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.”
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.†
GAYLORD — In 1985 Blessed John Paul II designated Palm Sunday as World Youth Day. While each year World Youth Day is celebrated in local dioceses, an international event is held every two to three years. This July a delegation of 23 young adults from the Diocese of Gaylord, led by Bishop Bernard A. Hebda, will journey to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to be with Pope Francis and millions of young Catholics from around the world for World Youth Day.
The week-long event encourages young peoplewho often struggle with issues of faith to embrace more deeply that which makes the Catholic faith unique and special. Pilgrims spend their days praying together, engaging in faith-sharing, and expanding their knowledge and understanding through catechetical sessions. The hope is that they will come experience being a part of the Universal Church in a new and very concrete way. In the past, World Youth Day pilgrims have often returned to their homes reenergized and reinvigorated by the Holy Spirit. Given the surge of vocations that has traditionally followed the international World Youth Day gatherings, the experience has often been referred to as a “laboratory of vocations.”
During his homily on Palm Sunday this year, Pope Francis addressed the young people who will be attending the celebration in Brazil in July. Inviting the pilgrims to prepare themselves spiritually so that the “gathering in Rio may be a sign of faith for the whole world,” the Holy Father encouraged the young adults to “tell the world: ‘It is good to follow Jesus; it is good to go with Jesus; the message of Jesus is good; it is good to come out of ourselves, from the edges of existence of the world and to bring Jesus to others!’”
In an effort to help young adults from our diocese participate this year, a scholarship fund has been set up in the hope of raising sufficient funds to provide assistance of up to $2,000 (one-half of the total cost) to those in need. At a recent meeting, Bishop Hebda recalled that youth groups in Rome would often make palm crosses to sell on the the streets near the Vatican on Palm Sunday to raise funds. Fr. Peter Wigton, who is coordinating the pilgrims from the Diocese of Gaylord, came up with a simple design which could be handcrafted by our young adults. Medals blessed by Pope Francis, brought back from Rome by Bishop Hebda ,were added to most of the crosses. In less than two weeks, approximately 2,000 of the crosses were made.
Eighteen parishes allowed the young adults to collect donations for the World Youth Day Scholarship Fund on Palm Sunday. In appreciation for their gift, each person who made a donation received one of the unique palm crosses.
“The response was both overwhelming and humbling,” said Fr. Wigton. “Most parishes ran out of the crosses; people were really wonderful.”
When the counting was completed, more than $13,000 had been raised through the generosity of parishioners.
However, there still remains additional need. Therefore, beginning in the month of May, anyone who makes a donation of $10 or more to the Diocese of Gaylord’s World Youth Day Scholarship Fund will receive a hand-knotted single decade rosary chaplet made by the pilgrims who will be traveling to World Youth Day and their friends and family members. The chaplet is designed to be carried in a pocket, worn as a bracelet, or otherwise displayed as a reminder to take time to pray throughout each day. Available in five colors, each chaplet features a replica of the Papal Crucifix used by Blessed John Paul II. The crosses on the chaplets were also blessed by Pope Francis and brought back from Rome by Bishop Hebda.
Flyers explaining the fundraiser and displaying the chaplet colors available have been distributed to each parish and Catholic school and may be downloaded from the diocesan website at www.dioceseofgaylord.org.
For more information regarding the World Youth Day Scholarship Fund, please contact Danielle Parish, Administrator of Stewardship and Development at the diocese at (989) 732-5147 or Fr. Peter Wigton at (989) 732-5448. To learn more about World Youth Day, log on to www.rio2013.com/en.
Please keep the pilgrims in your prayers as they prepare for this spiritual journey.†
A native of Saginaw, Fr. Wachowiak, 55, attended elementary and high school there and continued his post-secondary education at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University before enrolling in Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis. where he received his master of divinity. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Gaylord at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord by Bishop Patrick R. Cooney on June 13, 1998.
While deeply respected for his ministry in the Diocese of Gaylord, Fr. Wachowiak has been feeling the need to return to his home diocese of Saginaw to be closer to his family.
“The last couple of years have been difficult as my parents aged and struggled with health issues. I have felt a strong need to be closer to them,” Fr. Wachowiak said. “After my mother passed away, I reached the decision that I really have to go home for a while. I’m really grateful to Bishop Hebda for his understanding and his pastoral heart. I’m also thankful for the opportunity given me by Bishop Cistone so that I will be able to continue to serve and minister to God’s people in the Diocese of Saginaw.”
In granting the leave, Bishop Hebda said, “I know Fr. Wachowiak has been discerning this for some time. It was not an easy decision and he knows he will be missed. He has done tremendous work in our diocese and I am already looking forward to the day when Fr. Wachowiak will return. In the meantime, he and his family will continue to be in my prayers.”
In the Diocese of Gaylord, Fr. Wachowiak’s first priestly assignment was as associate pastor at St. Mary-St. Charles Parish in Cheboygan. In June 2000, he was asked by Bishop Cooney to pursue graduate studies in liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. In August 2000, he was appointed administrator of Christ the King Parish in Acme while serving part time in the secretariat for worship and liturgical formation for the diocese. When he graduated with a masters degree in theology with concentration in liturgy in 2002, he was appointed director of the diocesan secretariat for worship and liturgical formation and sacramental minister for St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Mackinaw City. In 2005, he was appointed pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Boyne City and St. Augustine Parish in Boyne Falls while continuing to serve as the director of worship for the diocese. In 2008, he was appointed pastor of a third parish, St. John Nepomucene in Praga.
