December 22, 2010

Bishop Cistone's Christmas Greeting for 2010

Bishop Cistone will celebrate three holiday Masses, including Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw. His Christmas Mass schedule includes the following times and locations:
  • 6:00 p.m. on December 24 at St. John Vianney, 6400 McCarty Rd, Saginaw.
  • 12:00 a.m. on December 25 at St. Mary Cathedral, 615 Hoyt Ave., Saginaw.
  • 10:00 a.m. on December 25 at Immaculate Conception, 708 Sanderson St., St. Charles.

December 13, 2010

Obituary for Fr. Lawrence M. Pashak

SAGINAW – The Rev. Lawrence (Larry) M. Pashak, 74, pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland, died Saturday, December 11, 2010 at home in his rectory.

He was born on Aug. 12, 1936, in Beaver Twp., the ninth child of Nellie J. (McNally) and Henry B. Pashak. He attended St. Valentine School in Beaver Twp. and received his secondary education from St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids. He went on to further priestly formation at St. Mary Seminary in Orchard Lake and St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth. Father Pashak was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1963 by Bishop Stephen S. Woznicki at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

For his first priestly assignment, Father Pashak served as assistant pastor at St. Anne Parish in Alpena, where he also ministered as a teacher and counselor at Catholic Central High School. He later served as assistant pastor at St. Hyacinth Parish in Bay City and assistant pastor at the Cathedral in Saginaw. In 1967, he was assigned as pastor at St. Philip Neri Parish in Coleman and St. Anne Parish in Edenville, where he remained until 1971 when he took leave of the Diocese to pursue a year of graduate studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Upon the completion of his studies, Father Pashak returned to the Diocese to serve as pastor at St. Mary Parish in Hemlock and its former mission of Guardian Angels in Nelson while also working as the vice chancellor of the Diocese. From 1977 to 1980, he served as chancellor of the Diocese. He then was assigned as pastor of St. Mark Parish in Au Gres (1980 – 1988) and St. Hyacinth Parish in Bay City (1988 – 1994). He had served as pastor of St. Agnes Parish in Freeland since 1994.

In addition to his diocesan assignments, Father Pashak also served as chaplain of the Knights of Columbus on the diocesan and state level. He also was the chaplain for the Michigan State Police. Father Pashak enjoyed various hobbies including "chief cook" at family gatherings, taking care of the flowers around the church and going on casino bus trips.

He survived by four sisters and a brother: Patricia O’Connor, Henrietta Wurdock, both of Bay City, Mary Lucille Thiel of Midland, Cecelia Doan of Charlevoix, and Paul (Janet) Pashak of Bay City, two sisters in-law: Trinidad Pashak of Texas, Marie Pashak of Bentley, many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. He was predeceased by five brothers: James, Denis, Vincent, Jerome, and Henry Pashak Jr. and three brothers in-law: Clarence Wurdock, Raymond O’Connor, and Ralph Doan Sr.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, December 17, 2010 at St. Agnes Church, 300 Johnson St., Freeland. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw will preside. The Rev. James W. Bessert will preach the homily. A private burial will take place at later a later time at Calvary Cemetery in Kawkawlin.

Visitation will take place from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2010, at St. Hyacinth Church, 1515 Cass Ave., Bay City. The Transfer of the Body to Lie in State will precede the visitation time at 1:00 p.m. with the Rev. Ronald F. Wagner presiding. At 7:00 p.m., Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus will lead at Rosary & Chalice Presentation.

Visitation also will take place from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, 2010, at St. Agnes Church, 300 Johnson St., Freeland. The Transfer of the Body to Lie in State will precede the visitation time at 1:00 p.m. with the Rev. T.J. Fleming presiding. A Vigil Liturgy will take place at 7:00 p.m. with the Rev. Ricky M. Varner presiding.

A final visitation time will take place from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., prior to the Funeral Mass, on December 17 at St. Agnes Church.

Arraignments have been entrusted to the Ambrose Funeral Home of Bay City.

December 9, 2010

National Vocation Awareness Week to Be Celebrated January 9-15

For Your

WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States will celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, January 9-15.

