The Malachy Message

Explore all there is to know about our St. Malachy family with the Malachy Message, our official bi-weekly church newsletter! 

Parishioner of the Week

Missed the newsletter? Find your Parishioners of the Week below! This initiative gives our community the opportunity to meet new parishioners and to learn about what makes our Family of Faith so special! 

Interested in becoming the next Parishioner of the Week? Please contact Ursula for more information! 

Rose Queentry has been a member of the St. Malachy Parish Community for 55 years, ever since she and her late husband moved to the area from St. Clair Shores back in the 60s.

Rose’s husband was an usher at the church. This helped her grow more involved with the parish as well, including keeping watch over the doors when Catechism classes were in session, and taking care of the Shrine…since the beginning of it! “You name it, I’ve done it,” she says.

In addition to helping out around St. Malachy, Rose was a ‘lunch mother’ at Black Elementary, and became quite famous around the area! Children and parents alike seem to radiate around her contagious personality, and she adds to the “family” atmosphere at our church.

The best way Rose describes St. Malachy is very friendly and open to new people, especially with all the committees and groups offered. She insists that there is none other like it. “This is my parish; I would not know how to act in another parish, and I love Fr. Joe dearly. He’s a very good priest and he’s good to all of us, especially our youth, and that’s just the way it is.”

Rose says St. Malachy has made her grow in her faith, especially with all the ways she has been involved in the parish community. She attends daily Mass, and is always willing to help out around the church. If you ever see her around, it is guaranteed that she will have a smile on her face! 

“It’s my church! This is my parish, and I love it!”

Tom Torrento has been a member of St. Malachy since 2006, after he left his previous parish in the area. He wanted to join a church like St. Angela, the parish he grew up in, as he was very active there. A coworker of Tom’s was an usher at the 7:30 am Mass, and told him about St. Malachy. “I gave it a try and was hooked from day one,” said Tom.
 
He described St. Malachy as one huge family, like many people do! “The more I got involved, the more people I got to know and now they have become very close friends of ours,” he said. “I was very involved at St. Angela, seeing that I went to grade school there, got married there, had my two oldest children go to school there, and was an usher with my father there.”
 
Now, with being very active at St. Malachy, it seems to have come full-circle. “St. Malachy is my second family and always will be,” he said. 
 
Tom enjoys Fr. Joe, with a great realization at how much the pastor has impacted his life!
 
“In my younger days as a new parent, I had to force myself to go to church,” he said. “The more you get involved, you look at things with a different perspective and that is what happened to me when I finally found a new church home.”
 
Since coming to St. Malachy, Tom wanted to get involved in as many things as he could. He joined the Men’s Club and has been Secretary for the past 10 years! For the past eight years, he has chaired the Festival Pasta Dinner with his wife, and he has been Lead-Usher at St. Malachy for the past six years.
 
This has helped him get involved with the Knights of Columbus, where he is currently the Grand Knight of the John F. Kennedy Council 5460.
 
It is in this way that St. Malachy has helped his faith… being surrounded by the many people and groups of our Parish Family!
 
 

“So in a nutshell, just getting involved and meeting different people with different ideas but having the one same thing in common…the love for God and for our fellow man.”

Rocky Mercier became a St. Malachy parishioner around three years ago, when he came from his childhood church which he was very involved in with the youth group, along with his son, Nick. St. Malachy was very associated through the two youth programs, so Rocky was familiar with both churches. When the youth group at his church disbanded, Rocky saw they weren’t meeting the youth’s needs, but St. Malachy was!
 
“I was familiar with Fr. Joe and St. Malachy because of the way we [the youth groups] have done so many things together, and so we decided as a family that we’d start going to St. Malachy,” said Rocky. “And I’m so glad we did!” 
 
Rocky explained that Fr. Joe delegates to his church, which really helps the youth and their involvement in the parish, and that Fr. Joe is the reason St. Malachy is so welcoming.
 
“I’ve never been to a church where every single week, the priest is there,” said Rocky. “He greets you at the door, and he’ll be in his umbrella and his blanket and his headgear and everything, whatever it takes, and he’ll be out in front of that church.”
 
Rocky is part of a group that brings Eucharist to members of a retirement home when they are unable to attend Mass themselves. When he stops by the church to get the Eucharist, Fr. Joe is already sitting outside the doors waiting to greet his parishioners…at 7 am!
 
The technology at St. Malachy was a turnoff for Rocky at first, but he got used to it and now prefers and admires it. He especially enjoys the livestreaming, especially since he can bring Mass anywhere!
 
Contemporary mass is also something Rocky said he enjoys, especially seeing all the young families, like his own, at St. Malachy. 
 
“It feels like a family because I know a lot of people there now, and I knew some before,” he said. “It’s welcoming, and even if they aren’t talking to me, you can just see in the atmosphere how people are talking to each other and becoming friends.”
 
Rocky explained that there are many things offered to keep his faith-journey going. He especially enjoys the people that Fr. Joe invites to the church for series like Walk Among the Saints and The Cross and the Light. Opportunities like this and others, such as Gordon’s study groups, help keep Rocky’s faith alive.
 
 

“St. Malachy is always running in the background, and I have no choice but to keep my faith going.”

Our Parishioner of the Week is extremely active in our Church, and we are sure you will recognize her!
 
Karen Chimenti has been a part of the St. Malachy community her entire life! Being as this is the only Church she has been a member at, she was baptized at St. Malachy, and made her other Sacraments within the walls here.
 
“The sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation were part of my growth and formation of who I am now,” she said. “The opportunities to serve and minister, to use my gifts to serve the St. Malachy community, has helped my faith journey which has brought me closer to God.”  
 
Through the love, joy, and support she receives in the St. Malachy community, Karen described St. Malachy as her welcoming, caring, sharing, giving, and supportive Family of Faith. 
 
 

“St. Malachy is my home and second family.”

Katie and Derek Miller became members of St. Malachy in 2016 when they started a family! They both grew up in Warren and faith took a strong role in their upbringings. When the couple married in 2014, they committed to each other that they would continue their strong faith as they raise their own children.
 
Shortly after their oldest daughter, Dakota, was born, the priest at their previous church left the parish. Katie and Derek felt that they were due for change as well. Their goal was to belong to a parish that promoted fellowship, youth, and an overall uplifting feeling from attending Mass. “We truly look forward to Mass each week and the positive response we receive from bringing our family here,” said Katie. “Everyone is so kind and friendly!”
 
Katie, Derek, and Dakota attended their first 11:30 am Mass at St. Malachy in 2016, shortly before Katie became pregnant with their middle child, Savannah. “It’s been our home ever since,” she said.
 
Dakota and Savannah are both active in the children’s Catechism program, and Katie said  that their youngest daughter, Rosie, has earned the hearts of all the ushers!
 
Katie first heard about St. Malachy from her neighbor, Geri Malek, when she moved into her first home in a nearby subdivision. Geri was very involved in St. Malachy and always encouraged Katie to try the church. Derek’s parents knew Fr. Joe personally from being politically involved in the area, as Derek’s dad, Art Miller, was a State Senator for many years!
 
While both of these connections have helped a lot with the transition to St. Malachy, the people of the church have created a family for Derek and Katie. “We’ve been through some really hard things since 2020,” Katie said. “There were several people in church that seemed like perfect strangers, but became our biggest cheerleaders and now friends.”
 
Katie and Derek agreed that belonging to a church they enjoy coming to has made the effort of attending every week with three young children incredibly worth it.
 
 

“We continue to wish that more parents would bring their children, as we often don’t see as many young parishioners as we would like.”

Frank Farina has been a member of St. Malachy for 53 years, after his wife and he moved into the neighborhood. They were married about two and a half years, and both became members when Fr. Ghelfi was pastor. 

Frank said St. Malachy truly embodies a faith-family, and our parish is very active compared to others in the area. While it is more difficult to get volunteers, the Church still has so many activities that get the community involved.

“I was very blessed in my business for a while, but this brought me back to what is really important,” Frank said. “After I retired, I decided I was lucky and that I should give back for the many blessings I’ve gotten here.” 

Frank explained that the core group of leadership in the parish is the biggest blessing, especially Fr. Joe. “He is very generous to us, and I think he really feels that we are family to him.”

Frank said he has made most of his friends through St Malachy. He was president of the St. Malachy Baseball Program for the kids in the area, and he was on the Parish Council for ten years! Now, he is the St. Malachy Men’s Club Treasurer, and he always has a wonderful time with his crew at all the events they plan! 

St. Malachy has given Frank many blessings, and he is certain it will do the same for you! 

Mary Anne Kadets has attended St. Malachy since 1978, when she and her husband moved to the area. During their 20s, they lived in Detroit and were very involved in their parish downtown. Her husband was an usher there and she was in the Women’s Society.
 
However, they lived in an apartment together and were looking for a home. They bought a house by St. Malachy and commuted back and forth to their parish in Detroit for about three months. Eventually, the drive became too much to handle, and they decided to change to St. Malachy, which took a lot of adjusting. As many know, the change was worth it!
 
Having described St. Malachy as a very friendly and generous community, Mary Anne worked in the Christian Service Group and has been in charge of the Giving Tree, the Tree of Life, and the School Supply Drive. “I cannot believe that even in times when it is really hard and you wouldn’t think you’re gonna get a whole lot, the pouring in is just unbelievable,” she said. Mary Anne has also Eucharistic ministered for 30 years and was a member of the Parish Council.
 
