By Deacon Jim Grevenites
So, who is this new deacon and where did he come from?
That, of course, is one of the first questions someone new is asked, so, here is an answer to some of that.
It is a delight to be here at St. Raphael, not only is the location wonderful but most importantly, the energy and the excitement of the parishioners is great.
My wife Leslie and I, who lived in the Chicago area most of our lives, met more than 35 years ago on a blind date. Before moving to Florida in October 2001 most of my business career was spent in law enforcement and the corporate world of safety, security and sanitation for a major franchise retailer in the Chicago area.
I studied for the Permanent Diaconate in Chicago and was ordained by the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin in 1994.
2001 was the whirlwind year for us as we married off a daughter, sent a son to the Air Force, quit jobs, sold a house, moved to Florida, and bought a Ma & Pa Motel on Clearwater Beach.
While living in the Clearwater Beach area I immediately became active as a deacon at St. Brendan Church, and then in 2003, I began to work in all aspects of parish ministry and management until leaving this past August, moving from the gulf coast to the bay coast.
Along the way, we sold the motel and moved to the Largo area where we live with Baxter, (our dog).
In addition to my work at St. Brendan, in 2006 I was appointed the Assistant Director of the Diaconate for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, a position I still hold.
We have four wonderful grandchildren who live in Windemere, (near Orlando) with their mom and dad, otherwise known as our daughter Melonee and son-in-law, Brian. We also have a son, Chris, who works in the Quantico, Va. area.
As I mentioned, we are delighted to be here at St. Raphael and I am looking forward to many happy years as both the parish Business Manager and Deacon serving with Father Tim, Father Dominic, and the entire staff.
Please do not hesitate to call me or stop by to chat, even if it is because of business.
Photos by Jane Winstead