He is something of a legend: a popular public speaker and congregational minister from Detroit who underwent a remarkable conversion experience that culminated with his entering into full communion with the Catholic Church—in the process, bringing along many members of his congregation.
From his bio, in his own words:
I am in my early seventies, born in 1941, and married to Donna Camille. Donna and I have three grown sons: Joseph, Benjamin, and Marc, twelve lovely grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. I graduated from Wayne State University in 1965 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education, and received a MAPS Degree (Masters in Pastoral Studies) from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in 2007. I taught in the Detroit school system for twenty-eight years.
From April 1975 to December 2000 I was the senior minister of two churches in the city of Detroit: Zion Congregational Church of God in Christ (1975-1982), the second oldest Pentecostal church in Michigan, and Maranatha Christian Church (1982-2000), an Evangelical/Charismatic church.
In March of 1998, while reading the apostolic fathers and subsequent church history in preparation for a Wednesday evening bible study, I discovered the Church to be charismatic/liturgical, hierarchical, and Eucharistic-centered. In light of that discovery, Donna and I began a two-year journey into the Catholic Church that culminated in fifty-four members of my previous congregation, including fourteen members of my family, entering the Catholic Church. We entered R.C.I.A. at St. Suzanne Catholic Community on September 10, 2000, and were welcomed into the Catholic Church through confirmation during Easter Vigil on April 14, 2001.
I was ordained a Permanent Deacon in the Archdiocese of Detroit on October 1, 2005. On May 31, 2007 I retired from the position of evangelization coordinator for the Archdiocese of Detroit. As of July 1, 2013 I have retired from both my positions as deacon at St. Suzanne/OLGH and as Pastoral Associate at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church. My Archbishop is Allen Vigneron. I am a member of Prince of Peace Catholic Church, and my pastor is Fr. Ronald Jozwiak.
I am also the author of No Price too High! – a book chronicling my journey into the Church.
Here is an execrpt from that book:
“Some of the reactions I got when Catholics found out I was coming into the Church were disheartening. One priest actually asked why I would want to come into the Church. And there were other Catholics who expressed similar sentiments. There was no universal concept. They felt everyone has his own religion and it works for him–so great! They believed the unity lies in the belief in God and in Jesus Christ, not in the governmental unity of the church. Hey, we’re all going to heaven, so just stay where you are! They are trying to be magnanimous. What they failed to realize is that when a person’s heart has been stirred to see the truth of the Church, that kind of thinking comes across almost as that of an apostate….I don’t think those people know what they are saying. It is a tremendous hindrance to tell someone seeking the truth to say where he is.”
I’ll add more when I learn more. For now, please remember him and his family in your prayers. Well done, good and faithful servant!
UPDATE: A good friend of Deacon Jones, Steve Ray, has written this heartfelt remembrance:
My wife was [his wife] Donna’s sponsor into the Catholic Church and I wrote the Preface to his book “No Price Too High.” My only regret is that our lives were both so busy that we have not seen much of them over the last few years. He was ministering to several parishes in Detroit and traveling the world speaking. You can see his website here. His short biography is here.
He died in the grace of God as a deacon in the Catholic Church and I could not be prouder to have been his friend and brother in Christ. I look forward to spending time together in eternity. May God grant grace to his wife Donna and his three sons and their families.
For the DVD story of his conversion (in which I had the honor to introduce him) you can visit Nineveh’s Crossing or click on the image to the right.
I was told he had trouble breathing on Saturday. The doctors discovered he had no white blood cells, an indication he may have had a previously undetected leukemia. He had several heart attacks Saturday and died around 10:30 PM. I hope I am correct in all that but don’t know more. I’m told Donna and his family is all together and doing well in the Lord.
Below is an excerpt from a documentary about his journey into the Catholic Church, showing his Confirmation and First Communion at the Easter Vigil in 2001, accompanied by dozens of his family and flock.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…