Mary Anne has met a lot of people attending St. Malachy for as many years as she has. She said she attends the 9:30 am Mass, and has gotten to know the people who sit around her. “The more you get involved, the more you learn about people,” she said. “You get to know them and their families and if they’re not in church you wonder where they are.”
 
When her mother passed away, a stranger walked up to Mary Anne and gave her a hug, saying how sorry she was. After that, Mary Anne got to know her quite well. It is in this way that St. Malachy is a family.
 
Mary Anne expressed that it is hard NOT to talk to people at St. Malachy. “It’s a family…you come into church and you meet people and you greet people,” she said. “I even told my husband, if we ever move, I couldn’t give up this parish…we’d have to come back.”
 
She claimed that even going to Mass up north feels different because it is not Fr. Joe, whose homilies are always personal and informative to his community. 
 
Throughout her life, Mary Anne always attended Church and never wavered, but she said she has never had the same feeling of belonging that she does at St. Malachy.
 

 

“I think St. Malachy has made me stronger…I used to go to church because I had to, but now I go because I want to.”

Steve Smith is one of the rocking faces of our Contemporary Choir! With his talented guitar solos and his dedication to ministering through music, let’s get to know him a little bit more!
 
Steve joined the St. Malachy community three years ago, and he claimed it as one of the best moves of his life!
 
Steve lives close to the church, and he first became interested in St. Malachy when a former guitar student of his told him to come check it out. Luckily for Steve, he did, and his life changed forever.
 
“When I saw the Contemporary Choir play, I watched them having so much fun singing these amazing, uplifting worship songs,” he said. “I had to be part of that!”
 
Steve said he is forever grateful for Fr. Joe, former St. Malachy Music Director, Cat Dacpano, and the rest of the “Contemporary Crew” for letting him be part of the group.
 
He described St. Malachy’s congregation and staff as a warm, friendly, and inviting bunch. “It’s a very cool vibe we have here,” he said. 
 
Being a member of the Contemporary Choir really highlights the “family” aspect of the church for Steve. “Being part of the Contemporary Choir, together we try to bring these amazing worship songs to our congregation,” he said. “The support and love we receive back from them far exceeds all the hard work we put in.”
 
Steve said his faith journey has really taken off since becoming a member of St. Malachy, especially through the songs he plays weekly. He said they help guide, inspire, and remind us just how great our God is!
 
Nick and Emily Kostrzeba have been dedicated members of the St. Malachy parish for a long time! Nick began attending over 20 years ago, because his parents live in the connecting subdivision of the church.
 
Previously, they attended St. Martin de Porres, but visited St. Malachy on occasion. It was not until high school that Nick joined the Youth Group and attended St. Malachy on a regular basis. “I really connected with the community and Fr. Joe’s vision for building that community,” Nick said. 
 
When Nick started dating Emily, they both went to St. Malachy. They were married by Fr. Joe at the church in 2008, and had three children, all of whom Fr. Joe baptized! “One thing we really value about St. Malachy is the community,” said Nick. “There is such a diversity of people who all come together to support each other in their Faith and to be the best person they can be.”
 
Nick and Emily said Fr. Joe has done an amazing job with evangelization. They feel he has found a way to meaningfully incorporate the youth into all aspects of the parish, and that it has made St. Malachy so special. “When Emily and I moved to northern Macomb township, we tried multiple parishes, but always found our way back to St. Malachy, even with the long drive,” Nick said.
 
Nick and Emily agreed that St. Malachy provides multiple opportunities to support its Faith. Their children are enrolled in the Religious Education classes, and as parents, they are still learning and growing as they support their children in developing their Faith. 
 
The couple said they feel there is something for everyone: “From virtual mass and Saint of the Day videos, to committees, clubs, and events like the parish festival or Halloween party.” 
 
With each aspect of the church building on to the concept of community, Nick and Emily explained that St. Malachy allows parishioners to connect, learn, and grow in an environment that best supports their needs.
 

 

“The parish feels energized and relevant.”

While Karen Koval was raised primarily in the Byzantine Catholic Church and attended a Roman Catholic school in Detroit, she left the Catholic Church a little over 50 years ago.
 
However, she enjoyed the peer influence and wanted friends who showed love and acceptance. During the next few years, Karen attended various non-denominational churches and was even trained and given pastoral and chaplain accreditations.
 
She was also involved in teaching at some local non-denominational schools and attended dance classes at a Christian dance school. There, she ministered in dance and eventually learned sign-mime interpretation of worship songs!
 
As the years passed, Karen found herself longing for her Catholic roots. “I wanted to worship with a community where the emphasized core values included gentleness, humility, mercy, living simply,” she said. “Jesus is gentle and humble of heart.” 
 
Karen gave up her pastoral and chaplain accreditations and became more familiar with what was being taught by the Catholic Church, as opposed to what people think they know about the faith. 
 
She began visiting different local churches as she searched for the community God wanted her to be involved in. “When I came to St. Malachy, I felt the most at home,” she said. Karen has been attending Mass at St. Malachy since the fall of 2016. 
 
Karen described St. Malachy as a welcoming community, and she enjoys Fr. Joe’s homilies because they teach the values she was searching for in the past (gentleness, humility, mercy, and living simply.)
 
She began participating in some of the ministry groups, such as helping with the Shrine and assisting with the Hospitality Ministry. However, she found her greatest purpose in the Worship Choir!
 
While it takes time to get to know people, Karen has met a variety of individuals throughout her time at St. Malachy who are truly committed to loving Jesus.
 
“I am so very thankful to have found them and to see them at Mass regularly,” she said. 
 
Being part of St. Malachy has given Karen a home where she can use the many gifts and graces God has granted her!
 

 

“It is a place where I make many mistakes – and through the love and patience of others, I continue to learn how God wants to adjust my heart, attitude, and responses to be more like those of Jesus: gentle and humble of heart, while speaking the Truth of the Kingdom of God.”

Corey Sanborn grew up in Detroit when he was a child, and Fr. Joe was the pastor of the church he attended. He altar served for many years and ultimately grew to know him very well! When Corey was in eighth grade, Fr. Joe left to attend a new church.
 
“I remember being in the basement of the church where we had a farewell party for him and thinking to myself I’ll never see him again,” Corey said. “I was a kid, so it wasn’t like I could follow him.”
 
Years later, Corey graduated from St. Alphonsus High School in Dearborn, moved to Eastpointe, got married at St. Basil, and he and his wife, Jaime, became parishioners there.
 
Together, they started a family of two daughters, Olivia and Brianna. They moved to Sterling Heights four years later. Again, it was time to find a new church.
 
“I wanted a modern church, not the same boring Catholic church that I grew up in,” Corey explained. “I wanted upbeat music, and I wanted my kids to want to go instead of being forced to go.” 
 
He attended a new church in the neighborhood every Sunday in hopes of finding a good fit. “I went to St. Anne in Warren, St. Basil Byzantine in Sterling Heights, and a couple of others,” he said. “One Sunday, it was St. Malachy’s turn.”
 
Without remembering where Fr. Joe had ended up, Corey was completely shocked when he saw the familiar face walking down the aisle. Then, the music started. He was hooked.
 
Corey reconnected with Fr. Joe after Mass, and he went home to tell Jaime that he had finally found their new church.
 
He and his family officially started attending St. Malachy in April of 2008. “Between Fr. Joe’s homilies and the music from the Contemporary Choir, there is no better church,” he said. 
 
Corey and Jaime have brought friends and family members to visit St. Malachy, and have received the same comments on how great it is. “Everyone is so welcoming, and we’ve made some great friends over the years,” said Corey. “I love how Fr. Joe engages with the kids and gets them involved.”
 
Corey and his family really enjoy the Holy Hours, Youth Ministry, Faith Formation program, modern technology, and the website that St. Malachy offers.
 
“I don’t know if we will ever move again,” Corey said. “But we better plan to commute on Sunday mornings because I’m staying at St. Malachy.” 

Lindsey and Ken Jeffers began attending St. Malachy in 2009 when they first met. In fact, they got engaged after 5 o’clock Mass on October 26th, 2010! Ken showed Lindsey all the paver stones on the outdoor shrine that held his family’s handprints before proposing to her with their own stone. “You can find it outside near the fountain, where it reads, ‘Lindsey Dennis and Ken Jeffers engaged 10-26-10,’” Lindsey said. “Getting engaged just outside the church really clenched it for us.”
 
St. Malachy quickly became their permanent church where they got married and had their children make their First Communion and get Baptized.
 
Ken and Lindsey had first heard about St. Malachy through Ken’s grandparents, Joan and Lannie Jeffers, who are highly involved with the parish. They used to live near St. Malachy, and they continue attending even though they moved further away.
 
Lindsey best describes the church as friendly and family-like. “The people here are amazing,” she said. “I love seeing the familiar faces and people coming up and asking how our boys are doing because they remember us coming when they were infants.”
 
The Jeffers family helps out with the festival each year, helping organize the basket raffle, cooking the fish dinner on Friday, and working the ice cream booth! 
 
Ken and Lindsey attend Faith Formation with their children, and their eldest will be joining FROG in a few years. “I like how Faith Formation makes learning about our faith fun and interactive,” Lindsey said. “Our youngest, Paul, is going to be making his First Communion this year!”
 
Ken and Lindsey both agree that being part of St. Malachy has helped them learn how faith can be vibrant and interactive.
 
