June 27, 2008

Saginaw Pilgrims Blog will keep tabs on area travelers to World Youth Day

Keep up-to-date with 70 pilgrims from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw on the Web at http://www.saginawpilgrims.blogspot.com/. They are traveling to the 2008 World Youth Day celebration in Syndey, Austrailia

The youth and young adults will update the site live from Down Under to share their experiences of faith as they ecounter the global community of the worldwide Church.

The group will leave Michigan on July 7 to participate in two weeks of WYD events that will culminate July 20 with Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

To learn more about WYD 2008 in Sydney, log onto http://www.wyd2008.org/.

U.S. Bishop's launch Pauline Year Website

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In time for the Year of St. Paul, beginning June 28, the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a website dedicated to the Pauline year honoring the 2000th anniversary of the birth of St. Paul.

The site is designed to provide resources and related materials to those interested in participating in and learning more about the year-long celebration.

The website contains links to dates and events for liturgical observances that will mark celebrations throughout the year. Several links connect directly to the Vatican website to provide access to documents, for example, which explain related plenary indulgences granted by Pope Benedict XVI and homilies he has delivered in anticipation of the Year of St. Paul; others explain guidelines for Votive Masses and provide readings and prayers for participants’ use in Holy Hour observances honoring St. Paul.

Monsignor Anthony Sherman, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship explained that growing interest among Catholics since Pope Benedict announced the Pauline Year a year ago has spurred the need for the website and greater access to information about the observance.

"Many dioceses have asked for resources for the Pauline Year and, through this website, we hope to provide practical and easy-to-use resources," Monsignor Sherman said. This includes a Spanish language version of the site, according to Monsignor Sherman, that should be ready over the next couple of weeks.

Pope Benedict announced the special observance in honor of St. Paul on June 28, 2007 at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls while celebrating First Vespers of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

The Secretariat’s Pauline Year website resources are available at www.usccb.org/liturgy.

July newsletter now available online

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw Monthly Newsletter for July 2008 is now available online.. Click here to sign up to have the newsletter sent each month to your e-mail.

June 23, 2008

Dublin is site of 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012

VATICAN CITY, (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday announced that the next International Eucharistic Congress will take place in 2012 in Dublin, capital of Ireland.

The Pope made the announcement during his homily, transmitted by satellite from the Vatican to thousands of faithful gathered on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec, for the closing Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, held in that Canadian city from 15 to 22 June. The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Cardinal Jozef Tomko, pontifical legate and president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses.

Commenting on the theme of the congress - "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world" - the Holy Father said: "The Eucharist is our most precious treasure. ... It is the Sacrament par excellence ... It contains all the mystery of our salvation, it is the source and the summit of the
activity and the life of the Church."

"It is, then," he continued, "particularly important that pastors and faithful should always seek a more profound understanding of this great Sacrament. Each will thus be able to strengthen his faith and better achieve his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling the fecundity of the Eucharist for his personal life, and for the life of the Church and the world."

"Participation in the Eucharist", said Pope Benedict, "does not distance us from our fellow man; quite the contrary, being the most exalted expression of God's love, it calls us to commit ourselves alongside our brothers and sisters to facing the challenges of the present and to making the planet a pleasant place to live. To this end, we must struggle tirelessly so that all people may be respected from conception to natural death, that our rich societies may welcome the poorest and restore their dignity, that everyone may feed themselves and their family, and that peace and justice may shine out on all continents."

The Pope, who had been speaking French, then pronounced a few words in English: "I sincerely hope that this Congress will serve as an appeal to all the faithful to make a similar commitment to a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis, so that they themselves will gain a genuine Eucharistic awareness and will in turn teach children and young people to recognise the central mystery of faith and build their lives around it."

Read the entire Vatican Information Service story here.

Who fears God is never afraid

VATICAN CITY, (VIS) - On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"In today's Gospel," he said, "we find two invitations from Jesus: on the one hand, 'to have no fear' of men, and on the other 'to fear' God. Thus we are stimulated to reflect on the difference that exists between human fears and fear of God. Fear is a natural aspect of life. From childhood we experience forms of fear that then reveal themselves as imaginary and disappear; later other fears emerge which have specific roots in reality, these must be faced and overcome with human commitment and trust in God.

