Judge by day, priest by night

Published 11:30 am Sunday, November 27, 2016

By Myoshi Price

The Orange Leader

Walking into a judge’s chambers can have an overwhelming feeling if you’re on the wrong side of the law. The room alone bares a certain presence. As U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin showed me the way to his chambers, I was met with warm greetings, wall to wall law books, and a room the size of my last studio apartment. The fact he actually met me downstairs and personally escorted me through security showed me the down to earth character of Judge Giblin.

Beaumont native Keith Giblin began his journey toward a career in law while he worked at the Goodyear Chemical Plant. He wasn’t so sure about going to college until he heard of the plant’s Tuition Reimbursement program. As a Physics major, Giblin was the first in his family to receive a college degree in 1986. After looking over his grades, he realized all of his A’s were in Liberal Arts courses and then came the change in his path.

He was accepted into the South Texas College of Law in Houston. With the support of his wife Joyce, of now 35 years, Giblin left Goodyear. As he made the hour long drive from Beaumont to Houston full time— his wife worked as a full time nurse as well. Although they had to cut corners and saved as much as possible with their first son Aubrey in tough, Giblin graduated with his Law Degree.

A first job as a lawyer in a private practice firm in Beaumont, Giblin eventually got the opportunity to be a Federal Prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office lasting for 14 years. In 2004, Giblin got the chance he worked hard for, to become the U.S. Magistrate Judge of the Eastern District of Texas.

After bringing justice to Southeast Texas for over a decade, Giblin was being lead onto another path.

Aside from his four sons and a first grandbaby on the way, Giblin began to light up as he talked about his transition into Priesthood.

“I’ve always been active in the Episcopal Church, and I’ve always been in love with it,” Giblin said “I found that I was the happiest when I was doing stuff in the church.”

The love he has for his church was being noticed by others who stated he was going to become a priest, even when Giblin didn’t believe it at first. Giblin finally answered the feeling he had (his calling) began to attend the Ionia School. The mini seminary program offered by the Bishop of Diocese brought in top theology professors from around the country.

This time around Giblin remained at his job as a judge and completed the three-year program at the Navasota Texas facility. Camp Allen as it was named was where Judge Giblin was ordained Father Giblin.

As part of his oath to the program, Giblin was to serve as a priest in a smaller town. That brought him to St. Paul Episcopal Church in Orange. “It’s been a joy and wonderful place to be.” Giblin said.

When it was time for his first Eucharist, Giblin had no idea his youngest of four sons, Anthony, would be the acolyte who washed his hands when he performed. Even when he didn’t believe it after one of the priests at the church predicted it would happen.

My curiosity wondered how did he juggle both law and religion careers at the same time. “My job has a little bit of flexibility and my congregation is very supportive,” Giblin said “They know I have a full time job not being a priest, but they are supportive and help me to get my job done. I’m very blessed and that’s what makes all of the difference.”