Diana Tomsha has been a St. Malachy parishioner for over 35 years, when she and her husband, Jeff, moved from Harper Woods to Sterling Heights in 1985.
 
“One reason I decided to become a parishioner here is because I felt comfortable attending Mass,” she said.  “The priest, [at the time], was a good homilist and the music was appealing.
 
Diana expresses that the St. Malachy parish is a caring, generous, faith-in-action community, with opportunities for all ages that encourage them to grow in faith in-person and online. There are many groups and areas to volunteer where people share their God-given talents with the parish.
 
“To me, a family supports each other and works together no matter what,” she said. “I find that here at St. Malachy.”
 
Over many years of volunteering and working at St. Malachy, Diana has met many wonderful faith-filled people who are supportive, kind, and giving. She explained that she is more prayerful than she was before she began working at St. Malachy in the Christian Formation Office with her friends, Pat Whelan, Jo Marjan, and Henri Steiner.
 
“They prayed a lot!!! If we lost something – we prayed to St. Anthony or the Holy Spirit,” she said. “If someone was sick or dying, we prayed for them; If a person came into the office and wanted to volunteer, especially when we were praying for more volunteers, we prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. Prayer is a very important part of my daily life.”
 
Diana said her faith-life has been greatly enhanced (in-person and online) by the many programs offered at this parish. She enjoys attending Holy Hours, Stations of the Cross, First Friday Devotions, Adoration, concerts, Advent Series, Holy Week services, and many more!  Online, she finds God working in her through  Fr. Joe’s different series such as the Saint of the Day videos and Lenten Reflections. She enjoys the live-streamed Masses, Children’s Liturgy of the Word, and the weekly bulletin and newsletter.
 
With so much to be involved in, Diana has truly found her Family of Faith here at St. Malachy! 
 
Donna Cieslak is a brand new parishioner here at St. Malachy! Only registering to the parish less than two weeks ago, we wanted to hear her story!
 
Donna first visited St. Malachy when she attended a family funeral hosted at the church. Although under unfortunate circumstances, she was impressed at what was offered!
 
In addition to the funeral, Donna has also visited Sunday Masses, the annual Summer Fest, fish fries, [and more] at St. Malachy for about six months!
 
She had attended another parish for quite some time before switching to our Family of Faith, but was unhappy there. She explained that she had stayed to fulfill her commitments of volunteering, which ended in March.
 
“My first impression of St. Malachy was the warmth and friendliness shown to me, even as a stranger,” said Donna. “I can see how all the parishioners seem so happy to be a part of this church, and the best way to describe St. Malachy is caring, welcoming and fulfilling!”
 
Donna said people cannot help but feel like part of a family at this parish. She loves the music and sees how it is an important part of the Mass. 
 
Overall, Donna seems to have found the perfect spot in our Family of Faith! If you see her around, make sure to give her a friendly St. Malachy welcome! 
 
Annie Butzu has been a member of the St. Malachy parish her entire life! Her parents were members of the church, and she and her sister were both baptized at St. Malachy.
 
Annie was also part of the high-school youth group, and worked in the parish office. In fact, that was her very first job! “As part of our office staff back then, I got to be one of the first people to meet and welcome Fr. Joe here!” she said. “He’s been a close friend ever since, and I’m blessed to know him!”
 
She made all her sacraments at St. Malachy, and Fr. Joe had the honor officiating the wedding between her husband and her, and baptizing their son!
 
Annie has always been involved in St. Malachy, even as a kid! She played softball for the church and was a member of the high school youth group, ROCK, where she met her lifelong friends. 
 
Once she made her Confirmation, she became a Eucharistic Minister like her mother, and later became a lector. “I love getting the opportunity every month to read during Mass as it’s helped me gain a deeper understanding of the Readings, and in that it’s helped make the Mass even more meaningful,” she said.
 
She has also sponsored several parishioners in their journey to become Catholic. “Those opportunities were such blessings as I was able to share with someone else – a stranger to St. Malachy at first – what it meant to not only be Catholic, but to also be a part of something so much bigger than ourselves.”
 
As others have often mentioned it, Annie couldn’t help but fully agree that St. Malachy is a family…one that walks and grows together. “I love that I feel this way about my church,” she added.
 
Every Sunday, she is greeted by the familiar faces of those who have watched her grow up. Now they watch her son grow up! “Our parish family, led by Fr. Joe, helps me to continue to grow in my faith, learn about God’s love and mercy, and has always been a driving force in my life,” she said. “I love our parish family and I’m grateful to my parents for teaching me about my faith by instilling in me a love for Jesus and Mass.”
 
After she graduated high school, Annie went away to Central Michigan University to complete her undergraduate degree. While she was away, she didn’t attend church regularly. Although her campus had a parish, it just didn’t feel like St. Malachy. “It never felt like home, and I didn’t know many of the people there,” she said. “My friends at school didn’t go to church, so I usually sat by myself – always in a different pew, which is also strange, because at St. Malachy, we all know where we sit…we have ‘our’ pews!”
 
After a while, she stopped attending altogether. 
 
Once she moved back home, Annie knew something was missing for her. Her grandmother had moved in with her family, and she knew that she didn’t have much time left with her. She realized God had given her the gift to finally attend Mass every week with her family for the first time since she could remember.
 
So she went back to church.
 
“That’s when I discovered that missing piece – it was Mass, but it was also being back among family and close friends, all of us praying and worshiping together – that’s what I had been missing,” she explained. “Once I found it, I knew I couldn’t lose it ever again.”
 
She knew that Mass at St. Malachy needed to be part of her life to help her grow and know Jesus better than ever. “Sometimes, you have to miss something for a while to really understand what it means to you.”
 
For Annie, coming back to St. Malachy felt like coming home.
 
Every Sunday, she feels a sense of home and the love of Jesus in the greetings to one another, in the music, in the prayers, and in Fr. Joe’s words, reminding everyone that Jesus is always there…even when you leave for a bit. “He’s there when we come back, and He’s waiting for us with open arms, welcoming us back home and teaching us how to love and follow Him.”
 

Dan Nicholson has been a member of St. Malachy for 31 years, after hearing about it from his wife, Colette. Colette and her family were parishioners at the church, and when they decided to get married, Dan continued his faith journey at St. Malachy!

He became involved in many different ministries at the church, but the first thing he did was  coach his daughters, Rachel and Emma in the summer Girl’s Softball League. After that, he started volunteering for the Summer Festival set-up and teardown, and he still enjoys doing that!

“I was asked to be a sponsor for a young man in our RCIA/OCIA program,” said Dan. “After that experience, I was asked to join the RCIA/OCIA Team, and I continue to help women and men in their journey of faith in becoming Catholic.” Dan has also served as a member of the Prayer Ministry.

“Now that I’m retired, it is a true blessing to attend daily mass and to help make pierogi,” he said. “I even had the opportunity to tell our youth how much daily Mass means to me when our DRE, Julie, asked me to speak at a Family Faith Formation class.”

To Dan, St. Malachy is caring. 

“From Fr. Joe, to the office staff, to the RCIA/OAIC Team, to the Men’s Club, to the Summer Festival Team, to the Women’s Club… they all care about our parish family.”

Dan explained that St. Malachy has made his faith journey rich and full because of the opportunities he was given to get involved.

 

“If there is only one message I can give to someone looking to increase their faith, it is this: get involved!”

We are thrilled to introduce our new St. Malachy Music Director, Eric Taylor, as our Parishioner of the Week! We think Eric is quite talented and will make a phenomenal asset to our St. Malachy Family! Let’s learn a little more about Eric Taylor:
 
Can you give a little background about yourself? Education, job experience, etc.
 
E: I earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Music Education and a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Wayne State University. Since 2012, I have been a music teacher, working with students from Kindergarten to 12th Grade. I also conduct an adult choir, Aeolian Chorale (Dearborn), during the summer.
 
While this is my first official “Director of Music” role, I have been involved in church music throughout my life, serving as a musician, cantor, choir member, and children’s choir director. Most recently, I was a Tenor for the “Schola Cantorum of Detroit” at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I have also taught choirs at the collegiate level, teaching a semester at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
 
How about your faith journey? How did you become so passionate about serving Our God? 
 
E: As a baptized and confirmed Catholic, my journey towards a life of service began when I was young. I’ve always felt a calling to serve the Church in various ways, such as lectoring at school Masses or being an altar server. However, singing in the school choir during Christmas has always been a highlight. My passion for singing and living the faith has stayed with me throughout my life.
 
What is a fun fact about yourself that nobody else knows?
 
E: I’m a fan of game shows like Jeopardy, The Chase, and Wheel of Fortune. I even appeared on one last year and had a memorable adventure meeting Jay Leno on “You Bet Your Life.”
 
In your spare time, what do you like to do for fun/relaxation?
 
E: I enjoy playing tennis, socializing with friends, traveling to new places (just went to the Grand Canyon last summer), and spending time with my dog, Lovey. Recently, I’ve also started playing Nintendo Switch, thanks to the encouragement of my younger siblings (Jonpaul and Malen). And yes, I love sharing puns!
 
What does being a music director mean to you?
 
E: Being a music director means using my passion for music and faith to create a rich, uplifting worship experience for the congregation. It involves selecting and directing music that complements the liturgy, and fostering an environment where everyone feels encouraged to share their gifts in praise of God. As a music director, I see my role as a servant leader, guiding and inspiring others to express their faith through song and contribute to the unity and vibrancy of our Family of Faith.
 
