GAYLORD – Twenty-five young adults from Tawas, Mackinaw City, Lake Leelanau, Alpena, Traverse City, Frankfort, Petoskey, Cedar, Elk Rapids and Vanderbilt met Saturday, July 30, at St. Mary Cathedral with Bishop Bernard Hebda to share a picnic meal and talk about what they want from the Church.
“When we talk about people in an age range of 18-35, it is a group with many variables encompassing a wide range of ages and stages of life,” said Dannie Brzezinski, director of the Secretariat for Faith Development. “Our challenge is to find ways to reach out to them and to support them on their faith journey.”
“It’s really important to me to hear what our young people had to say about their experiences and hopes,” Bishop Hebda said, “and how we, as a diocese, might more effectively address their needs.”
After the meal, participants joined the bishop and Fr. James Bearss, pastor of the Northern Lights Catholic Community, and Fr. Matthew Wigton, administrator at St. Mary in Charlevoix, on the grass outside the cathedral.
“We really wanted it to be an informal listening session,” Brzezinski said.
The group discussed the distance between parishes in the Diocese of Gaylord and the feeling of isolation some experience living in communities where there seem to be few young adults. They also pointed out that the needs within young adult ministry can differ, noting while some programs might work well for those who do not have children, they would not work for those who do.
Some want to attend daily Mass, but can’t because they work longer or nontraditional hours. They suggested some Masses might be offered in the evening or other time. Some also want more opportunities for holy hours or adoration, particularly for those with children. (more…)
FARMINGTON HILLS — Thirteen sisters of the West Midwest Community of the Sisters of Mercy celebrated jubilees ranging from 50 to 75 years on Saturday, Aug. 6, in Farmington Hills. The Mass, celebrated by Fr. Brian Chabala, was in the Mercy Center Chapel, which was filled to capacity with sisters and guests recognizing a combined 780 years of faithful service.
Sr. Marian Schultz, R.S.M., welcomed the guests to the celebration and Sr. Mary Joel Zobro, R.S.M., gave the reflection.
Among those honored were sisters with ties to the Diocese of Grand Rapids:.
Sr. Marilyn Furtaw entered the Sisters of Mercy on Sept. 8, 1936, at Mount St. Agnes in Dubuque, Iowa, although she was born in Rogers City. She began ministry as a teacher at St. Michael School and Parish in Muskegon. She then worked at a leprosarium in British Guyana, South America, and then in Los Barrios in Argentina with the very poor. She’s now a volunteer at McAuley Center in Farmington Hills. Looking back on her years, she said, “My gifted religious life has been an adventure of love with my awesome God.”
Sr. Mary Bertha Vondruska was born in Bannister. She entered the Mother of Mercy Novitiate in Detroit on Sept. 7, 1941. She taught grades 1-2 at Our Lady of LaSalette School in Berkley from 1944-51. She then taught at Visitation School in Bay City, was principal at Holy Name School in Wyoming. At St. Michael the Archangel School and Parish in Remus, she had a variety of roles, first as teacher and pastoral minister and as volunteer until 2007. She then retired to McAuley Center in Farmington Hills where her ministry is prayer.
“I loved teaching the little ones,” she said, “preparing them for First Communion and helping to bring families into the Catholic Church.”
Sr. Elaine Mary Hart came to her current ministry of art later in religious life. She was born in Evansville, Ind., but grew up in Saginaw. After entering religious life on Sept 7, 1941, at the Mother of Mercy Novitiate in Detroit, she taught grades 4-5 at Holy Name School in Grand Rapids. She lived other sisters when she taught at Grand Haven. She said the variety of experiences in a Midland parish in an atmosphere where parents were anxious that their children learn was rewarding. She began to act as art coordinator at the parish, which led to attending art classes and earning a master’s degree in art. She also ministered among farm families in Bankston, Iowa. In Pinconning, she organized a catechetical center and Saturday classes for two parishes and a high school. (more…)
The Catholic Weekly
EAST TAWAS — Before throwing out that used printer cartridge, consider that it could be used to help save a person’s life.
“Give me a cartridge and I can turn it into food,” said East Tawas resident Francie Szymanski.
Working with Cartridge World and the nonprofit organization, Food for the Poor, Szymanski heads up an effort to collect used printer cartridges, sell them and send the proceeds to Sr. Ana’s Nutritional Center in Guatemala. In 2010, Szymanski began donating money from the recycled cartridges to Haiti to feed the children still suffering since that country’s catastrophic earthquake.