The week begins on the Church’s celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 9 in 2011.The feast marks the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry.

Vocations week celebrates vocations to the priesthood, diaconate or consecrated life in particular. During these days families and the parish community are urged to nurture the faith of their children to prepare them to respond to whatever God’s call is for them.

"National Vocation Awareness Week gives parishes across the country a chance to promote vocations through prayer and education," said Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, chairman of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). "It is our responsibility to encourage young people to be generous as they discern the possibility of a call to service in the Church. Parents, families and parish communities must be involved in this work, since vocations recruitment is everyone’s responsibility. All need to foster a culture of vocations."

Father Shawn McKnight, executive director of the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations (CCLV), noted the many voices that can communicate God’s call.

"Just as Jesus needed to hear with his human ears the voice of the Father, so our young people need to hear words of encouragement from parents, other family members, friends and the parish. God’s call comes through the Church in this way."

To support efforts during Vocations week, a special prayer card and suggested prayers of the faithful and bulletin-ready quotes, are available from the USCCB vocations website or

"One reason some young people do not consider a call to the priesthood or consecrated life is the fact that they were never asked," said Sister Mary Joanna Ruhland, RSM, Associate Director of CCLV. "There are many ways to help young people see the beauty and joy of these vocations. Catechists are in a key position to do so. Materials to assist them can also be found on the USCCB website."

The observance of National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) began in 1976 when the National Conference of Catholic Bishops designated the 28th Sunday of the year as the beginning of NVAW. In 1997, this celebration was moved to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

December 6, 2010

Religious Leaders Voice Shared Commitment to Protect Marriage

WASHINGTON — Leaders of some of the largest religious communities in the United States have come together to express their commitment toward the protection of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In an open letter released today, entitled “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Sikh communities in the United States affirmed the importance of preserving marriage’s unique meaning.

“The broad consensus reflected in this letter—across great religious divides—is clear: The law of marriage is not about imposing the religion of anyone, but about protecting the common good of everyone,” said Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, newly elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and one of the letter’s signers. “People of any faith or no faith at all can recognize that when the law defines marriage as between one man and one woman, it legally binds a mother and a father to each other and their children, reinforcing the foundational cell of human society.”

The release of this letter comes the same morning that oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case are set to begin. In August, Judge Vaughn Walker had ruled California’s Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, based in part on the claim that defining marriage as between a man and a woman lacked any rational basis at all, and instead reflected nothing but religion-based hostility to homosexual persons. This ruling has been appealed and its hearing is scheduled for today, December 6.

“Today is the moment to stand for marriage and its unchangeable meaning. We hope this letter will encourage just that,” Archbishop Dolan said. “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment” is being circulated nationwide. Downloadable PDF versions of the letter can be found at A backgrounder on the statement can be found at

Full text of the letter and signers can be found here.

December 3, 2010

Our Lady of Guadalupe Novena begins today

Each December, parishes across the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw participate in a Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas.

Action Alert: Support Needed for DREAM Act

Next Wednesday, December 8, the United States House of Representatives is scheduled to debate immigration legislation that would allow for students brought into this country at a young age to apply for full citizenship. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with its sister immigration organization Justice for Immigrants, is supporting this bill and asking for your support as well.

More information about the DREAM Act, along with a message for your U.S. congressperson, can be found at the Catholic Legislative Advocacy Network. Please take a brief moment to read about this important legislation and contact your elected official in Washington to support the bill.

Additional information about DREAM may be found by clicking here.

November 12, 2010

DoS Priests in Rome with St. Peter

ROME - Five diocesan priests have been on pilgrimage at the banks of the Tiber this week.

The Rev. Richard Bokinski, the Rev. James Carlson, the Rev. Ronald Dombrowski, and the Rev. Richard Jozwiak joined the Rev. Thomas McNamara, who won a trip to the Italian Capital from the Kansas-based Fireside Catholic Publishing as part of its celebration of the “Year of the Priest.”

The pilgrims met up with two of their brother priests from the Diocese of Saginaw - the Rev. José Maria Cabrera and the Rev. Denis Heames, - who have been studying at the Gregorian University since 2009.

