‘Really joyful work’
For Christopher Noble of St. Anthony Parish in White River Junction, the “call to discipleship” means joyfully serving God and spreading the Good News of the Gospel.
“He calls us all to service, and it’s wonderful to answer the call. When you open yourself to a living encounter with Our Lord, it flows naturally that you want to serve Him and know Him more,” he said. “To know Him, to love Him and serve Him — it all works together.”
Retired from the U.S. Navy, Noble is a self-employed beekeeper at Broad Brook Bees in South Royalton where he and his wife of 33 years, Dianne Piper, live in the original 1856 Piper farmhouse. They have three sons and a granddaughter.
He serves his parish as a catechist-RCIA coordinator, extraordinary minister of Holy Communion and Catholic bible study facilitator.
“I personally had to get out of my comfort zone and join others at the parish bringing the Good News of the Gospel to those who have not heard it and to those who have but are no longer ‘around our Lord’s table,’” Noble said. “Perhaps most important in bringing the Good News and building the Church in Vermont is not just what we do on the church grounds but also in living faithful Catholic, Christian lives ourselves and bringing that powerful witness to all aspects of what we do day to day.”
Noble is participating in the Lay Formation Leadership Program of the Diocese of Burlington, which seeks to form laity to assist in leadership roles in their parishes.
“The courses focus on the three great aspects of discipleship: Loving encounter with our Lord and personal prayer life, learning about our Lord and His Church and serving Him and His flock,” explained the professed member in temporary promises to the Discalced Carmelite Secular Community in Burlington.
“As a soul finally open to real encounter with Jesus, the accompanying conversion is joyfully life transforming!” he continued. “Instead of trying to ‘fit’ our Lord into a worldly life (and never really finding time except for the minimums), I now wanted to know Him, serve Him and love Him more.”
Asked what blessings he has received from serving the Church, Noble replied, “A growing love and real relationship with our Lord Jesus. The joy of communion with the Church community, the sacraments and a living, prayerful life. You just can’t go wrong with these as a base.”
He suggests people call their pastor to talk about getting involved in church ministries. “With me it started out small but then wonderfully grew,” he said. “It’s really joyful work.”
—Originally published in the Spring 2019 issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.