Since 2004, printer cartridges have been collected from numerous churches throughout the state – from as far north as Alpena to as far south as Milan – and are taken to Holy Family Church in East Tawas, which serves as the main repository.
Once a month, a representative from Cartridge World in Traverse City travels to Holy Family and collects the used printer cartridges. Cartridge World, which has over 650 stores throughout the United States, buys the used cartridges to recycle and resell. Cartridges are valued anywhere from 5 cents to $5.
Since its inception, nearly $19,000 has been raised. This amounts to approximately 46 tons of beans, rice, corn, soy and powdered milk.
“It is gratifying,” said Szymanski. “We have found a way to make a difference.”
Kelvin Shaw, the owner of Cartridge World in Traverse City, is often the person who makes the cross-state trip to pick up the used cartridges. Shaw said Cartridge World was established with the premise that it would work closely with local hospitals, schools, and churches to buy used cartridges. Reselling those used cartridges, at about 30 to 50 percent less than the price of a new cartridge, has allowed the business to expand.
When told that Cartridge World had a hand in raising $19,000 to feed starving children, he said it feels good to make such a contribution.
“I was very pleased to hear they were using it for that type of thing,” he said.
Outside of its benefits to the children of Guatemala and Haiti, both Shaw and Szymanski agree that it is beneficial to the environment to keep these cartridges out of landfills, which is where so many usually wind up.
“Cartridges are made out of oil and industrial plastic and it takes 100 to 400 years to decompose,” Shaw said.
Three checks have been received so far in 2011. Two have gone to Guatemala for a total of $650 and one has gone to Haiti for $200. Szymanski said checks have been alternated between Guatemala and Haiti for the last two years.
Every other year, Holy Family takes a mission trip to Guatemala. Szymanski has seen up close the impact that is being made with the donations, but also recognizes there is so much more that can be done.
“It’s heart wrenching,” she said.
Szymanski talked about meeting a 7-year-old boy named Lester. Lester was hours away from death, according to her. At age 1, he weighed 12 pounds. Six years later, he is approaching 50 pounds and is healthy and strong.
“I saw him kicking a soccer ball,” she said. “It is astounding.”
For more information contact Kelvin Shaw at (231) 590-0272 or Francie Szymanski at (989) 362-8139. Information on Food for the Poor can be found at www.foodforthepoor.org.†
KALAMAZOO —Bishop Paul J. Bradley has announced the following priest assignments, effective Wednesday, Aug. 31, unless noted otherwise.
Fr. Christopher Ankley has been appointed pastor of St. Martin Parish in Vicksburg. Fr. Ankley is currently pro-tem parochial administrator of St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Portage.
Fr. Robert Creagan has been appointed pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Portage. Fr. Creagan is currently the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Battle Creek.
Fr. Robert Johansen has been appointed administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish in Three Rivers and its mission parish, St. Clare in Centreville. Fr. Johansen most recently has been continuing his studies at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein, Ill., and is scheduled to receive a licentiate in sacred theology-sacramental theology and liturgical preparation next month.
Fr. Mark Vyverman has been appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Battle Creek. Fr. Vyverman is currently the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Three Rivers. Additionally Fr. Vyverman has been appointed the dean of the East Deanery, a position previously held by Fr. Creagan.
Fr. John Fleckenstein has been appointed pastor administrator of the Battle Creek Area Catholic Schools effective immediately. Fr. Fleckenstein is the pastor of St. Philip Parish, Battle Creek and also the vicar for education for the Diocese of Kalamazoo.
Fr. German Perez-Diaz has been appointed dean of the Southeast Deanery, a position previously held by Fr. Vyverman. Fr. Perez-Diaz is the pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Sturgis and its mission parish, St. Joseph in White Pigeon.†
SPRING LAKE — Fr. Dan DePew, pastor with St. Mary Church, 406 E. Savidge St., is asking area law enforcement, public safety, firefighters, EMTs and first responders to attend the Blue Mass celebration and reception honoring their service at 11 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11.
“We would like to invite individuals who are part of these public service organizations that respond, protect, serve and rescue persons around the tri-cities in order to thank and honor them at this important remembrance event on 11-11 at 11,” he said. “So, we are strongly encouraging them to call us with their contact information so we can involve them in our event.”
According to the public website, www.criminaljusticeoffice.org, the history of the Blue Mass dates back to 1934, where a Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Md., organized the Catholic Police and Firemen’s Society while stationed at St. Patrick Church in Washington, D.C. More 1,000 police and firemen appeared at the church dressed in their blue uniforms for the first Blue Mass, which was celebrated on Sept. 29, 1934. The website goes on to explain that, hereafter, the tradition has continued in the northeastern cities of the United States.
