From Deacon Joe…
For those who were out of town last weekend, or attended the 6:00PM, 11:30AM, or 8:30PM Masses, the following is an announcement I made at the other Masses:
25 years ago, Jenni and I had a significant conversion experience. When I tried to explain the change in my life to others, I would often use the image of a roller coaster. It was like climbing onto the ride, buckling up tightly, and simply hanging on. God was in control now, not me. But 16 years later, during a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, I headed up the small mountain, a special place for some private prayer. And as I came to the top of the mountain, God spoke to my heart. It wasn’t audible, but it was very real. And He told me to get off the merry-go-round and get back on the roller coaster. I realized that I had fallen back into a comfortable routine and become a bit complacent.
At Ss. Cyril & Methodius, I have become quite comfortable. It feels like home. When I came here seven years ago, I never expected to stay this long. I thought I would be here for about three years. It was to be a time for getting reenergized at a traditional church with orthodox teachings and liturgies, and then move on. Maybe it was a selfish motivation for coming to this parish—more thinking about what I could receive, than what I possibly could contribute to this already rich community. And it turns out, that I have received so much and learned so much over the last seven years—more than I have been able to give back. But now it is time to share what I have learned here and move on.
Over the last several years, I have been praying to discern where I should go for my next diaconal assignment. And part of the motivation has been practicality. Four years ago, Jenni and I moved from Romeo up to Almont and the drive down here to St. Cyril’s became a little bit longer. I was hoping to find somewhere a little closer to home for my ministry.
This last week my request for a new assignment at Immaculate Conception Parish in Lapeer was approved by the archdiocese, effective July 1. It’s a little closer, although not a lot, but I feel that this is where the Holy Spirit is leading me.
It’s going to be hard leaving all the friendships we have developed here—as I said, it feels like home—and I would like to thank you all for all the kindness and love you have shared with Jenni and me. And I am a little anxious as I start out on this new adventure—starting all over again at a new parish for the 4th time—and so I ask for your continued prayers as I climb into the roller coaster car once again. I can almost hear the click, click, click of the ratchet as I am being pulled up the first hill to start a new ride.
Praise be to Jesus Christ.
Deacon Joe & Jenni Hulway