December 16, 2009

Bishop Cistone names Fr. Byrne as Vicar for Catholic Schools

SAGINAW — Bishop Joseph R. Cistone today announced the appointment of Father Robert H. Byrne, pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish in Frankenmuth, as Vicar for Catholic Schools.

“Father Byrne brings a wealth of priestly, pastoral, educational and administrative experience to this position,” Bishop Cistone said.  “With Father Byrne serving as Vicar for Catholic Schools, I believe the diocese will have greater confidence as we move forward to assist our Catholic schools. We will also gain deeper insight from Father Byrne regarding the local situation and clearer direction as to the necessary measures which must be taken to improve our educational program both locally and as a diocese.” 

As Vicar for Catholic Schools, Father Byrne will serve as Bishop’s Cistone’s top representative to the 26 school communities located across the diocese and will advise the bishop on issues important to the success of Catholic schools. He will assist the bishop in evaluating candidates for the position of Superintendent of Catholic Schools and re-establishing a Catholic Schools Office at the Diocesan Center. He also will provide leadership and support to pastors, pastoral administrators, regional superintendents, principals, teachers and school committees and boards of all Catholic Schools in the diocese.

“I believe that the Catholic schools in our diocese are an important resource and I am willing to assist Bishop Cistone in every way that I can to support and strengthen our schools,” Father Byrne said. 

Father Byrne, 62, grew up in Saginaw County’s Maple Grove Township, where he attended St. Michael Parish and School. He received his secondary education from the former St. Paul Seminary (now Nouvel Catholic Central High School) in Saginaw and further seminary formation at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 20, 1975 by Bishop Francis F. Reh at St. Michael Church in Maple Grove. 

Father Byrne served as a professor of moral theology, medical ethics, and marriage theology at the former St. John Seminary in Plymouth from 1978 to 1980 and rector of that same seminary from 1980 to 1988. He also served as pastor at Holy Spirit Parish in Shields from 1989 to 1999 and Sacred Heart Parish in Mt. Pleasant from 1999 to 2008.  

He currently serves, and will continue to serve, as pastor of Frankenmuth’s Blessed Trinity Parish, where he has been assigned since July 2008, and as a columnist for the diocese’s quarterly FAITH Saginaw magazine, which began printing in January 2007. 

For more information about today’s announcement, visit Bishop Cistone’s blog, "Father of Mercy and Love." 

The Diocese of Saginaw was established in 1938 by Pope Pius XI and includes 105 parish communities with 22 elementary schools, one middle school and three high schools located across 11 counties in mid-Michigan.

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