“We are currently in the process of setting up the lists of names of police, law enforcement personnel, public safety officers, firemen, EMTs and first responders,” said Diane Murray, the parish’s Blue Mass event organizer and music director, “and we hope we hear from as many of these individuals as possible to participate in our first-ever Blue Mass celebration at St. Mary Church dressed in their uniforms or work attire just like they did in the inaugural event back in the ‘30s,”
The Blue Mass celebration will be open to the general public and will include several musical numbers with instrumentalists as well as the St. Mary choir members. Popular songs such as “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” and “God Bless America” will be sung. The church organizers are hoping to get as much public participation as possible.
“This event will be a special celebration and we hope this will become the first of several Blue Mass events in the years to come,” said Murray, adding, “for the St. Mary’s community this will certainly be a first.”
She also announced that on Sunday, Nov. 13, which is two days after Veterans’ Day, the parish is planning to honor all tri-cities veterans and all personnel in every branch of the military in a similar program in order to carry on the tradition of recognizing men and women in uniform who serve the local community and country.
Anyone who works in law enforcement, public safety, along with firemen, EMTs and first responders, plus those seeking further information, can contact Murray (616) 842-1702 or email@example.com.†
ADRIAN — On the eve of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the first Dominicans to the Americas, modern-day Dominicans were challenged to “begin again” to live out their vocations to the fullest: through evangelical poverty; humble listening and preaching; silence; contemplation; hearts open to people of other cultures and religions; and detachment from material goods and their own agendas.
More than 100 registered participants, as well as local Adrian Dominican sisters who watched broadcasts of the talks, were gathered Friday through Monday, July 8-11, for a special conference, “Being Dominican in the 21st Century,” at Weber Retreat and Conference Center.
The Dominican Order, also known as the Order of Preachers, was founded in the early 13th century by St. Dominic de Guzman, a Spanish cleric in the Catholic Church, to preach the Gospel to people who had been misled by the heresy that all matter is evil. Comprised of friars, contemplative nuns, apostolic sisters and laity, the order is active throughout much of the world.
Adrian Dominican Sister Peg O’Flynn, O.P., director of Weber Center, greeted participants from England, Rome and the Dominican Republic. Represented at the conference were the U.S. women’s congregations of Adrian, Amityville, Blauvelt, Grand Rapids, Houston, Mission San Jose, Peace, Racine, San Rafael, Sinsinawa and Sparkill; Sisters from a Congregation in the Philippines currently stationed in Hawaii; friars from the English Province and the Central and Southern Provinces in the U.S.; and nuns from Our Lady of Mount Thabor Monastery in Ortonville and Catherine Benincasa Dominican Monastery in New Castle, Del.
Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Ann Willits, O.P., kicked off the conference Friday, July 8, with her talk, “The Holy Preaching: Both Inheritance and Invitation.” Noting that St. Dominic’s death-bed words included the exhortation, “Begin,” she encouraged Dominicans throughout her talk to “begin again” to live out the inheritance left by St. Dominic.
Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former master of the order and member of the English Province, opened Saturday, July 9, with his talk, “Dominican Preaching and the Imagination.” He described preaching as more than the words we speak after the Gospel. “It’s in our work, our tenderness, our gestures, in what we say and don’t say,” he said.
Adrian Dominican Sister Anneliese Sinnott, O.P., spoke on “Being Dominican in a World Church,” emphasizing the need to be open to people of all nations, cultures and religions.
In the opening talk on Sunday, July 10, Fr. Brian Pierce, O.P., of the U.S. Southern Province of Friars, encouraged his listeners to preach from the vantage point of those who are poor and suffering. He gave as examples Jesus Christ; St. Dominic and Pedro of Cordova, the superior of the first community of Dominicans to serve in the Americas. The Dominican Order is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Dominicans to the Americas in 1511 and their courageous stance against the mistreatment that the early Spanish settlers inflicted on the native peoples of the Americas. In her afternoon talk, Sr. Margaret Ormond, O.P., prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, spoke of various ways that St. Dominic might have related to and challenged people in the United States today.
Fr. Donald Goergen, O.P., of the Central Province, presented the conference’s final talk on Monday, July 11, focusing on contemplation as a necessary dimension of the Dominican mission. He encouraged the Dominicans to balance their active ministry with silent contemplation and to be detached from material goods and from their own personal agendas.
