Living the Faith:Bob Malone

WEST ROXBURY -- Bob Malone had every reason to turn his back on God.

His father passed away when Malone was only five months old leaving four children and a young mother who had to work two jobs to make ends meet. He very well could have lost his faith but for the powerful witness of his mother.

“I always think back and see my earliest teacher in the faith was my mother,” he said.

Even finding herself widowed at the age of 35 with four young children, “instead of despairing, she always would say she felt like there was a cloak over her; like Jesus was putting a warm blanket over her and she knew it was going to be all right,” Malone said.

With his mother’s faith as a foundation on which to build upon, Malone grew up certain of his own faith.

“Family stuff happens. Work stuff happens. But I always have my faith to lean on,” he said.

It is this conviction he brings to his parish, St. John Chrysostom Parish in West Roxbury. Together with his wife Beth, Malone has been involved in the parish in a host of ways.

“We’ve done all kinds of things over the years,” he said with a smile.

“When our kids were young, we were the type who got involved in all their activities,” he continued. As a result, he and his wife have been involved in the youth ministry program, the religious education program, as well as several youth excursions.

Now that their three children are grown -- the youngest is 25 -- their parish involvement has “evolved,” he said.

Currently Malone, 51, is the vice chair of the parish’s pastoral council. In addition, he “helps out in anyway I can, anytime I can.”

Malone, a West Roxbury native, credits the pastoral associate at St. John’s, Sister Maureen Taaffe, SCN, for prompting the Malones to become involved when they first became parishioners more than 25 years ago.

“Sister Maureen is known for shoulder-tapping,” he joked. “She is really good at finding a niche for everyone in the parish.”

“Sister Maureen is kind of the glue that holds the parish together,” he continued, adding that she knows almost every single parishioner because she has been involved in the parish for many years.

Malone also praised Father David Michael, who has been pastor at St. John’s for almost two years, particularly for his involvement in ecumenical affairs.

According to Malone, Father Michael has “done a very good job of putting his own print on the parish, but without losing its identity.”

“St. John’s has always had a reputation as a welcoming parish,” Malone said, “so hosting ecumenical events in the parish fits right into our welcoming nature.”

“We’ve always been blessed with great priests and a great staff,” he said, adding that “I’m just one parishioner here. St. John’s is blessed with so many people who do so much more than me...just so many people. I guess you could say our parish is one big team effort.”