Greetings! Fr. J.J. asked that I share a little about myself as I begin my ministry here at the Cathedral. My name is Deacon Michael Van Dyke; just call me Deacon Mike. Having just been ordained here at the Cathedral earlier this month, I am still getting used to seeing “Deacon” associated with my name! My wife, Juanita, and I have been married 34 years. We have been members of St. Fabian Parish in Farmington Hills for 7 years, joining St. Fabian following the closing of St. Colman where we were parishioners for 12 years.
I work with a technology company headquartered in Ontario; my account is Fiat Chrysler in Auburn Hills, where I am most days. Juanita works at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Registrar’s office.
Juanita and I do not have any children. We are blessed to have two godsons and one goddaughter in Atlanta. We also have a Chocolate Lab named Deacon. Juanita and I were raising Deacon to be a service dog for Paws with A Cause and I suggested his name based on my early delving into the service ministry of the diaconate. I might be mistaken, but I suspect our dog Deacon is the deacon Fr. J.J. really wanted here at the Cathedral!
I am a “cradle Catholic” from Grand Rapids. Juanita is a native of Georgia, and raised Pentecostal. We met after I had moved to Atlanta after graduating from MSU. We married in 1985, and later moved to Michigan. For the record, Juanita loves Michigan and the four seasons.
I had been discerning this calling for over 13 years. It first came about when I was praying for priestly vocations and I started hearing whispers asking, “What about you?” As a married man I ignored the whispers, chalking it up to God getting His wires crossed. Except God never gets His wires crossed. It wasn’t until after Juanita had joined the Church that she sensed something, and told me ‘to follow my heart’. It was then that I formally entered formation. Even then, it took some serious discernment time to wrap my head around the reality that “following my heart” wasn’t prideful. Once it came to me that I hold God in my heart, the notion of “following my heart” really meant “following God”.
In another of those “strange how the Holy Spirit works,” moments, earlier this year when we were juggling the question of our parish assignments, I blurted out, “What about the Cathedral?” not really knowing from where that came. The response to the question was, “Sure. Why not.” After a meeting with Fr. J.J. and several staff members and a review by the Assignment Board, here I am! And I am thrilled! This is an exciting time for the Cathedral parish. Mindful that the diaconate is a service ministry, with the grace of God, your prayers and mine, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and Unleash the Gospel with you! We are looking forward to getting to know everyone as we begin making Most Blessed Sacrament our parish home.
In the peace of Christ,