By the Rev. Joe Mazza
Greetings to everyone at my new church home, St. James Wheat Ridge.
First, let me say that I feel blessed and energized to have been assigned to serve as deacon at St. James Wheat Ridge. Your kind welcoming of my wife, Carol, and me as we visited St. James, while we waited for our bishop to discuss my candidacy with Mother Becky, was part of why I wanted to serve here.
Seeing and learning how much Mother Becky has added to St. James in a short time – enriching and adding opportunities for worship, creating opportunities for fellowship and learning – definitely made me want to be a part of St. James and serve our Lord with her and with all of you.
I must say, the Elvis Fool’s Gold peanut butter, jelly and bacon sandwiches helped a lot too.
I am honored that Mother Becky and Bishop O’Neill chose to have me serve as your deacon, and I do apologize to those of you who were somewhat shocked to suddenly see me in my collar the afternoon of Mother Becky’s Celebration of New Ministry.
Now for some nuts and bolts about Carol and me: I grew up in New York, on Long Island, about 45 minutes from New York City. Carol grew up in northern New Jersey. It is a second marriage for both of us.
We met and married while I was living and working in Memphis, Tennessee. My career, before retirement and diaconal ministry, was in television sales management and station management, which took me to many cities across the country over 30 years.
My two children are grown. Joe Jr., his wife, Theresa, and our 12-year-old grandson JJ live in Broomfield, and, after very little coaxing (okay, after no coaxing whatsoever), they got Carol and me to move to Westminster, about 10 minutes from them.
Daughter Natalie lives in Carmel, Ind., with our other three grandchildren – Patrick, 10; Will, 8; and Amelia, 6. Amelia is without a doubt the pint-sized ruler of the crew! At this time, unfortunately, Natalie is going through a divorce, and we support her in every way possible. We look forward to their visits this spring or summer.
Carol and I have spent quite a bit of time at JJ’s hockey games, and we’re looking forward to baseball later this spring, which I will help coach. JJ has also successfully auditioned for the Denver School of the Arts as a percussionist and will start in the fall.
Carol and I are avid baseball fans and loyal to the New York Yankees (who else?). No doubt we will also spend some summer evenings at Coors Field rooting for the Rockies.
After three years of study in The Diocese of Southern Ohio School for Diaconal Ministry, I was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons in June, 2009, at Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati.
While doing my field work at Trinity Church in Columbus, I was led by the Holy Spirit to start a homeless ministry for folks living on the land in downtown Columbus. The ministry, which I called In The Garden, began with praying for and having lunch with six to 10 homeless folks. Today, through the dedication of faithful volunteers, the ministry is still going strong and serves between 120 and 150 people every Sunday. Actually, all I did was plant a seed and God has blessed that ministry and made it grow and grow.
I have also served as a deacon in Jacksonville, Fla., and now God has blessed me again by bringing me here.
There are several Bible passages that influence and challenge me in my life as a deacon. I will mention three which, if you like, you may look up and maybe be challenged by them as well: Galatians 3:28, Matthew 25:35-40, and Luke 10:27.
I look forward to getting to know each of you better and working together in service to our Lord Jesus Christ. There is much that you can teach me about my new home, and I hope that through me you will see that the work of a deacon is never about the deacon, but always about being a humble servant.
I live with the knowledge and faith that God will open new doors with work for us to do together.
In His Service
The Rev. Joe Mazza, Deacon