Pentecost is a day to consider what the Holy Spirit offers each of us
By Sr. Laura Hammel, O.S.C.
Special to The Catholic Weekly
SAGINAW — As Christians, we often hear references to “The Seven Gifts of the Spirit.”
The idea of spiritual gifts is found in this passage from Isaiah 11:3: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse; and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.”
Before we look at our spiritual gifts, we need to understand what we mean by the “gifts of the Spirit.” These gifts come to us as the Holy Spirit touches our lives. We believe the gifts are important because they enable us to surpass our ordinary abilities. They are graces that give us more insight and ability to act as Christians.
All the sacraments are “acts of the Holy Spirit,” although the sacrament of confirmation is where spiritual gifts are specifically mentioned. Inspired by the words of Isaiah, the ritual of confirmation names the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in Your presence.”
By Jeffrey Wack
The Catholic Times
PINCKNEY — Pinckney residents Adam and Jessica Carlile share a passion for helping others.
That passion has led them to become missionaries and dedicate their young lives to helping desperately poor people along the border of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Through their organization, Building Bridges of Hope, the couple and 25 Pinckney-area volunteers arrived Saturday, April 27, in Grass Lake to hand-load a 40-foot-long shipping container that will arrive in the Dominican Republic at the end of May. The container was packed with clothing, children’s vitamins, baby formula, furniture, toys and playground equipment, and miscellaneous hospital supplies. These items will be used in a mobile medical clinic and the Children’s Nutrition Center.
ZILWAUKEE — St. Matthew Parish has appealed to the Vatican the decision by the Diocese of Saginaw to close its church. The decision, part of the diocese’s Planning Tomorrow’s Parishes process, was slated for Monday, July 1.
As a result of the appeal, filed Saturday, April 20, with the Congregation for the Clergy, the church will stay open and not merge with neighboring St. John the Baptist and St. Josaphat parishes in Carrollton. While Sr. Chris Gretka will become admistrator of the combined parish created by the merger of two Carrollton churches, with Fr. James Bessert as sacramental minister, the diocese will seek people to fill those roles at St. Matthew.
GAYLORD — Since 2003, the Diocese of Gaylord has sponsored an annual summer program focusing on social justice. Just Works engages youth in exploring the seven themes of Catholic social teaching. Through prayer, workshops and simulation exercises, participants learn the value of social justice, the importance of communal prayer and the greatness of faithful communion.
Just Works challenges young people to live out the Gospel call to peace and justice in their personal lives. The program enables youth to understand Catholic social teaching, apply it to peace and justice issues and to act on this application. As the universal Catholic Church continues to celebrate the “Year of Faith,” Just Works provides a unique opportunity for teens in our diocese to learn more about our faith and put it into action in daily life.
Open to teens in grades 8-12, Just Works will be Monday through Friday, July 22-26 at Twin Lakes Camp in Traverse City. In addition to presentations, sharing, prayer and community living, participants enjoy food, social and recreational time — including a sports field and beach.
Elder leaders for the five-day program include Wayne Winter, Gary Sielski, Stacey Popp, Br. Mike Whitman and Jackie Welles. In addition, college-age young adults who have experienced the program will return to serve as small-group leaders and be part of the Just Works team.
Cost per person is $175. Registrations are due no later than Friday, June 28, but space is limited to 35 youth so early registration is recommended.
For more information, contact your youth minister or Dannie Brzezinski, director of the Secretariat for Faith Formation at (989) 732-5147. Registration forms and details also are available on the diocesan website, www.dioceseofgaylord.org.†
Special to The Catholic Weekly
ALPENA — A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary has found a new place of honor in her namesake church in Alpena, thanks to the efforts of the St. Mary Rosary Society and a group of hard-working parishioners.
Fr. Richard Schaeffer, pastor of the Catholic Community of Alpena, presided over the Wednesday, May 1, unveiling and dedication of the new shrine at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church on North Second Avenue. An ice cream social in the school cafeteria followed the dedication.
St. Mary Rosary Society president Bernice Kendziorski said the statue was in the church’s possession for many years but not in a place of prominence. Now it graces the front of the church under an arch bearing the words, “Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
Although the shrine looks natural enough to have always been there, moving the relatively small, 5-foot statue to the front of the church took many hours of preparation, Kendziorski said.