"But," the Pope added, "there exists - and above all today - a deeper form of fear, an existential fear, which sometimes spills over into anguish. It is born of a sense of emptiness, associated with a certain culture that is permeated with widespread theoretical and practical nihilism. Faced with the broad ... panorama of human fears, the Word of God is clear: those who 'fear' God 'are not afraid.' Fear of God, which Scripture defines as 'the beginning of true hope,' means to have faith in Him, and sacred respect for His authority over life and over the world."

"Those who fear God are serene even amidst the storms because God, as Jesus revealed to us, is a Father full of mercy and goodness. Those who love Him are not afraid. ... Believers, then, are afraid of nothing, because they know they are in the hands of God, they know that evil and the irrational will not have the last word, but that the one Lord of the world and of life is Christ, the Word of God incarnate."

Finally, the Pope turned his attention to St. Paul who, "strong in the presence of Christ and comforted by His love, did not even fear martyrdom."

Then, recalling that on June 28 he will inaugurate a Jubilee Year commemorating the 2,000th anniversary of the birth of the Apostle of the Gentiles, the Holy Father concluded: "May this great spiritual and pastoral event also arouse in us a renewed faith in Jesus Christ Who calls us to announce and bear witness to His Gospel, without fear."

June 19, 2008

SAGINAW -- A crew from the Midland-based Bierlein Construction works to bring down the final corner of the former St. Mary Cathedral School building on Wednesday afternoon. The school, which was raised in 1920, closed its doors to students in 1984 when it merged with Saginaw's SS. Peter & Paul and St. Stephen high schools to form Nouvel Catholic Central High School on Wieneke Road in Saginaw Township. It was later sold to a tri-city jobs program in 1988, but has sat abandoned since 1990. The demolition is part of the on-going St. Mary Cathedral campus renewal effort, the Restoration & Design Project for the Cathedral Campus.

June 17, 2008

5 priests to celebrate jubilees on June 23

SAGINAW – Five Catholic Diocese of Saginaw priests will be honored during a special Mass to mark significant jubilee anniversaries of their ordination at 4 p.m. on June 23 at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Bay City.

This year’s jubilarians include:

  • Father Michael L. Maher, 60 years

  • Father Joseph W. Roach, 60 years

  • Father Richard C. Ratajczak, 50 years

  • Father Joseph D. Ryan, 50 years

  • Father Peter J. Gaspeny, 25 years

2 new pastoral assignments announced

SAGINAW – Bishop Robert J. Carlson has announced the following pastoral assignments for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, each effective July 1:

Carol Hale from staff at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Essexville, to pastoral administrator for St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Ithaca, and St. Martin de Porres Parish, Perrinton.

Father Robert Howe from pastor for St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Shepherd, St. Leo Parish, Winn, and St. Patrick Parish, Irishtown, to pastor for Sacred Heart Parish, Bad Axe, St. Joseph Parish, Rapson, and Most Holy Trinity Parish, Smith Corners.

Nineteen other pastoral assignments were previously announced May 20.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw includes 106 parishes and 26 schools located across 11 mid-Michigan counties.

Events marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Pius XII, the World War II pope

VATICAN CITY, (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present two initiatives to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Servant of God Pope Pius XII: a congress on his Magisterium and a photographic exhibition.

Participating in the conference were bishop Salvatore Fisichella, rector of Rome's Pontifical Lateran University; Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda S.J., rector of Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University; Msgr. Walter Brandmuller, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; Giovanni Maria Vian, director of the "Osservatore Romano" newspaper, and Giovanni Morello, president of the Foundation for the Artistic Patrimony and Activity of the Church.

Referring to Pius XII and the years of his pontificate (1939-1958), Bishop Fisichella highlighted the Pontiff's "great stature, especially in spiritual terms, but also intellectually and diplomatically."

