by Jeff Saunders | Reporter
Northfield Center -- The life of a parochial or assistant pastor is one of hellos and good-byes, as the Rev. Michael Denk is experiencing as he prepares to leave St. Barnabas Parish.
"I came here when I was newly ordained as a priest in 2007, June of 2007," said Denk, 32. "We're on four-year terms and we rotate until we become a pastor."
Denk's next assignment is St. Joseph Parish in Amherst. He will end his time at St. Barnabas June 5 with a farewell Mass at noon, followed by a 4:30 p.m. reception in the Parish Center. There will then be a dinner at the Holiday Inn in Independence, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and dinner served at 7 p.m. Tickets, which can be purchased at the parish rectory, are $25 or $16 for children 12 and under.
Denk said working with parish members has been a joy.
"These people are so involved," he said. "They are very creative people who can do anything."
Denk said there are a number of things that he has had the pleasure of being involved with, such as reviving Christ Renews His Parish, a program from the 1970s in which members of the parish meet weekly in teams, culminating in a retreat in the fall.
"It's really a time for people to renew their faith," he said. "People on the team will share their faith, talking about how God has worked in their lives."
Denk was also involved in last year's Year of the Priest celebration, during which past parish priests came together in a reunion, and the Year of the Marriage celebration in February, during which the parish honored married couples.
Denk has also worked with LifeTeen, a parish youth ministry that meets for scripture study and activities, such as open gym. LifeTeen had a Cardboard Campout in April, during which about 30 teens spent the night in cardboard boxes on parish grounds to get a feel for what it is like to be homeless and collected donations to benefit organizations that help those in need.
Denk said he has also enjoyed working with married couples in the parish and taking part with a parish missionary group that went to El Salvador in 2009.
Denk said his time at St. Barnabas has been a "great experience."
"It's been a blast. A joyful wonderful time," he said. "I'm grateful to God for giving me this opportunity."
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3169