Custodians Greg Dziesinski and Mike MacArthur made space for it, then renovated and painted the shrine area. Artist Bruno Hirzel designed, sketched and painted the background scenery; Marcia, Jack and Tom Hundley created the platform on which the statue rests. Local weaver and parishioner Katie Meek added the decorative cloth. Other finishing touches were made by parishioners.
“So many people put in many hours to bring this together in time for May, the month of Mary,” Kendziorski said. “It was a labor of love and now it’s a visible reminder of Our Lady to all who enter the church.”
The St. Mary Rosary Society is sponsoring Marian devotions at the church every Wednesday in May beginning at 6 p.m.†
KALAMAZOO — Students at St. Monica School gathered on the sunlit lawn on Wednesday, May 1, to celebrate the first day of May with the school’s annual May Crowning ceremony.
In the Catholic Church, May is dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, and each child placed daisies, tulips, roses and other spring flowers at the feet of a statue of Mary that graces the school’s “Mary Garden.” The ceremony followed an all-school Mass, and the highlight came when eighth graders Molly Panico and Holden Rohloff crowned Mary with a wreath of fresh-cut roses and baby’s breath. Fr. Larry Farrell blessed the crown and led a short prayer service and fourth-grade teacher Cindi Westerhouse delivered an a cappella rendering of Schubert’s classic “Ave Maria.”
The ceremony closed as the students filed out of the garden, singing the classic refrains “Oh Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May” from the age-old hymn “Bring Flowers of the Rarest.”†
People fill Temple Theater to honor principal of Saginaw school
By Sandra Burch
The Catholic Weekly
SAGINAW — St. Thomas Aquinas Parish paid tribute to one of its own on Monday, April 15, with a gala celebration of Sr. Ann deGuise’s 50th anniversary as a Bernadine Franciscan at the Temple Theater.
More 1,300 people filled the theater to honor Sr. deGuise, principal of St. Thomas Aquinas School and part of the parish for more than 20 of those 50 years.
The program opened with cheerleaders from St. Thomas Aquinas School and Nouvel Catholic Central High School performing together. The bell choirs from those same two schools followed suit, ringing in the night’s festivities. The NCC Honor Guard processed in with the cross.
Flint clan helps K. of C. raise funds for mentally impaired
By George Jaksa
The Catholic Times
FLINT — Tom Skellett has no trouble getting family members to collect funds for the mentally impaired each Palm Sunday weekend.
“I can’t keep them from doing it,” said Skellett, 83, of the effort to cover four entrances to St. Matthew Church in downtown Flint at the three weekend Masses. “They get a kick out of it.”
Skellett, past grand knight of Msgr. Dunigan Council 695 and past faithful navigator of Msgr. Dunigan Assembly 0510, has been collecting funds for the mentally impaired outside St. Matthew, the Skelletts’ home parish, since the drive was instituted by Michigan Knights of Columbus in 1975.
By Mark Haney
The Catholic Weekly
GRAND RAPIDS — The Diocese of Grand Rapids’ 12th bishop — Fr. David John Walkowiak — comes to his new post with some idea what he’ll be doing.
After all, he served in the Diocese of Cleveland’s chancery for two decades.
That doesn’t mean the reporters at the Thursday, April 18, press conference announcing Fr. Walkowiak as the successor to retiring Bishop Walter A. Hurley knew. So one of them asked: What does this job entail? What does a bishop do?
“That’s the same thing Fidel Castro asked Pope John Paul II: ‘What do you do all day?’” said Fr. Walkowiak, 59 and a native of Westlake, Ohio. “I am certainly going to learn what that means. I have watched bishops as priest for almost 34 years. I’ve known bishops. Certainly the sacramental work of the priest continues (as a bishop). I am familiar with that. Then there is teaching, the whole notion of guiding and directing not just a parish but over 80 parishes and of being the chief liturgical leader of the diocese. So the bishop is really interested in doing those things.”
Being a good teacher, he said, is especially important in this “Year of Faith” declared by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
“In order to be more confident and better evangelizers we need to know our faith better than we do,” Fr. Walkowiak said. “I think many of our people are insufficiently evangelizing, unwilling to share the great beauty and the great treasure our Catholic faith is.”