What is your favorite type of music to work with in the church? How about your favorite music to listen to on the radio?
 
E: I appreciate all types of music, having grown up in a musical household. My current playlist includes pop, jazz, Broadway, and classical. I approach church music similarly, aiming to support the liturgy and stir souls with a variety of styles and genres.
 
Can you walk us through the process of why you chose St. Malachy? What made us stand out?
 
E: A colleague introduced me to St. Malachy, and I applied out of curiosity. After my interview and audition, I was deeply moved by the Liturgy and the congregation’s participation in worship. Their powerful, beautiful singing exemplified what it means to be a Family of Faith.
 
What do you hope to gain from becoming part of our Family of Faith?
 
E: By joining the Family of Faith at St. Malachy, I hope to deepen my own spiritual growth and connection to the Church, while also enriching the faith lives of others. I look forward to building strong relationships with parishioners, learning from their experiences and wisdom, and working together to create a vibrant, welcoming community. I am excited to contribute my musical talents and passion for worship to support the liturgy and to foster a sense of unity and shared purpose in praising God.
 
What do you think you will bring to our congregation, both in-person and online?
 
E: I hope to share my love for the Lord through music, serving in various roles during Mass, and even offering some online discussions about lesser-known church music gems. I aim to bring these pieces into focus for our liturgy.
 
What is your biggest goal for this parish in your first year here?
 
E: My primary goal is to support the liturgy and encourage everyone to lift their voices to God. I invite those who love to sing or play instruments to join our choirs or Handbell Choir. I look forward to hearing the voices of our congregation every Sunday!
 
Our Parishioner of the Week looks a bit different in this edition. It’s me, Ursula Krause! I am the creator of this newsletter, and I’ve decided to give a bit more about this ‘wizard behind the curtain.’
 
I am a ‘Cradle Catholic’ and was brought up in the religion by my Catholic parents. When I was too little to understand church, my brother, Erik, and I would go to Mass at St. Malachy with my parents. (I remember eating Cheerios and coloring in the pews like most kids do!) However, when I was in first grade, we attended Catholic school. Therefore, we had to switch parishes.
 
My brother and I attended Catholic school until we graduated 8th grade, and one Christmas Eve, we decided we didn’t want to drive all the way there for Mass. St. Malachy was only a few blocks away, so we got in the car and went to Mass. It is safe to say, we did not understand the etiquette of holiday Masses at St. Malachy. We were ON TIME for Mass and got stuck in the overflow seats in the Gathering Space. 
 
Without the technology we have now at St. Malachy, it was very hard to see what was going on during Mass, but stepping through the doors into the Sanctuary was just like stepping into a new world…time literally stopped.
 
I was amazed to see the instruments of the Contemporary Choir and the bright colors and the PEOPLE! I never knew Mass could be so exciting! I don’t think I stopped smiling until we left after Mass ended. From then on, it was a silent family-consensus that St. Malachy was our new church (again.)
 
Throughout the years, St. Malachy has always been a lifeboat to me, and I have never felt so connected to a community. After 8th grade, I went to Cousino High School, and the transition from Catholic school to public school was scary. However, on my first day of Freshman year, I met a group of people that would become my best friends (to this day.) 
 
It is ironic that I found the biggest group of Catholics in that school on my first day, and even more ironic when they told me they were a part of the youth group at St. Malachy. 
 
While I didn’t think I needed more church-time (after spending eight years engulfed in it) I refused to go with them. After all, why go to church when you don’t have to?
 
One day my friends just showed up at to house and dragged me to ROCK…and I never left. My first Steubenville Conference is where I truly met Christ.
 
Getting involved at St. Malachy is addictive. You don’t even mean to do it, but it just happens and it eventually becomes the happiest part of your week. I don’t have any other words to describe the parish other than “family”, and seeing as that is a common denominator in everyone’s faith journeys, I can attest that it is one-hundred percent true.
 
I loved being involved in the youth groups and Contemporary Choir so much that I got a job here! Being the Digital Media Manager has been such a blessing, and I have learned so much about many of the people I see every weekend.
 
Receiving my bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Wayne State, and my minor in Public Relations, I am honored to use it for a community such as my family at St. Malachy. 
 
I am thankful to be involved in a church as inviting and loving as St. Malachy. Fr. Joe makes us fall in love with the Gospels, the music takes you away to your own place with Christ, the technology and media reaches people around the world, and the fellowship is like none other. 
 

 

“St. Malachy is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Dave and Lauren Corbat have been very prominent members of the St. Malachy community for many years. How did it begin?
 
Dave said he joined St. Malachy when he was in second grade, after his parents switched parishes to attend here. Dave got involved in the youth ministry and attended Steubenville. That’s where he met Lauren, and the rest was history. 
 
Lauren was a member of the youth ministry at St. Martin de Porres, and both groups did a lot together. She and Dave attended college at Grand Valley State University, and when they got married in 2016, Lauren joined the St. Malachy community. They both fell in love with ministry life at the parish, and became leaders of their own. 
 
Dave has been in the contemporary choir since 2009 as a founding member, and it led him to invest his time in the Media Ministry. Lauren became Youth Minister for the high school youth group, ROCK, in 2020. 
 
“I became a youth minister because the Youth Ministry helped me grow in my faith, and I want to help facilitate that for others and for my daughter,” said Lauren. 
 
Dave said the most rewarding part of his ministries is that he can use his gifts to serve the people of St. Malachy and to help bring them closer to God. “I do it, and it’s just whatever happens,” he said.
 
This past spring, Dave and Lauren had a very important addition to their tiny family. Their baby girl was born and has already won over the hearts of St. Malachy!
 
Having both parents in ministry at the church is a wonderful way for her to acclimate to her faith, and we are so excited to see what this community has to offer her. 
 
“Having a baby brings a new challenge to serving here, but it is rewarding because we are building these ministries up so that she can grow in her faith in these ministries in the future,” said Dave. 
 
The Corbats truly believe that St. Malachy is a great and welcoming community, and they are both proud to be bringing people and themselves closer to God. 
 
“I don’t know where I would be in my faith life if my parents didn’t end up coming to St. Malachy,” Dave said. 
 
Having gone through so much in the parish regarding his faith journey, it makes him think that their lives would have been much different.
 
“Second grade was so long ago, and I went through Religious Ed, Steubenville, and got involved at Malachy,” he said. “If we didn’t come here, would I have gone to Steubenville?” 
 
Would he have kicked off his faith journey? And in turn, would he have met Lauren?
 
“Regardless, here we are,” he said. “Thank God for that.”
 
Pat and Bob Alexander met in the early 70s, when they both were a part of the Folk Group at St. John’s Student Parish at Michigan State University. Together, they were long-term choir members at a church in Warren, but declining membership and finances diminished the music program. Knowing they couldn’t worship without singing, Pat and Bob had to find a thriving choir and a church that felt like home. 
 

 After church-hopping for a few months, they visited St. Malachy one Christmas Eve at the Midnight Mass. Immediately, they were drawn in. “We loved the warm feeling of children singing carols on the altar while Fr. Joe played the cello,” Pat said. “We were impressed with the Worship Choir, reminding us of the group we sorely missed.” 

Pat and Bob officially joined St. Malachy in 2010, and they were warmly welcomed into the Worship Choir. Feeling very blessed and honored to participate in the St. Malachy Music Ministry, the couple gradually joined the ranks of cantors.

“Much of the music is directly linked to the Scriptures, and this enhances our faith journey,” Pat said. “On a lighter note, we also feel the occasional terror when the voice becomes froggy and we have to drink some hot ginger tea, eat a Chimes cough drop, and send a quick prayer to the Holy Spirit for assistance!”

Not only do they feel their fellow choristers are extended family, but the sense of family also comes from other parishioners at St. Malachy. 

“Our security and hospitality teams make a point to smile, chat and be welcoming,” Pat said. “Our Men’s Club and Women’s Club put in many hours to host events we can all enjoy, and those who help with religious instruction and the sacraments are behind-the-scenes heroes.”

Pat and Bob feel that a big draw to those considering joining our Family of Faith is the respect and nurturing that St. Malachy shows to the children of its community.

“There are so many ways our youth are involved in church liturgies, groups, and

outside activities,” Pat said. “This helps make the church more relevant to the kids, and keeps them engaged and wanting to remain involved long after they become adults.”

Although Pat and Bob’s two daughters were adults before they arrived at St. Malachy, their three grandchildren from Toulouse, France were all baptized here by Father Joe!

“We are grateful to St. Malachy for embracing us,” Pat said. “And we, in turn, will do our best to live up to the Marty Haugen song, All Are Welcome In This Place.”

Brad Brown grew up in the St. Malachy parish for almost 27 years! His family moved into the area and became parishioners at the church before he was born, where they became permanent residents of the St. Malachy Family!
 
One of the first things Brad became involved in at the parish was the Vacation Bible Camp program. He was still in elementary school, but eventually helped work the program when he was older with his closest friends.
 
Not only did Brad grow up in St. Malachy’s Faith Formation crowd, but he also became part of the church’s middle- and high-school youth groups: FROG and ROCK. 
 
He explained that being a part of the Youth Ministry introduced him to some of the best people he ever met! “Every meeting was a blast, there was always something new and exciting to do, and it was great to learn about my faith with other people my age, some of whom I am still best friends with today!” he said.
 
