After losing his IT job in 2020, Brian Mull was hired to work in the archdiocese's central office — and gained a new faith
DETROIT — As the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament slowly quieted and closed down at midnight following the Easter vigil Mass on April 8, Brian Mull was beginning to process the evening.
He had started it as a catechumen and ended a full-fledged Catholic — the dousing baptism he received from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron could cast no doubt on that.
“I feel at peace; a sense of calm,” Mull told Detroit Catholic, a glow coming from his face — whether from the clear inner joy or the reflection of newly applied chrism oil on his forehead.
Mull joined OCIA in November 2022, but his journey toward becoming Catholic really began two years ago when Mull was hired by Blue Rock Technologies to work as an on-site technician for the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Chancery in downtown Detroit.
Prior to his job with Blue Rock, Mull had been comfortably settled at another job, but just a week before the COVID lockdown in March 2020, he had been let go. Mull began the process of looking for a new job — a task made more difficult by the lockdown and with the added pressure of no longer having a paycheck.
After interviewing with Blue Rock — a technology and IT company contracted by the archdiocese — he was offered a position as an on-site technician, and after about a year, transitioned to a new role in the Chancery in March 2022 after Jerry McElhone and Marco DeCapite, associate director and director of process, data and technology for the archdiocese, respectively, offered him a job as an IT operations manager.
Mull grew up without a faith of his own, but said he always believed in "something." His grandparents were members of the Church of Christ and were his link to religion.
Over his first two years at the Chancery, Mull began to learn more about the Catholic Church. On March 4, 2022, one of his earliest days in his new role, Mull had an opportunity to attend the installation of Bishop Jeffrey Walsh in the Diocese of Gaylord.
“It was the first time I had ever been to anything like that,” Mull told Detroit Catholic. “I've gone to team Masses ... but going to this event and seeing the pageantry, seeing everything, I was sitting there, and I just felt something. I couldn't explain it at that time, but I felt moved."
Mull recalled being awed during part of the Mass when the new bishop showed his letter of appointment, signed by the pope, to the congregation.
“I was just like, ‘Wow, I cannot believe that I'm here witnessing this,’" Mull said. "I almost felt guilty because I was not Catholic. ‘Should I even be here seeing this?' But I just walked out with a new spirit.”
Mull began to ask his colleagues, particularly DeCapite and McElhone, questions about the faith.
“My biggest thing about joining any religion was that if I didn't feel like I could be ‘a good Catholic,’ where I walk the straight and narrow the whole time, never veering, I shouldn't do it,” Mull explained. “But Jerry (McElhone) reminded me that, 'You're human.' It's OK (to be imperfect), and things happen. That's why we have confession, and have the Eucharist, and can be baptized and be forgiven. God forgives you. That just made me realize that (becoming Catholic) is something that I really wanted to do.”
Mull said he felt a profound sense of gratitude for the events that had led him to work for the Church — something he never expected at age 46 — and by November, he had made up his mind to enter OCIA.
“Looking around at everything, I was just so grateful for where I was in my life,” Mull said. “Everything that I have … the life I'm living, I was just like, ‘There's no coincidence about this. There is a reason for this.’”
Mull approached McElhone, who connected him with Fr. Mario Amore, who in turn helped him get started with OCIA at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
On the same day he made the decision to become Catholic, Mull went into his basement to find a Bible given to him by his grandparents. He couldn’t find one, but sitting out in the open was a devotional book, “Jesus is Calling,” a gift from a former coworker. Mull flipped open to the day’s devotion.
“It said: ‘Learn to appreciate difficult days," Mull recalled. "'Be stimulated by the challenges you encounter along your way. As you journey through rough terrain with Me, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything. This knowledge is comprised of three parts: your relationship with Me, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times. Look back on your life, and see how I have helped you through difficult days. If you are tempted to think, 'Yes, but that was then, and this is now,' remember who I AM! Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity. This is the basis of your confidence. In My Presence, you live and move and have your being.’”
Mull said that this passage was convicting — there was no denying that God had led him to this point.
On April 8, when Mull was baptized at the cathedral, he was surrounded by coworkers, including his sponsor, McElhone, as well as his wife and daughter. Mull was baptized, confirmed and received his first Communion from his boss, Archbishop Vigneron, alongside eight others entering the Church.
“Jerry and I are very close — I feel like he and I are kindred spirits,” Mull said. “Some people can spout off Scripture, but it's a matter of seeing how you live with it every day and what it's like in your life. And just talking with him through that and the things that have happened in his life really, really resonated with me. It helped me to see that we are human.”
For Mull, being Catholic is a no-brainer — he's always believed in something bigger than himself — but now he knows with greater certainty who that Someone is.
“The reason for the world and everything we have is God, and He sent his only Son to die for our sins to save us. And that means something,” Mull said. “If you don't understand it as an outsider looking in, I would encourage anybody who's interested in the Catholic faith to just go to OCIA. Go to the classes and just learn to be open-minded about it. Don't be closed-minded. Be there in the moment.
"It took me 46 years to get where I am, and it's not an easy journey," Mull added. "Faith is everything. I've had people ask me, ‘How do you know that's true? How do you know Jesus did all these things?’ (I say) ‘That’s faith.' All of this happened for a reason.’”