One solution to that problem is Catholic schools, which the new bishop fully supports. He runs a grade K-8 school in his parish, 2,000-plus-family St. Joan of Arc in Chagrin Fall, Ohio.
“I have found myself working very hard with the school community in the parish to keep that school at its best,” he said. “But that is what you have to do. You have to make sure the schools are offering an excellent education. The beauty of the Catholic school is the environment in which the education occurs. To be able to start the day on the P.A. system with prayer. To pray before meals. To be able to go to church for a school Mass. To be able to end the day with the act of contrition and the prayer of thanksgiving for all that God has provided. I think it is very important to do all that we can to strengthen the schools we have. It would be a great loss not only to our churches but also to this culture and this society if Catholic schools become very, very rare.
“I think Catholic schooling makes a person have a more balanced sense of Christian service, they are more likely to pray on a regular basis. And I think they would be more ready to consider a religious vocation. There are lots of great things Catholics schools have provided.”
At the same time, he said, he hopes to bring people back to the Church and give them reasons to be proud to be Catholic.
“One of the things that has been a concern of mine in my past seven years as a pastor is that I certainly wish more Catholics would come to worship on Sunday,” he said. “I certainly wish more Catholics would be comfortable and proud of their faith, to speak up for it. One of the challenges we face would be that we may have lost our lead in the community and the great treasure that the Church has been in spreading the Gospel mission and really enriching the world in which we live. That is why the Year of Faith is such an opportunity.
“I feel that if people were be more comfortable and confident in their faith then they would be more familiar with it and would invest themselves more deeply in it. Certainly in my reflections as a pastor, we have wonderful people in our parish but I think about all of the people who aren’t there.”
Some of them may have been driven away by the recent sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Church. Those things, the new bishop said, cannot happen again.
“I certainly believe it can never be business as usual again in the Church,” he said, “that we must always look to support and protect the vulnerable in our midst. And obviously children and teens fall into that category.”
Still, the new bishop sees his heightened role as a challenge.
“I am grateful to Pope Francis for presenting me with this challenge as bishop of Grand Rapids,” he said. “And his choice to me is a vote of confidence that enables me to look forward to being the bishop for and with this Catholic community. I deeply appreciate the very warm welcome and enthusiastic welcome I have received from Bishop Hurley. He has extended that to me from the very first day he learned of my assignment. And it is not really too early to acknowledge his fine work and to pay tribute to his wise and generous service to the people of this diocese for the past nearly eight years. I know he will be an invaluable help to me in the days ahead.
“When a new bishop comes, he comes with a different style, a different personality, a different background, a different set of points of emphasis. I certainly intend to build upon the very fine work of first Bishop Rose and then Bishop Hurley so there would be an organic development in terms of continuing to bring the Church forward and continuing to grow in vibrancy and effectiveness in proclaiming the Gospel.”
The people of the diocese have been on Fr. Walkowiak’s mind and heart ever since he learned on the Tuesday of Holy Week that he was to be the shepherd of the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
“Ever since I learned of my appointment as your bishop, I have been praying for the priests, deacons, the seminarians, the religious and lay faithful of this diocese,” he said. “And I am eager to meet with you, to work with you, to serve you and to care for you as we move forward together.
“In regard to the role of women in the Church, in my years of experience as a priest, I have had many women who are colleagues and co-workers and I have collaborated with them and I believe they are very important and have a great role to play. We think of the religious orders, of course, that have greatly blessed this country in so many ways and in so many apostolates, and, of course, the very good and necessary development of the lay ministry has been a blessing to the churches of the United States. I assume those things are alive and well and will continue to grow here.”
One guiding light, he said, will be the man who named him a bishop.
Pope Francis, he said, “certainly has caught the attention of the world, for the very radical simplicity of the life he leads. It is something we all find attractive. I am sure we feel our lives are complex and we carry a lot of baggage around that we shouldn’t have to deal with. We all wish life would be simpler. Really what he is doing is pointing out to us something that is very important for spirituality, which is really a movement toward detachment and to create space so God can enter into our lives. … So I think the example of Pope Francis is going to have an impact on me and all of us, regardless of our vocation.”†