Dear Fellow St. Stephen’s Parishioners,

Thank you so much for the warm reception you gave me when I served and shared my homily with you last weekend. Your community strikes me as a place of great warmth and hospitality, and I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you better as I serve at St. Stephen. I trust that I will soon be able to call it “our” community.

For those of you who were unable to attend mass last weekend, I want to take a minute to introduce myself to you. My name is John Ashmore, a Northern Michigan boy by birth, who became a Californian by choice about 30 years ago. My wife, Julie, and I have four children: a daughter who lives in Michigan, a son who lives in Pomona, and two college student sons who live with us in Antioch.

I was ordained a permanent deacon almost ten years ago, and I’ve served at Christ the King in Pleasant Hill ever since. When I was ordained, Christ the King needed a deacon while my home parish of Holy Rosary already had two active deacons. So, when Bishop Vigneron assigned me to serve at Christ the King, I humbly and happily accepted my assignment. Although my home in Antioch is twenty-three miles from the parish, I have never regretted, even for a moment, my decision to accept my assignment. Christ the King has become “home” to me and my wife.

When Fr. Paulson asked me to serve the St. Stephen community in addition to Christ the King, I couldn’t have been happier. As I said in my homily, I believe that all of us are called to serve. When God sends us new opportunities to serve, we need to embrace those opportunities with open minds and hearts. So - I’m excited and joyful to extend my service to the St. Stephen community.

I feel honored to follow in the footsteps of Deacon Bill Bothe. I’m a lot taller and I outweigh Deacon Bill by 80 pounds, but filling his shoes will take some very serious work on my part. I promise that I’ll do my best to live up to the standards that Deacon Bill has set.

Again, over the coming months I look forward to meeting and working with all of you. If I do things differently than the way you are accustomed to seeing them done, don’t hesitate to tell me. I’ll do everything I can to accommodate your wishes and I hope that you will come to know me as your deacon! Please keep me in your prayers and know that you are in my prayers as well!

Deacon John Ashmore

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