The conference also included prayer and Sunday Mass, planned by Adrian Dominican Sister Jeanne Wiest, O.P. Reflections were offered by Grand Rapids Dominican Sister Megan McElroy, O.P., co-director of the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate in St. Louis, and Sr. Arlene Flaherty, O.P., a Dominican Sister of Blauvelt, N.Y. and a justice and peace promoter for Catholic Relief Services. Participants also had many opportunities to gather for daily periods of discussions and informal socials. †
By Lon Medd
The Catholic Weekly
Over its 104 years of existence, the current St. Joseph Catholic Church building in Traverse City has survived a break-in, flooding, a windstorm, and a near closing in 2002.
The building has served the parish well over the years, but according to Fr. Edwin A. Thome, it’s time to move to a larger building that will accommodate this still-vibrant parish in northwest Michigan.
“We’ve certainly outgrown it,” Fr. Thome said.
Fr. Thome, 83, has been with the parish since 2002, when he volunteered to keep the church going when it was on the verge of closing. At the time, Fr. Thome was retired and his installation was only supposed to be temporary. However, Fr. Thome stayed on and the parish began to grow.
“I just so happened to be energetic and in good health and I volunteered to keep the church open,” he said.
The present-day St. Joseph Catholic Church was built in 1907 and it served 35 families. Today, the parish serves 300 families, with more than 800 members. The church seats 200 people and hosts three weekend Masses. In the past two years, net growth of membership has been nearly 6 percent.
At one time, it was recommended that St. Joseph be merged with Immaculate Conception in Traverse City. In case anything happened with Fr. Thome, Immaculate Conception would send a priest to do Mass at St. Joseph. However, a diocesan task force recommended that St. Joseph remain a stand-alone parish provided it could build a bigger church to hold fewer Masses and build a rectory, which it currently does not have.
If fewer Masses are offered, the current building cannot hold enough parishioners, which would force people to go elsewhere.
“This is a viable parish, which is very beneficial to the diocese,” Fr. Thome said. “It would be a tremendous loss if it could not survive.”
Plans call for a new church to be built on a site adjacent to the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery near the intersection of Center Road and Island View Road, about a half mile from the present location. The total cost of the project is $4.1 million.
The new church would have seating for 550 people. The building would include space for classrooms, a nursery, kitchen, parish offices, and fellowship hall, along with a small rectory to serve as a home for up to two priests.
In keeping with preservation efforts on the peninsula, the old St. Joseph Catholic Church will be moved to the new site for use as a chapel. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late spring 2012.
At this time, a full-fledged capital campaign has not begun because the local township board approves the rezoning request. A recent meeting, where the issue was on the agenda, was canceled because the board did not have enough members to have a quorum. Despite the setback, Fr. Thome said, “I’m sure reason will prevail.”
“This is a very enticing place to work,” he said. “I keep working because I enjoy it.” †
GAYLORD — Four bishops were expected for the Diocese of Gaylord’s celebration of its 40th anniversary on Wednesday, July 20, but a fifth showed up.
Along with the four bishops who have led the diocese in the past four decades — Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka (1971-1981), Bishop Robert J. Rose (1981-1989), Bishop Patrick R. Cooney (1989-2009) and Bishop Bernard A. Hebda (2009-present) — also on hand was Bishop Robert N. Lynch from the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Fla., Bishop Lynch vacations in the northern Lower Peninsula and refers to the Diocese of Gaylord as “my diocese away from my diocese.”
He joined the founding four bishops and 48 priests, mostly from the Gaylord Diocese, to concelebrate the Mass at St. Mary Cathedral.
The service, which drew more than 1,100 people, including deacons, seminarians, religious sisters and brothers and laity representing all 80 parishes of the diocese, was followed by a picnic on the cathedral grounds.
A committee led by Fr. Dennis Stilwell, the first priest ordained for the Diocese of Gaylord, spent months preparing for the liturgy and the picnic. Despite temperatures in triple digits, the results were received positively. (more…)
Band’s tour takes in storm-hit areas of nation
By Mark Haney
The Catholic Times
FOWLER — In the midst of death and destruction, Noelle Garcia found some miracles, both large and small.
The nationally known recording artist and her husband, Portland St. Patrick Parish youth minister David McHugh, took their band to Memphis, Tenn., Adamsville, Ala., and Joplin, Mo., late in June on a tour to raise money for those three area hit hardest by a series of spring floods and tornadoes.
They started in Memphis, raising $800 for Catholic Charities. On the way there, they were booked to play a couple of concerts in Alabama — one at St. Patrick Parish and one at the local Catholic Charities office. Together, those raised more than $1,400. (more…)