By Matt Mackinder
Clarkston News Editor
DETROIT — David Smith is moving up in the religious sector.
On Oct. 7, the Independence Township resident was ordained to the permanent ministry of the diaconate at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, the mother church of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Archbishop Allen Vigneron ordained Smith, a member of Our Lady of the Lakes in Waterford, during a mass in front of friends, family and faithful of the archdiocese. His assignment now is with his home church at Our Lady of the Lakes.
“I’ve been very blessed to be assigned to serve God’s people at Our Lady of the Lakes under Father Scott Thibodeau,” said Smith, 57. “I hope to serve my pastor and God’s people to the best of my abilities and to share the good news of Christ’s love and mercy, through words and actions, to as many people as I can.”
He said becoming a deacon has been a long time coming.
“Shortly after converting to the Catholic faith a decade ago, I spoke to a deacon after mass and, after hearing about their ministry, experienced what I would call an invitation that persisted for five years before I finally applied to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s deacon formation program,” Smith said. “I’ve had the privilege of serving the sick at Ascension Hospital in Rochester, visiting inmates at the Wayne County Jail, working with the elderly and those in hospice at Canterbury on the Lake as well as being involved in various church-related activities at several parishes.
“After living a life of selfishness, I was fortunate to finally learn, late in life, how much happiness you can experience serving others.”
Smith was born in Flint, where he attended Flint Christian High School before graduating from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in administration in 2009 and a master’s degree in management eight years later. Smith, who has been working in industrial sales and manufacturing, will finish his master’s in pastoral studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in 2024.
He and his wife Shari have been married 35 years and are parents of Noah, 27, who went to St. Stephen Lutheran School and then high school in Clarkston, graduating in 2015.
“We are all converts to the Catholic church,” said Smith.
Immersed in his work with the church, Smith said he loves what he does and the impact it can have on many people.
“I saw a video years ago where Archbishop Vigernon spoke about not being afraid to give Jesus what He wants,” said Smith. “Diaconal formation was a years-long process of discerning ‘Is this what Jesus wants me to do?’ where I tried to listen, while at the same time his church discerned me. The Lord changed and shaped me over the years and, ultimately, when the church validated my perceived calling in 2023 is when I realized this is what Christ wanted.
“I can honestly say I’m not worthy of this vocation but have come to accept what the church tells us that Christ doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”
In Independence Township, where Smith and his family have lived over 30 years, he said, “we appreciate the beauty of this area of Michigan, how friendly the local residents are and the small-town feel.”
Smith was asked with modern society seemingly trending in a very negative manner, how can he as a deacon sway society in the other direction?
“Christ is the answer to every societal problem and challenge,” said Smith. “The deacon’s role is to participate in Christ’s servant ministry to people and to shine a light on him for others to see always.”
And how long does Smith plan to serve in his current role?
“However long God and his church want me to serve,” Smith said.
PHOTO: David Smith, middle, is flanked by his wife Shari, left, and Archbishop Allen Vigneron, right. Photo: Valaurian Waller/Archdiocese of Detroit