When Brad went into college, he realized he needed to find work. He quickly knew what he had to do…join the St. Malachy Staff. “Already having an established connection with a lot of parishioners and Father Joe made it easy to fit right in,” he said.
 
Brad’s favorite part of being on staff at the parish is the people he works with. “We work great together, work through problems to the best of our abilities, share many laughs at lunch, and always have each others’ backs!” he said. 
 
St. Malachy has always felt like a family to him, and he recognizes that the parishioners, volunteers, and staff love what they do, and that they love being around each other.
 
“Being here my entire life, it was easy to make friends, get involved with the various events, like our SummerFest, and be excited to practice my faith,” said Brad. 
 
Growing up in the St. Malachy Family has helped in his faith journey immensely. He said he owes a majority of it to being part of the youth groups, as they made it easy to learn about the faith. 
 
“Going on the annual Steubenville trip with the ROCK Youth Group opened my eyes to what our faith really means,” he said. “It’s a powerful experience, and something I will cherish forever.”
 
Christina Wouters joined the StMalachy Family and became a parishioner of the church 12 years ago after occasionally joining her grandparents and parents for Mass here. Christina explained that she loved how relatable Fr. Joe’s homilies were, the music, and the involvement opportunities. 
 
“Our children were beginning school and we wanted to get them enrolled in a good catechism program,” she said. “We loved our prior parish and priest, but for all those reasons we felt the switch to StMalachy was the right move for us.”

Christina is currently a minister in Hospitality at StMalachy. Her goal for the ministry is to ensure every person entering our church knows that he or she belongs. 
 
“I hope the ministry has helped to create a truly welcoming environment for everyone,” she said. “Nobody should leave church feeling negative; our role in Hospitality is to support God, the priest, and the Music Ministry in refreshing and motivating churchgoers so that they leave church feeling better equipped to carry out God’s Will.”
 
She became involved because the ministry was looking for volunteers, and she felt compelled to teach her children the importance of volunteering their time for others.
 
“Frankly, I did not have much ‘free time,’ and it started as a low-commitment role that would get my family to Mass regularly,” Christina explained. “The bonus was that my kids enjoyed helping and ‘sneaking out’ of Mass right after Communion to set things up.”
 
About a year later, staffing changes took place and Christina was offered the leadership role. She has been there ever since!

Having met so many wonderful people and having had an opportunity to remain involved in the parish during the very busy child-rearing years, Christina is thankful for the safety of StMalachy.
 
“Oftentimes, in our busy lives, the family dynamic felt stressed,” she said. “But attending, participating in, and contributing to the Mass was like a weekly reset, a reminder to focus on what really matters and to be more kind and forgiving.”

Christina’s husband, Brian, and the rest of her family have pitched in for various volunteering needs over the years, such as ushering, loading donated clothes into the trailer, sorting Thanksgiving food donations, getting stuck vehicles out of the mud and grass on Christmas Eve, volunteering at the summer festival, and so much more!
 
Their son, Devin, began altar serving around 10 years old, and had just graduated high school in May! Their daughter, Avery, was in the Genesis Choir, altar served and participated in FROG activities.

Though we all have literal family, neighbors, and friends who are parishioners, through volunteering, Christina said she has met so many wonderful people within StMalachy… people she feels are an extension of her family. 
 
“Sunday morning is like a weekly check-in with friends; we chat a bit before Mass, celebrate the Mass together and then have a cup of coffee and chat a little more afterward,” she said. “Our kids were able to celebrate their sacraments with some of their best friends, and we have run into so many friends from school and athletics, work colleagues, and so many others over the years.”
 
She explained that if they walk into church for Mass, they will definitely have friends inside somewhere. By standing at the doors greeting others, she gets the opportunity to catch them all as they enter and exit. “Now when we’re out in the community we enjoy seeing church friends around town,” she added.

Christina believes that faith is definitely a journey…one that should never end!
 
“If I’m being honest, as much as we love StMalachy, we don’t always want to go to church as we have many other things in our lives competing for our time and attention,” she admitted. “But, through our attendance and involvement, we’ve come to understand that while all those other things are fun and good, they are also an opportunity for the enemy to drive a wedge between us and God; to distract us from the benefits of being in a relationship with God.” 
 
One of her favorite parts of being Catholic is receiving Eucharist. She knows this creates a positive experience at church, serving as a great weekly opportunity to refocus, and leads us to seek God in other areas of our lives. “Hopefully,” she added, “eventually leading us to seek God first in every area of our lives.”
 

“When your job is to greet people with a smile and kind words, it’s nearly impossible to be grumpy or angry. So I believe the Ministry has been integral in teaching me to be more patient, kind and forgiving.”

 

Pam and Joe Schuirmann joined the StMalachy Family when their eldest son, Kyle, started the Faith Formation Program in first grade! The couple enjoyed how the program was beneficial to both the children and the parents, and they felt it gave them more time with their kids!
 
While looking for a church, Pam and Joe explained that StMalachy offered many different opportunities to be involved as a family, something very important to them! As their kids got older, they became more involved in the youth groups, music ministry, and altar serving. Pam and Joe also got more involved. 
 
“I first started volunteering when our youngest daughters were three-years-old at Vacation Bible Camp,” Pam said. “I was able to bring all six of our kids to Set-Up Week, where they could help me decorate our site, and then the following week they were able to participate.” 
 
Once their youngest children, Abby and Chloe, started Religious Education in first grade, Pam started teaching Third-Grade Catechism and hasn’t stopped volunteering since! She has also taught Children’s Liturgy during the 11:30 am Masses!
 
Joe had a similar story. “I first became involved with coaching baseball at StMalachy,” he said. “Then I was asked to be a lector, and at the Summerfest, Charlie Piscopink asked us to run the Kids’ Game Tent ‘because we have so many kids.’”
 
After that, Joe joined the Men’s Club. “We believed that it was important to give back and set a good example for our kids,” he added.
 
Pam and Joe ran the Kids’ Game Tent for many years at the Summerfest. “Once Charlie decided to step down as one of the chairpersons, I thought it might be fun to step up and be the first female chairperson,” said Pam. “So, I talked it over with Fr. Joe and he thought it was a great idea!”
 
Joe remained at the Kids’ Game Tent for two more years, then stepped up to chair the festival with Pam. “I like to tell him I have more seniority running the festival than he does, and he has to answer to me,” she joked. “He humors me and lets me be in charge.”
 
Since they started volunteering, Joe has always been a part of setting-up and tearing-down the Summerfest, so he already knew what to do when Pam stepped up to the plate. She said she was very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers who were always willing to help and answer her questions.
 
The Dynamic Duo believe the best parts of their positions as Festival Chairpeople are the other committees. “They are pros at running their areas, which makes our jobs much easier,” Pam said. “Also, we all get along so well, and everyone is willing to help each other out when needed.”
 
However, the most difficult part of this position for them, is the time spent planning the Summerfest. They began planning the process in early February, meeting once a month with the other committee chairpeople to make sure everyone had what they needed, such as licenses, tents, vendors, and more to ensure a great festival. Their biggest accomplishments thus far have been getting everything ready to go! 
 
Pam’s and Joe’s biggest goal this year is to have a fun, safe and successful festival that involves the parishioners and the community. Though they might not get to relax much over the weekend, they sure do have a lot to look forward to! 
 
Pam is most excited about the homemade pierogi! “I also love that Carol, who runs the Polish Booth, has started selling veggie burgers and veggie brats,” she said. “Being a vegetarian, eating cheese pizza all weekend gets a little boring.” She also loves seeing how excited the kids are running around with their prizes from the Game Tent!
 
Joe looks forward to the fun and camaraderie with all of their friends and fellow volunteers!
 
The Schuirmanns hope the 2023 Summerfest invites others to get involved in the parish, and they ensure that many friends are made in the process. “They are with you for the good and bad times,” Pam said. “We love our StMalachy Family!”
 

 

“A huge shout out to Fr. Joe for having confidence in me when I told him I wanted to step up and run the festival!”

~Pam Schuirmann

“A big shout out to all of our volunteers! YOU are the reason our festival is so successful!”

~Joe Schuirmann

Do you ever find yourself visiting something that you had no expectations for, but left feeling transformed? Sue Wojcik can relate! 
 
Sue became a parishioner at StMalachy after attending one of the Evangelization Ministry’s weekend programs: Light of the World. She attended all three days of the workshop, loved it, and decided to officially devote her time at StMalachy
 
“I didn’t know anyone here,” she said. “I guess you could say I took a ‘leap of Faith!’”
 
It was after that meaningful and prayerful weekend of meeting so many wonderful people that she knew becoming a parishioner at StMalachy was the right choice. 
 
As many before her, Sue gradually became involved in MANY groups in the parish. For not knowing anyone coming in, she has made a great amount of friends and family here in our parish!
 
Sue joined the StMalachy Women’s Club, and was even Social Chairperson for a year! She is also a very active member of the Prayer Ministry that meets in the Gathering Space each month.
 
During the annual Summerfest, Sue works in the Vegas Hall selling chips and helping out whenever, and wherever, it is needed. 
 
Vacation Bible Camp is an event we hold every summer at StMalachy, bringing the youth in our community together to learn about Jesus and parts of the Bible. We always need many volunteers, and Sue is always willing to help out there as well. 
 
Like all events, a lot of planning is needed. The kitchen in the Currier Center is always full of people preparing delicious food for whatever might be happening. Sue has helped behind the counter many times for these events! 
 
