East Moline deacon marks 25 years of following Mary’s ‘nudge’ to ministry

Deacon Jerry Buyck

EAST MOLINE — It was on a trip to Medjugorje in 1990 that Deacon Jerry Buyck heard the Blessed Mother invite him to be a permanent deacon.

“No,” he said.

His initial resistance didn’t survive a second trip, however. A native of East Moline, Deacon Buyck and his family were living in Horicon, Wisconsin, at the time and when he returned from Medjugorje he contacted the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to learn more about the permanent diaconate.

“Eleven of us started the class and only seven were ordained,” he said.

That was on June 1, 1996, at St. Francis de Sales Seminary in St. Francis, Wisconsin. Auxiliary Bishop Richard Sklba presided.

When the Buycks moved back to the Quad Cities in 1997, Deacon Buyck served at their home parish of St. Mary in East Moline until it closed in 2003. He transferred to Christ the King in Moline and remained there until he was granted senior status in 2008.

His ministry included taking Communion to homebound people, and teaching fifth grade catechism with his wife, JoAnn, as well as work with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, and witnessing marriages and baptizing babies. Among them were his grandchildren.

In addition, Deacon Buyck served on Cursillo and Teens Encounter Christ weekends, and was assistant spiritual director for Cursillo.

HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS

Deacon Buyck attended United Township High School in East Moline. He met his wife when he was a senior and she was a sophomore. The relationship led to marriage — and more.

“I wasn’t Catholic when I was in high school,” he told The Catholic Post. “One way to be with JoAnn more was to go to Mass with her. Her mom was a good cook, so I got to stay for Sunday dinner, too.”

He was baptized and received into the church four years later, and they were married at St. Mary in East Moline on April 30, 1966. They had one son and one daughter and three grandchildren.

The Buycks were married for 53 years before JoAnn died on Oct. 31, 2019.

Trained as a draftsman in high school, Deacon Buyck would go on to work for John Deere and its affiliates for 30 years. The job took him to California and Dubuque, Iowa, in addition to Horicon, Wisconsin, where he was a service marketing representative.

Deacon Buyck said that over the years he has become very devoted to Mary and is grateful for her nudge in Medjugorje all those years ago.

“I don’t regret it,” he said.

Deacon Buyck said he feels fortunate to have had the support of Father Donald Levitt, pastor at Christ the King. He continued to serve on the weekends until Christmas and is stepping back a bit now.

There are no plans for a celebration at this time, although mail is welcome and may be sent to 109 36th Avenue Ct, East Moline, IL 61244.

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