In 2004, Fr. Wachowiak was named to the board of directors for Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners and as the diocesan representative and a member of the board of directors of the federation of diocesan liturgical commissions. He also currently serves as vicar of the central region vicariate.
To meet the pastoral needs of the faithful of Boyne City, Boyne Falls and Praga, Bishop Hebda has appointed Patty Furtaw to serve as pastoral administrator for the three parishes, effective July 1. She has served with Fr. Wachowiak since 2006, as pastoral associate and director of faith formation.
In addition, Fr. Donald Geyman, director of vocations for the Diocese of Gaylord, has been appointed sacramental minister for the parishes while continuing his vocations duties. Fr. Geyman already has taken up residence at St. Matthew in Boyne City and is looking forward to meeting the parishioners of all three parishes.†
WASHINGTON D.C. (CNS) — People are starting to make plans now, if they haven’t done so already for summer trips and vacations to the beach or the shore, time off from work to spend with the children who are home from school. This summer, some Catholics also are trying to include Year of Faith activities into their plans.
For some, it means finally finding a nook of time to learn how to read the Liturgy of the Hours or the “lectio divina,” the sacred reading of Scripture.
For those with children who may not be at reading level, it means teaching them a new prayer, explaining an easy-to-understand aspect of the catechism. In any form, as Pope Benedict XVI said in 2011 while announcing the Year of Faith, we must find a way of receiving spiritual food based on the word of God. Rest and recreation, which we seek in summer, all are important to our well-being, but we also need what Pope Benedict called “the bread of life.”
It is part of a renewal, of “the need to go to the well, like the Samaritan woman, in order to hear Jesus, who invites us to believe in him and to draw upon the source of living water welling up within him,” as Pope Benedict said.†
GAYLORD — Since 1998, the national collection for Catholic Home Missions has been a powerful expression of stewardship and our Catholic communion. Catholics from parishes across the United States give generously to offer desperately needed help to the Mission Church here at home.
While a special collection will be held in many parishes across the country the weekend of April 27-28, 2013, in the Diocese of Gaylord, the Catholic Home Missions Collection is supported by gifts to the annual the Catholic Services Appeal (CSA).
The focus of Catholic Home Missions is to provide grants to strengthen the Catholic Church in the United States and its territories by helping mission dioceses fund essential ministries, including pastoral programs, catechesis, youth ministry and seminary formation. The Diocese of Gaylord has been blessed to receive a total $210,000 over the past three years to assist with seminarian formation, faith development, Hispanic ministry and technology.
Each parish is part of the Church Universal; it is the Catholic Church in a particular place. The bishops of the United States created the national collections so that, by combining resources, we can more effectively carry out our mission as Catholics. Each of these important collections is worthy of your support. Each collection represents our community of faith at work in the world, saving souls and improving lives.
The bishops encourage us to view the national collections in the light of stewardship and of sharing. God has given us our light and our prosperity, all we need and more. It is right and just that we give something back through these collections, helping people in our own country and around the world to live better and to grow in the love of Jesus.
By giving to the Catholic Home Missions Collection, our Catholic brothers and sisters across the country stand in solidarity with us and other dioceses that face unique challenges in ministry. We do the same through our support of the Catholic Services Appeal, responding as good stewards of the gifts received by God. A portion of our gifts to CSA are forwarded for use by Catholic Home Missions as well as most of the other national and international collections of the Universal Catholic Church.
The Catholic Home Missions Collection is administered by the Committee on the Home Missions, a division of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. To learn more about Home Missions funding and who it helps, please visit www.usccb.org/nationalcollections.†
Gaylord Knights of Columbus Council 2781 recently presented checks from funds raised during their annual Tootsie Roll Drive. Andrea Sarto accepted $1,808.53 on behalf of North Country Community Mental Health from K. of C. grand knight Ed Woycik (center). Sarto said the donation helps to fund special events such as parties, dinners and social events that would otherwise not be able to take place. At the same time, a check in the amount of $1,539.18 was presented to Bishop Bernard A. Hebda (right) for Diocese of Gaylord for ministry to those who are mentally challenged. A third check in the amount of $500.23 is being donated to Michigan Special Olympics. The Tootsie Roll Drive was chaired this year by Bill Skibinski.
WHITTEMORE — Gwin Simpson, 21, in her third year at Saginaw Valley State University from Whittemore, recently completed a community service project that helped provide warmth to terminally-ill hospice patients around the state.
A member of East Tawas Holy Family Parish, who also is a SVSU resident assistant, Simpson helped to organize the making of tie blankets that were distributed during the last weeks of November to Hospice of Michigan patients living in the Mid-Michigan Area.
This one in a series of Lenten reflections.
By Sr. Joseph Marie Ruessmann
Special to The Catholic Weekly
Lent is a time to deepen our appreciation of the Eucharist. Lent focuses on Christ’s Passion and the Eucharist is intimately connected with the Passion. The Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist did not just happen on the night before Christ was crucified, as though Christ did not have a chance to do it earlier and wanted to do it before He died. Jesus’ words at the Last Supper themselves indicate the connection:
“Take, eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26)
“This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
“Drink of it (the cup), all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28)