Like most of us, Sue came to StMalachy with curiosity ablaze, and found a place where she truly belongs…in our Family of Faith.
 
Karen Colley has been a parishioner of StMalachy for 32 years! When she was 15 years old, her parents were looking for a new Catholic Church. “I remember we attended one Mass, and my family and I felt instantly welcomed,” she said. “The music and choir, even back then, was so uplifting and beautiful, and everyone was so welcoming.”
 
Karen and her family didn’t know anybody yet, but they quickly felt that they were part of a big family! 
 
She and her husband, Scott, were married at StMalachy after she sponsored him through StMalachy’s RCIA program. All three of their children currently attend Catechism and make their sacraments at StMalachy! “I enjoy attending all the events that StMalachy offers,” she added. “Fr. Joe is wonderful, along with all the members of the church and everyone that works very hard to keep it a great place to worship!”
 
As the Colley family attended StMalachy more regularly, Karen started to get involved. For about ten years, she played her clarinet with the Music Ministry on different Holy Days and holidays, including Lent, Easter, and Christmas! “It was so fun to meet new people,” she said. “This truly brought me closer to God and prayer.” 
 
She began helping out with the Summerfest at different food booths and the Kids’ Game Tent. When McRest visited the church for a week, she volunteered to ensure the community had the best experience possible!
 
Currently, Karen is a member of the Hospitality Ministry and educates for Children’s Liturgy during our 11:30 am Masses! “I love volunteering,” she said. “It’s a great way to serve the Lord and help others, and I always get to meet so many members of our church!”
 
Karen’s biggest advice for anyone wondering if they should become involved in a ministry at StMalachy is to pray about it and to ask God what He wants them to do! “Think of the talents that God has given you,” she added. “Try out a ministry and see if it is a good match for you.”
 
She also urges anyone in this position to talk with the ministry leaders to learn more about what they do, and to understand that all of the other members will help guide them! “Volunteering is such a fulfilling way to live your life with purpose,” she encouraged. “It feels great to help serve our Lord and to help others!”
 
Becoming so involved in the parish community, Karen has gained the confidence in herself to try something new, meet new people, make friends, and increase her Faith by spending more time at church than just strictly attending Mass! 
 
Karen has received so many blessings while being involved in her Faith that she would love to share with our parish community one of her biggest miracles! 
 
“I was very sick in the hospital for 17 days during my last pregnancy with my daughter, Ava. She was born three months early, and was in the NICU for 40 days due to me having severe preeclampsia. I remember praying the Rosary nonstop, and I could see Jesus and Mother Mary at my side…that felt so comforting. There were so many people that helped us during that very difficult time. From that point on, I do everything I can in my Faith to give all of my service for Mary and Jesus, and I give all the honor and praise to God. I’m so thankful for Ava and me to be alive everyday. Ava is ten-years-old now and is one amazing miracle girl!”
 

 

“Faith can start out as little as a mustard seed. That’s all you need to grow closer to God. God loves you, and He wants you to be joyful in all your days. Prayer is powerful…always say a prayer.”

As a couple, Kevin and Lucia Smolarek have been attending St. Malachy for almost eight years. They both spent a lot of time growing up at the parish, and it was important for them to build a good foundation and to continue practicing their Faith together in a supportive community.
 
Lucia’s family moved back to Michigan when she was just two years old, and they soon became parishioners at St. Malachy. From such a young age, her first memories of the parish were of Catechism classes, Vacation Bible Camp, and Children’s Liturgy during Mass. “When I was in fourth grade, I was able to start altar serving alongside my older brother, Vinny, and later my younger brother, Marco,” Lucia said. “Both Kevin and I also have great memories of the St. Malachy Baseball program.” Her dad, Ron, coached the softball team, where she would play with her cousin!

Kevin grew up in Warren and attended St. Malachy at a young age as well! “Actually, Kevin and I, without knowing, both made our First Communion by Fr. Joe on the same day (different times) at St. Malachy 22 years ago!” Lucia said. “It’s been fun looking back at photos from that day to see us in pictures!”
 
Being an altar server for eight years, Lucia enjoyed being involved in the Mass and learning about the different parts of the ceremony. “As a young person, it helped me stay engaged in Mass while learning responsibility and independence along the way,” she said. “I found comfort in the ritual and learned more about my Faith and found myself wanting to continue to learn more.”
 
Lucia’s mom, Marlene, is the sacristan at St. Malachy, so after Masses, Lucia would help change candles, collect linens, add holy water to the fonts, and help keep the altar clean. 
 
More recently, Kevin and Lucia helped her parents at the Main Raffle Booth at the Summerfest! Lucia added that they always have a great time and that being involved has allowed them to get to know other parishioners better and to build a stronger sense of community!
 
The Smolareks agree that St. Malachy feels like family because of the people. Seeing familiar and friendly faces when they go to Mass or to a parish event makes them feel welcomed, and it gives them a sense of belonging. 
 
“Fr. Joe has been a huge reason we keep coming back to St. Malachy,” Lucia explained. “His life experiences are relatable and his travels around the world are so insightful into the life Jesus lived.” She added that the parish is able to learn how to be more like Jesus every time they come to Mass.
 
Recently, the Smolareks welcomed a beautiful new life. Their baby boy, Luca, was born into the St. Malachy Family, and Lucia and Kevin hope he will gain the same sense of community they had growing up in the parish. “I really think it is what makes me who I am today, and I hope he feels the love of St. Malachy’s parish as well,” Lucia added.
 
Lucia and Kevin agree that it has become more apparent how connected they are, especially since they had Luca. “So many parishioners have come up to us to congratulate us on his birth,” she said. “It’s an incredible and warm feeling to be in such a loving parish.” 
 
One of Lucia and Kevin’s favorite memories is being married by Fr. Joe in November of 2021 at The Inn at St. John’s. “He prepared the most beautiful and personal homily for us, played the cello, and brought us up on the altar to prepare the gifts with him” Lucia reminisced. “It was special being on the altar with Fr. Joe in front of all our family and friends…and then I realized he had me altar-serve at my own wedding!” 
 
This funny and special moment is something the couple will cherish forever. 
 
When Collin Schy’s parents moved to the area before he was born, they attended St. Malachy because it was the closest church to them.
 
However, as time went on, and he grew up in the parish, they all fell in love with Fr. Joe, the community, and how engaged the youth was! 
 
In elementary school, Collin wanted to be an altar server more than anything! That longing sparked an interest in becoming more involved. He then joined the middle school youth group, FROG, and later moved up to the high school youth group, ROCK. After that, he started volunteering in the Media Ministry.
 
The Youth Ministry is what really shaped Collin, both in his Faith and who he is as a person. “I have developed an everlasting group of my core friends here because of St. Malachy,” he said. “We have all played such a vital role in each others’ lives that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
 
Some of Collin’s core memories come from ROCK! “All the lock-ins and lock-outs, the fall retreats we went on every year, and most importantly Steubenville!” he said. “The late nights, the daily walks around that campus, the holy hours, and most memorable, the not-so-good food.”
 
After graduating high school, Collin attended Michigan State University, and going away to college took him away from attending Mass as frequently. However, every time he visited home, he was welcomed back as if he had never left! “Being away made me appreciate and remember how important St. Malachy is to me,” he added.
 
Collin truly feels St. Malachy is a family because the core of the parish holds a sense of belonging and care for each parishioner. “So many of my friends are at this church, and I have St. Malachy to thank for bringing us all together,” he said.
 
Collin explained that St. Malachy has given him an accepting and understanding group of people to really discuss his Faith with. “Like every journey, it is not always clear and smooth,” he said. “When those rocky paths come along, I can talk to the people at this parish and have a genuine conversation about these rough topics in my journey…This is crucial in developing a healthy relationship with your Faith!”
 

CONGRATULATIONS to newlyweds, Zach and Autumn Murphy! While you’ve probably seen them around the church, we wanted to get a little inside on how they feel being married in the parish they both grew up in! 
 
Zach Murphy has been a parishioner at St. Malachy since 2008 after his parents moved to the area. His grandparents were members, so naturally Zach and his family joined as well. Autumn (Billingsley) Murphy joined in 2013, and quickly became involved in the parish!
 
Autumn was a member of the middle school youth group, FROG, and afterwards joined the high-school youth group, ROCK. She was a member of the Music Ministry Bell Choir a few years back, and once she graduated high school, she helped out as a FROG leader.
 
Similarly, Zach was a member of FROG, ROCK, and started off his career in the Media Ministry volunteering as Slide Operator in 2013. Once he became employed at St. Malachy in 2016, he ran the Media Ministry, which is where he received his title of Tech Director today. Last year, Zach also became Worship Director of St. Malachy! 
 
Zach was also a member of the Music Ministry in 2013, where he sang in the Contemporary Choir. Recently, he joined the Knights of Columbus, John F. Kennedy Council 5460.
 
The Murphy’s believe that St. Malachy is truly a welcoming and great community full of fun people. “It’s a great Family of Faith,” Zach added. 
 
Zach and Autumn agreed that the best thing about being married at St. Malachy is the fact that Fr. Joe performed the ceremony. It was special to both of them because they grew up with him included in their Faith journey.
 
“We love this parish, we have grown up here and we call it our home,” said Zach. “We are happy to be a part of it and continue to deepen our Faith journey together.”
 
