Print this page

Cable ministry of Deacon Blicharz

Deacon John F. Blicharz of Bellows Falls records his "Sharing Thoughts" cable program in his kitchen. (Vermont Catholic/Cori Fugere Urban) Deacon John F. Blicharz of Bellows Falls records his "Sharing Thoughts" cable program in his kitchen.
Even though he was granted “senior deacon” status about three years ago because of debilitating spinal stenosis that makes walking difficult, Deacon John F. Blicharz continues his role of service to the Church through his cable television program.
His 30-minute monthly program, “Sharing Thoughts,” is recorded in the kitchen of his tidy Bellows Falls home, a two-foot crucifix from the former Sacred Heart Church visible behind him.
The program is “about our faith in general,” he said, and topics have included the Knights of Columbus, World Youth Day, the Holy Land, prayer, purgatory and the right to life.
Aired on Fact TV Channel 8 in Bellows Falls, the cable access program can be seen four times a week. Its purpose, Deacon Blicharz said, is “to spread the word of God and to show forth our faith.”
Deacon Blicharz – of Polish descent -- grew up “across the river” in North Walpole, N.H., but was a parishioner of Sacred Heart Church in Bellows Falls – a Polish parish -- until it closed in 2004. A graduate of the former Bellows Falls High School, he attended St. Mary’s College in Orchard Lake, Mich., affiliated with Sts. Cyril and Methodius Seminary there. He studied at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore for two years before returning to the Bellows Falls area.
He and his wife, Jane A., have been married since 1972 and have two adult children, Stephanie and Timothy – both graduates of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. -- who now live in the Boston area.
Deacon Blicharz, 70, is a retired office worker for James Oil in Bellows Falls.
Burlington Bishop John A. Marshall ordained him to the permanent diaconate in 1982, and he served both in the Diocese of Burlington and in the Diocese of Manchester, N.H, in a church just about a mile from his home on the other side of the Connecticut River.
He said he was called to the permanent diaconate because of his love for the Church and because though the Lord did not call him to the priesthood, he could still serve the people of God. “I’ve always been involved in the Church,” said the former longtime high school religious education teacher.
When Father Lance Harlow – now rector of Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph Co-Cathedral parishes in Burlington – was pastor of St. Charles Church in Bellows Falls, he asked Deacon Blicharz to be on his cable program, “Curious about Catholicism.”
The deacon was on the program three times, discussing the permanent diaconate in Vermont and Sacred Heart Church.
“My family was deeply rooted and involved in Sacred Heart Parish,” he said proudly.
Now a parishioner of St. Charles Church, Deacon Blicharz is committed to uplifting the Church, particularly through his cable program. “Faith is fragile, like an eggshell,” he said. “Unless you’re really grounded in it, you could lose it very quickly.”
So when Father Harlow asked him to take over the cable program in 2011, he agreed. “It was a good way to show the faith by continuing the show,” the deacon said.
Lamenting that the country has become more godless, Deacon Blicharz said he hopes through the program “people get a better grasp of who Jesus Christ is, Our Lord and savior.”
Describing himself as a “people person,” Deacon Blicharz said the program has uplifted him because being unable to serve as a deacon on a regular basis because of his leg problems “broke my heart.”
But he emphasizes that the program is not about him. “It’s about Jesus Christ using me to put forth what needs to be said to the people about our faith.”
Topics for future programs include Our Lady of Fatima, prison ministry and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein).
Last modified onThursday, 22 June 2017 08:05
Vermont Catholic Magazine © 2016 Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington