journey; opening pathways and doors so that God’s will may be done.   I do not know where my journey will end but I say “yes” to the Lord knowing that if I seek to do His will there will be peace and joy in my busy life as a father, husband, physician, and community leader. St. John Paul II says that the greatest gift a permanent deacon can give the Church is the foundation of a strong family, imaging the love of the blessed trinity. “Diakonia” means service, a deacon must first serve his family then the community.

Favorite Saints – Our Lady of Guadalupe, St Anthony Mary Claret

Currently assigned to St. Thomas the Apostle

Christopher Giannola

It was through the sudden loss of my brother Matt when I was 16 years old that my life would radically change. I had no idea that what was a very tragic and painful event for all my family, especially my mother, would lead myself and many in my family toward a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. My parents Joan and Sam Giannola gave their children the gift of a Catholic education, I attended parochial schools, K-12, where I grew up in Michigan.

I met my wife Mary at a prayer meeting at All Saints Newman Center in Tempe, we have been married for 32 years and have 26-year-old triplets, William, Joel and Regina. After graduation from Northern Arizona University, Mary and I decided to stay in Flagstaff and raise our family. I recently retired from the Flagstaff Unified School District, after a 31-year career as a special education teacher, high school wrestling and football coach and six years as administrative assistant at Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center. I served as Camp Director of Saint Joseph’s Youth Camp for 11 years.

I was drawn toward the diaconate through the example of many deacons in my parish and especially, my father-in-law, Deacon Bill Griffin. These inspiring examples of service were accompanied by an invitation to consider discerning this call. Prior to this, God has granted me great insight concerning my Catholic faith through my participation with Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, Charismatic Renewal and a pilgrimage to Medjugorje. Ultimately, it was through Eucharistic Adoration that my love of God has grown and my desire to serve Christ and His people as a Permanent Deacon has blossomed.

Favorite Saints: St Joseph, St Maximilian Kolbe, St Bernadette

Parish: St. Joseph the Worker- Williams, St Anne Mission- Ash Fork, St Francis- Seligman

Gary Scott

Growing up in Globe life was joyful, my parents Alan and Freda Scott and my sister Ann along with my Grandparents and my Aunts Adele and Selma made for an enriching family life.  As I grew I played piano, acted in school plays, served my parish as an Altar Boy, Lector, and Cantor, enjoyed playing sports – in particular Golf – and achieved at academics. All this set a firm foundation for my college years at Arizona State University where I graduated with a degree in History.

After graduation I pursued a career in Real Estate and for the last 31 years have worked for Maricopa County, currently as the Real Property Branch Manager.

In 1985 I moved to Scottsdale and while attending Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help I saw Penni Harrington in the choir. I leaned over to my Godmother and proclaimed “Someday I am going to marry that girl” – and on December 30, 1989 I married Penni Harrington – she is the love of my life.

Together Penni and I have done music ministry throughout the Diocese of Phoenix – her with incredible talent, passion, and love, me playing Bass Guitar.   It was at Resurrection Catholic Church in Tempe during the Year of the Priest in which our parish had a First Thursday devotion for vocations that I received a calling and began my formation for the Permanent Diaconate

Now my journey is coming full circle back to Scottsdale and I am assigned to St. Maria Goretti Parish, which happens to be the parish church for the neighborhood in which I have lived since 1985.

Favorite Saints – Our Blessed Mother Mary, St. Peter, St. Thomas More, and Pope St. John Paul the Great.

Parish – St. Maria Goretti

Marvin Silva

I was born in Managua, Nicaragua.  I had the privilege of being raised by my two parents who took good care of us and I learned from them the precious value of having a loving family.  My parents placed me in a Catholic elementary school.  I received my Catholic faith not just at the school, but with the example of my parents.

I married Isolda in 1980 in Nicaragua. In 1988 we decided to immigrate to Canada with our two sons, Marvin Jr and Ricardo. Our youngest son, Joshua, was born in Canada. Currently, we have three granddaughters. While in Canada, I completed my PhD degree in Geo-Environmental Engineering.

My spiritual life changed completely when Isolda and I were invited to participate in a Marriage Encounter retreat in 1990 in Canada.  I fell in love with Jesus and realized that God had a plan for my life. Since then, we have been following Jesus and serving in His Church in different ministries.  I participated in the music ministry as well as Marriage Encounter and charismatic retreats.

I took a job in Boston in 2000 and we lived there for five years.  In 2005, I took a position with a different firm and we moved to Arizona.  I began serving at St. Mary’s Church in Chandler as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and lector.  In 2006 I was certified to provide the “Call to Protect” classes, which my wife and I are still providing.  I began delivering the Holy Communion to the sick and praying for them. In 2008, I had a dream in which God called me to serve. I didn’t know what that meant because I was already serving. In 2011, I was invited to attend an orientation meeting about the diaconate. I had the strong desire to discern if this was what God wanted me to do. During this five years of formation I have been discovering God’s plan in my life.

Favorite Saint: Immaculate Conception of Mary and St. Jude Thaddeus

Parish: St. Mary’s in Chandler

Anthony (Tony) Smith

My journey to the diaconate is one that I never would have dreamt of during my early years as an adult.  I was too self-absorbed and blinded by the lures of the world to see God working in my life.  I dabbled in many forms of spirituality, I guess I was what would be considered today “spiritual but not religious.” Not that I denied the existence of God, but I never truly embraced our Lord Jesus in my heart, I struggled with my relationship with Him.  But as I reflect on my journey now it is easy to see that He was always with me even in my doubts.

First he gave me a mother who was a very faithful Catholic and as I like to say, a “Bible thumping Catholic” … she knew her Scriptures.  Secondly he gave me my beautiful wife Diana, who insisted on being married in the Church, another gift from God that took me years to see. Thirdly God gave Diana and I the gift of our wonderful children, Kaitlen and Cooper.  It was through our children, along with my mother’s and Diana’s prayers for me, that I finally saw God’s hand in my life, always guiding me gently and waiting patiently for me.

Once the veil was lifted and my eyes were opened I could not get enough of His presence, I had hopelessly fallen in love with our Lord and Savior.  I know now that I was put on this earth to follow our Lord wherever He leads me as a faithful and obedient servant of God and His Church.

Favorite Saint: Saint Anthony of the Desert

Parish: Saints Simon and Jude Cathedral