Marci Hurst likes to think of herself as a “founding member” of St. Malachy! Her parents attended the parish before the first church building was built. Masses were held in an elementary school! She was born the same month as the new church was dedicated, but was baptized at her mother’s childhood church – St. Gertrude – in St. Clair Shores. 
 
Marci and her husband attempted to switch churches when they lived in St. Clair Shores before their daughter, Rebecca, was born, but failed to find another parish that felt like St. Malachy. Therefore, they stayed proud members of our parish and have never looked back! “We have brought friends and family into the parish also,” she said. “We are proud members!”
 
Marci made the rest of her Sacraments at St. Malachy (First Communion, Confirmation, and marriage!) Both of her kids were baptized, made their First Communions, and were confirmed at St. Malachy as well! 
 
When her kids, Rebecca and Brady, were young, they joined the Genesis Choir. That led Marci to meet the Music Director and join the Worship Choir in 2001! She began Cantoring in 2006, and feels she has come a long way. “I had no formal knowledge of music at all,” she explained. “I was a professional shower singer!”
 
Joining the choir and singing on Sundays has taught Marci a lot about herself. “I love people, and singing with them is absolutely the best form of therapy!” she exclaimed. “The bigger bonus is that I am singing for God and singing with like-minded people!” She believes that every choir-season is a joy, and that the commitment is easy. Everyone comes to church, so why not be involved in something that brings absolute joy to myself and others?!”  
 
Marci’s favorite part about getting so involved in this ministry is the community-aspect of it. 
 
While she sees all of St. Malachy as a community, she also sees it as a family who truly cares about each other. “Our new director, Eric, says ‘pray the music’ – I feel like I am really doing that when I sing at church,” she said.  “I would love to see more people join the choir – the rewards are truly endless!”
 
You might have seen Marci around the annual Summerfest, as she began working the Vegas Tent in 2008, and now has been running the Vegas Hall since 2019! She is also lucky to own a graphics business that allows her to get involved in other aspects of the festival – from printing tickets and creating the festival flyers, to making signs and banners. “Festival season is busy for me!” she added.
 
Marci is also a proud member of the Finance Council at St. Malachy, learning a lot from others on the team. “Being aware of how the money in our parish is spent and seeing the good is quite amazing,” she said. “I like to think that as a business owner, I bring a different perspective to the table.”
 
She rests assured that the community of St. Malachy always has her back, and that realization has gotten her through both the rough and the wonderful times in her life.
 
“From praying for the health of my husband, my kids, and my own health problems, to being grateful for everything I have in life and now watching my parents and others battle aging and health problems, knowing that I have St. Malachy and my ’Faith Family’ in my pocket is a reassuring feeling,” she said. 
 
Marci considers herself very blessed to be part of the St. Malachy Family, and is grateful for all it has to offer. 
 
“We are blessed with a wonderful sanctuary (our actual church building and the grounds), blessed with a knowledgeable, loving, caring priest and leader (Father Joe), and blessed with such a wonderful community – people we truly love and care about!” she said. “They are our friends, family and our future.”
 
 

“Your Faith can bring you through anything! I have seen it and lived it and will feel blessed to continue living it.”

Diane Carrier has been an active part of St. Malachy since she was three years old, when Mass was held inside Frost Elementary School. She and her parents attended Mass weekly, and she got to know the many amazing priests throughout the years. Fr Ghelfi, was very special to Diane. “I actually got engaged the day he passed away,” she said. “I like to think he was watching over me on that special day.”
 
Diane was a member of the St. Malachy Women’s Club years ago, when her boys were younger, and she attended several women’s retreats with her mom and sisters. She also helped her parents run the Doll Booth at the annual Summerfest for many years.
 
Diane describes St. Malachy as warm and welcoming. “It doesn’t matter how long you are away, when you walk in the doors you are welcomed with open arms and lots of hugs,” she said. “The fact that Fr. Joe stands outside to welcome us in is like having your dad stand at the door, glad to see you coming home.”
 
Because she grew up in the parish, Diane made many friends of all ages. Some of those friends are no longer with us, but those that are feel like second family members to her. “I never go to an event without getting at least one hug from one of the members,” she added. “I find myself looking for certain people when I attend Mass.”
 
With the support of her Family of Faith, Diane knows that regardless of what life throws her way, she can handle it. “I’ve watched many members rally around my parents through the years, and I know that if I need that extra support or strength, I just have to walk through the doors to receive it,” she explained. “I know that if I need someone to talk to, Fr Joe’s
door will always be open.”
 
Because the parish has always been so welcoming, Diane feels it kept the parishioners coming back, enabling the community to gain lifelong friendships. “It made me want to raise our sons in the church, so that they would know those values and experience the same friendships,” she added. “I have belonged to other parishes throughout the years, and although they all have some amazing parishioners, I just never had the feeling of being a part of the family, like I do at St. Malachy.”
 
Diane has experienced many life events within St. Malachy – some happy, and some extremely sad. However, whenever she walks through the doors, she has no better feeling. “I only hope the upcoming parishioners can experience half the joy I have throughout the years,” she said. “It’s like getting the best gift – peace and contentment!”
 
 

“It’s hard to put into words just how much the church has impacted my life.”

When Karen Cole and her husband, Chris, were newly married, they bought their first home together in Sterling Heights. They were both raised Catholic, and wanted to find a church to continue their Faith journeys. St. Malachy was a perfect place to start! They joined the parish in 2000.
 
Karen and Chris have three sons, Noah, Evan, and Adam. All three of the boys have grown up attending the 9:30 Masses, and have been involved in the Faith Formation classes for their entire lives!
 
“I LOVE the Family Faith Formation program. It wasn’t always easy to attend meetings with the other parents, because of busy schedules, but it was always fulfilling,” she added. “Not only did I learn how to support my children’s Faith journey, Chris and I got to continue to be learners in our own faith!”
 
The boys have also made lifelong memories in Vacation Bible Camp, where they have each been students, campers, and volunteers at different points. Evan and Adam help out with altar serving, and Chris helps in the Vegas tent every year at the Summerfest!
 
Karen and her family look forward to seeing all of the familiar faces that have become like family to them at St. Malachy. “We sit in the same section of the church each week and have gotten to know the members we sit around very well,” Karen said. “My kids have ‘extended family’ because of the relationships that we have formed over the years.”
 
Karen explained that St. Malachy has been present for their family through all of the ups and downs of the past 23 years.
 
The church and its community have been there to celebrate the best of times, including Baptisms, choir concerts, sports, First Communions, Confirmations, and so much more.
 
Father Joe and the parishioners have also held the Cole family up during some of their most difficult days.
 
“Our youngest son had a brain tumor at three weeks old, brain cancer at seven and leukemia at 10,” said Karen. “We have had moments where our Faith has been tested, but we continued on with the support of the St. Malachy community.”
 
When the family couldn’t come to church, Fr. Joe came to them. When they needed prayers, they could count on the families of St. Malachy. 
 
Karen admitted that their lives would be drastically different if they hadn’t found St. Malachy. Ten years ago, we moved from our first home on Groth, and we had to decide where our next home would be,” she said. “Would we stay in the area or move to another community? A driving force in our decision was St. Malachy.” Not wanting to leave their church, they decided to stay in the area!
 
The Cole family is grateful to be part of an amazing community like St. Malachy. And just like them, we are grateful too!
 
 

“Our church is an extension of our home. It is the ‘calm’ to start each new week.”

Heather and Pat Small met in Massachusetts, where Pat grew up and Heather lived for a short period of time. However, to be closer to family, they moved to Michigan in 2005, where they attended Heather’s mother’s church: St. Athanasius in Roseville.
 
Wanting to be closer to their home in Sterling Heights, Heather and Pat found St. Malachy in 2007. “Pat and I felt instantly welcome with the church’s energy and Father Joe’s enthusiasm during Mass since day one,” Heather said. “We moved to Macomb in 2018 and looked for a parish closer to our new home, but could not find a church that had the ‘same feel’ as St. Malachy.”
 
After attending Masses at multiple churches, and even having their children, Olivia (16) and Joe (13), enrolled in catechism at a local church, the Smalls could not find one where they felt connected. During the COVID-19 pandemic, their family attended a St. Malachy Mass online, and decided to come back home (in-person) to our parish!
 
Olivia and Joe are currently enrolled in Faith Formation and will be receiving their Confirmations in 2024! “To the credit of the Faith Formation classes, kids are encouraged to be part of the church and even local community by having to obtain volunteer hours,” explained Heather. “Olivia and Joe have both recently decided, on their own, that they want to serve the church by volunteering to be altar servers along with, and working with, the children at church-sponsored parties.” You can see Olivia and Joe altar serving on Sundays at the 11:30 Mass!
 
One of Heather’s highlights of attending Mass is walking through the front doors on Sunday mornings, where she and her family are greeted with Fr. Joe in his rocking chair while the ushers hold doors open for them with smiles and heart-warming “hellos.” 
 
“No matter how stressful Sunday mornings may be getting everyone up, eating breakfast, getting dressed and in the car for our 30-minute drive, we let our shoulders drop and instantly feel at peace when walking into the church’s Gathering Space,” Heather said.
 
Heather, Pat, Joe and Olivia feel that St. Malachy is truly a community. With so many ways for parishioners to be involved, they can do as much as their family time allows! “Seeing familiar faces every week and learning more about people in the parish, either through the weekly bulletin or conversations before or after Mass, we feel like we are part of a large family,” Heather added.
 
The Small family’s Faith journey has been tested at multiple intersections. In 2016, Olivia was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, flipping their world upside down. “As a family, we all needed to learn about Type 1 Diabetes and support her as her life was about to change forever,” explained Heather. “To Olivia’s credit, she never complained and has become a more responsible young lady because of it.”
 
Also in 2016, shortly after Olivia’s diagnosis, Heather was given the terrifying news that she had breast cancer. “As a parent, you always want to be strong for your family, especially your kids, and that was difficult as I went through chemo and radiation,” she said. “To my family’s credit, they were super-supportive, and that support allowed me to strengthen my Faith in God.” 
 
Heather frequently prayed for herself and for her family while she was sick. “You hear that God works in mysterious ways, and I can attest that having cancer and testing our family’s Faith along the way only made us stronger, and our Faith has become more present in our lives,” she said. “By the way, I have been cancer-free since June 2017!”
 
Pat and Joe also have medical conditions with a rare genetic disorder called Tuberous Sclerosis (TS). “TS causes benign tumors to develop in different parts of the body, mainly the brain, potentially causing seizures,” explained Heather. She said that Pat struggled with seizures when he was younger and has lived his entire life with the disorder. “He has not had a seizure in more than 25 years and he lives a normal life with daily medication,” she said. Joe also takes daily medication to prevent seizures and continuously monitors the disorder.
 
Regardless of the hills and valleys the Small family has faced, St. Malachy has helped them strengthen their Faith. “Having young children makes life a little crazy,” said Heather. “That craziness can suck up all the time in your day, and can open the doors for excuses, especially when it comes to attending weekly Mass.” Because of their family’s devotion to St. Malachy, and with Olivia and Joe’s recent commitment to altar serving, getting up and making the drive on Sunday mornings has become easier.
 
“Pat and I would like to take credit that Olivia and Joe are becoming more involved in their Faith journey, but the reality is that St. Malachy is the big reason,” Heather said. “They saw for themselves what other churches looked like on the inside, sat through Masses, and even attended catechism at other churches, but nothing has that ‘family feel’ of St. Malachy.”
 

 

“The St. Malachy community, from Fr. Joe to all of the parishioners, draws you in.”

Julie Doral and her family have been a part of the St. Malachy community for 16 years! She and her husband, Phil, wanted their oldest son, Tyler, to make his First Communion with his friends, and St. Malachy was their church! 
 
Julie wasn’t Catholic when she joined St. Malachy, but that all changed when she started working at the church. Julie and Phil got married in 2000 at St. Clement in Romeo, and they raised their three boys, Tyler, Trevor, and Nathan in the Catholic Faith. 
 
“It wasn’t until my boys were teenagers that I decided to become a full member of the Catholic Church in February of 2021,” she said.
 
Her children attended Catechism and Vacation Bible Camp as they grew, and Julie learned more about the Faith by attending the Family Faith Sharing programs. She welcomed Catholicism into her life by receiving the sacraments of Baptism, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. “It was so special to have Father Joe, my family, and my work family be a part of it,” she explained.
 
Julie eventually started working in the Faith Formation department as Office Assistant in 2017 with Diana Tomsha, who was the Director of Religious Education at the time. “In September of 2022, I stepped in as Interim Director of Religious Education, and with the support of Fr. Joe, I accepted a position as Director of Religious Education in March of 2023.”
 
She has been taking online classes through Catechetical Institute Franciscan University of Steubenville to work toward her DRE certification!
 
Julie said the favorite part of her job is working with the families in the Faith Formation program to help them on their Faith journeys. “It’s great to see the kids that go through Catechism and make their sacraments come back to then volunteer in the program,” she added. 
 
Being part of the Faith Formation program is such a resourceful way for younger generations to grow in their Faith, and Julie hopes its members will feel a sense of family whenever they gather. “We try our best to meet people where they are at and to listen to them to see how we can work with them and bring them closer to God,” she said. 
 
As a parent, Julie’s favorite memory of raising her family at St. Malachy is Vacation Bible Camp. “I loved bringing my boys when they were little and watching the closing program that they put on for the parents and grandparents, and seeing how much my children learned about God,” she explained. “Now that I run it, it’s important to me to make those memories for the campers, parents, and volunteers at St. Malachy.”
 
Though it takes a lot of hard work and preparation, each year she looks forward to seeing the volunteers pour their heart into their work, bringing the Word of Christ to the little ones.
 

 

“Everyone from the staff, to the catechists, to the many different ministries we have here at St. Malachy, has been a huge part of my Faith journey!”

Julie and Joe Garrisi attended a local church where they got married and their two kids, Joseph and Elise, were baptized. When they began feeling disconnected from their parish, they went on to find a better fit for their family.
 
They found themselves at St. Malachy, where they instantly felt a sense of community and hospitality. “We love Father Joe’s homilies, and as a family with young kids, we love the contemporary music and Band,” Julie added. “We already had a love for contemporary Christian music walking in!”
 
The Garrisi family is very involved in the St. Malachy community, making it even more special to be part of the parish! Julie helps teach Children’s Liturgy, and she is a Eucharistic Minister at the 11:30 am Masses. Joseph and Elise both attend Catechism through the Faith Formation program, and Joseph joined the Genesis Choir this year!
 
“St. Malachy provides a variety of fantastic ministries for all ages to get involved with; there is something for everyone,” Julie said. “Each ministry I have joined has given me a sense of purpose, importance and a deeper love for my Faith.”
 
Julie has witnessed a closer connection to Christ and His calling to follow Him and to spread His good news. She loves that her kids are growing up with Jesus and their Faith family, giving them a firm foundation in this crazy world.
 
“I also love giving Jesus to others by our involvement, whether it’s through teaching our children, giving the Eucharist, or watching my Joseph bring joy to others through his incredible voice,” she added. “Our church inspires me to be better, to do better, to be more like Jesus, and to do more of what He would do.”
 
Julie describes the church as a vessel of God’s community and family. “Our parishioners are the best of the best,” she explained. “As I get to know more of them, I’m amazed at the longevity of our parishioners and how far they still come, even if they’ve moved away, to be a part of our family.” 
 
The Garrisi family sees St. Malachy as a safe and special place where they can talk and rest with Jesus together without distraction. “Recently, my husband, Joe, was able to make a change with his work schedule, which allows for him to be with us at Sunday Masses,” Julie added. “This has been a positive shift for us as a family!”
 
St. Malachy provides a wonderful place to worship and to celebrate the Eucharist, but it also offers room for many great memories.”Our hearts were so happy watching our Joseph sing his heart out at the Christmas concert,” Julie said. “Also, personally, my first Sunday Eucharistic ministering was a very emotional moment…pure joy for me.” She said she will never forget that feeling, and she always looks forward to the next time she can give Jesus to our parishioners.
 

 

“Open your heart to Jesus, go to Him in times of joy and sorrow. He never fails us. Get involved where and when you can, even if it’s in the smallest way.”

Diana Tomsha, director of the Special Needs Adults Program at St. Malachy, took over the ministry originally started by Jo Marjan. Jo had started a Faith Formation program for special needs children, and she eventually became moderator of the program for adults. 
 
The Special Needs Adults Program consists of people 18 years of age and older who have special needs. The group meets once a month for Faith Formation,
socializing, and service. “The goal of the group is to have a good time and to be a support group for each other,” added Diana. 
 
Diana said the most rewarding aspects of being part of this ministry is the opportunity to become friends with the members of the group, to watch them grow in their faith, and to become a Family of Faith together
 
“We support each other like a Faith Family should, and they become a living example for others,” Diana said. The group participates in service activities, such as making greeting cards for residents at Arbor Inn Nursing Home, helping prepare for the St. Malachy Halloween Party, filling goodie bags for the children on Easter Sunday, and so much more!
 
Brian Lada is a proud member of this ministry. He was born into the St. Malachy Parish 49 years ago, and is extremely involved in the church community. Brian enjoys ushering and altar serving at weekend Masses, and he is a member of the St. Malachy Men’s Club! He also does a lot of work at the annual St. Malachy Summerfest. 
 
Brian describes St. Malachy as being a loving family, with everyone very welcoming and friendly. “Being around other members of the parish is encouraging and a good example for a faith-filled life,” he added. 
 
Brian always has a smile on his face, and is an extremely hard worker. If you see him at church, be sure to say “hello!”
 
Anyone interested in becoming involved should contact the Christian Formation Office at (586)264-1220 x1200!
 
Andy Marjan has been a part of St. Malachy his entire life! He was baptized here, and he helps out in various ways around the parish!
 
Andy is a member of the Special Needs Adult Program at the church, a ministry his mother, Jo Marjan, had started when she worked in the Christian Formation Office. The group meets once a month for fellowship, support, and service projects to help others! 
 
One of Andy’s favorite activities to partake in through the Special Needs Adults Program is packing candy bags for the annual Halloween parties and putting together the Easter bags for the parish children. “When my mother was in charge of Vacation Bible Camp, I would help her shop for supplies,” he added. 
 
One exceptional aspect of being part of such a great group is that its members understand Andy and help him through tough times. “When my parents and brother passed away, they supported me,” he explained.    
 
Andy looks forward to his meetings with St. Malachy’s special needs group, and some of his favorite core memories of being involved include their trips to the cider mill and baseball games at Jimmy John’s Field. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the group would meet at a local park to keep in touch!
 
We are fortunate to have such an exceptional group of adults who share in the passion of supporting one another and helping those around them! 
 

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