"Various different historical situations of great significance came together in the life of Pius XII," he said: "the genocide of the Jews, the communist occupation of various Christian nations, the Cold War, new advances of science, and the innovations of certain schools of theology."

Bishop Fisichella pointed out that, although many aspects of the pontificate have already been studied, "what remains largely unknown is Pius XII's influence on Vatican Council II." In this context, he mentioned the 43 Encyclicals "which marked his pontificate, and the many discourses in which he examined the most controversial questions of his time.

"In this Magisterium,",Bishop Fisichella added, "it is easy to identify certain particular traits which we may summarise in three points: firstly the promotion of doctrine, the definition of the dogma of the Assumption in 1950 being particularly memorable; ... secondly defending doctrine and indicating errors," such as in the Encyclical Humani Generis of 1950 where Pope Pius examines "the serious problem of theological relativism. ... Finally," said Bishop Fischella, "Pius XII never failed to make his voice heard clearly and explicitly when circumstances required it."

June 13, 2008

All Saints freshmen rank top MEAP scores among Catholic schools in state

Forty-four ninth-grade students at All Saints Central High School have proven they have the right stuff when it comes to history, geography and civics.

That's because 97.7 percent of them met or exceeded state standards on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program social studies test - more than any other Catholic school in Michigan, making them No. 1 in the state.

Read all of Patti Brandt's story in The Bay City Times.

June 11, 2008

Demolition of former St. Mary Cathedral School will begin Monday

Bierlein construction workers remove a “St. Mary’s” name stone from its perch over an entrance to the former St. Mary Cathedral School in Saginaw. Bierlein crews will begin demolition of the building on Monday, June 16. The school, which was built in 1920, closed its doors to students in 1984 when the city’s three Catholic high schools merged to form Nouvel Catholic Central. It was later sold to a tri-city’s jobs program in 1988, which abandoned the property in 1990. The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw repurchased the property in September 2007 with the help of Neighborhood Renewal Services. An extensive renovation feasibility study determined the building was beyond repair and would have to be demolished. The school’s corner stone, “St. Mary’s” name stones and concrete crosses that overlooked the building’s entrances are being saved. The diocese also will put aside a limited number of bricks from the demolition to make available to St. Mary Cathedral School alumni. The razing of the former school is part of an ongoing Cathedral Campus Renewal Project.

Obituary for Fr. Francis Welsmiller

Father Francis F. Welsmiller, 91, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw and founding director of the Casa San José de los Huerfanos orphanage in Colima, Mexico, died Thursday, June 5, 2008 at home in Bradenton, Fla.

Father Welsmiller was born on March 5, 1917 in Saginaw, son of Frances (Lengst) and Frederick Welsmiller. He was baptized at Sacred Heart Parish in Saginaw and attended Sacred Heart and St. Mary Cathedral schools in Saginaw.

He studied for the priesthood at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids, St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md., and Our Lady of Angels Seminary (Niagara University) in New York. He was ordained on June 3, 1944 by Bishop William F. Murphy at St. Mary Cathedral.

Within the Diocese of Saginaw, Father Welsmiller served as chaplain of St. Mary’s Hospital in Saginaw and as assistant pastor at SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Saginaw, St. Bernard Parish in Alpena and SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Ruth.

In 1951, he left Michigan to take residence in a warmer and dryer climate due to health reasons and ministered in California and Florida.

In 1973, he founded the Casa San José home for orphans and homeless, abused, and disadvantaged children ages 2 to 17. He served as the home’s director for more than 25 years.

Father Welsmiller’s funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at St. Bernard Parish in Holmes Beach, Fla. He will be buried near his parents at the Skyway Memorial Gardens in Palmetto, Fla.

Memorial donations may be made to the St. Joseph Family Foundation, 2412 Clark Ave., Bradenton, FL 34207, to benefit Casa San José.

(In the photo: Father Welsmiller is seen with a group of children at the Casa San José de los Huerfanos orphanage in Colima, Mexico, in 1994.)