Father José Maria shared these two photos above and the note below with the Communications Office after the seven brothers shared some time together:

We had the wonderful opportunity to have a great time together here in Rome. The priests were at Casa Santa Maria (Father Denis and Father José's home) on Sunday for Mass. Father Denis presided at Mass. Then pranzo (lunch). We had dinner to Bishop Cistone's health (Salute!) in a restaurant right in front of the Church of St. Ignatius; this was on Monday. Then on Tuesday, we celebrated Mass at the Clementine Chapel in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica. In fact, in the picture you can see the back wall behind a grill, that's St. Peter's sarcofagus! It was a powerful experience of prayer and unity. We prayed for all the people of the Diocese of Saginaw. Blessings, Father José Maria

Bishops Announce Framework for Rebuilding the Church in Haiti, Present Haitian Bishops’ New Building Agency

WASHINGTON — At their Fall General Assembly, November 15-18, the U.S. bishops will receive an update on the situation in Haiti and the U.S. Catholic Church’s emergency relief efforts so far, as well as plans to aid long-term reconstruction, including rebuilding of Church structures.

As it begins funding of Church reconstruction projects in Haiti, the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recently adopted two documents that will help guide the work of the Subcommittee in this regard.

The first document outlines the overall vision for Church collaboration and was issued by a gathering of bishops from around the world, including all Haitian diocesan bishops, Catholic Relief Services and other Church aid agencies during a meeting in Miami at the end of September.

The gathering called for a comprehensive view of development. "We aim to build up every Haitian man and woman in his or her totality: physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually," the Final Statement said.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, chairman of USCCB Haiti Advisory Group hosted the meeting. "The key element in moving forward is unity," Wenski said. "That means we need to get on the same page, especially about how we’re going to rebuild."

The Advisory Group has been charged with distributing $33 million collected for Church needs from the Special Collection taken up in dioceses across the United States immediately after January’s earthquake. This amount represents 40 percent of the total amount collected which totaled $83 million. The remaining 60 percent of the funds were assigned to Catholic Relief Services for humanitarian relief and development work.

"The generosity of American Catholics has been non-stop since the earthquake and we want to provide a mechanism that we can all use to help the Haitians rebuild in a reliable, transparent, accountable way," said Archbishop Wenski.

At the General Assembly, the U.S. bishops also will hear about the formation of a reconstruction and building unit, housed within the Haitian Conference of Catholic Bishops, called "PROCHE." This entity was approved by the Haitian bishops also in September.

A French and Creole word that means "close by," PROCHE is also an acronym for Proximité Catholique avec Haïti et son Eglise (Catholic closeness with Haiti and her Church).

Designed to serve as a central coordination point, PROCHE will bring together a wide range of stakeholders, including affected Haitians, Church personnel, donors, engineers and others. It will support reconstruction priorities across dioceses, coordinate projects within dioceses, and ensure timely completion of projects built to international standards and within agreed-upon budgets.

"In all my years of working with Haiti, I’ve never seen the type of collaboration between different parts of the Church as I’ve seen since the earthquake," said Archbishop Wenski, who will brief the entire body of bishops on the global Church’s plans to rebuild church infrastructure during the November meeting of the USCCB in Baltimore. "I will ask the bishops to help motivate other Catholics interested in helping Haiti so that we can pool our talents and our treasure in favor of the Church in Haiti."
To assist in this process, the Haitian Bishops have also issued a document entitled Partners in Mission which contains a set of guidelines for groups and parishes engaged in “twinning” relationships between Haiti and the Church around the world.

In the months ahead, Catholic Relief Services will assist the U.S. bishops in reaching out to dioceses, colleges and parishes in the United States to strengthen existing ties between the Church in the United States and the Church in Haiti.

Both documents and other information about plans to help the Church in Haiti can be found at

November 11, 2010

On Veteran's Day ...

Let us pray for our brothers and sisters as they go forth with courage and determination to face the forces of violence, weapons of destruction and hearts filled with hate.

4For our Commander-In-Chief, President Obama, and our political and military leaders that they may tirelessly seek peaceful settlements to international disputes; we pray to the Lord:

4 That the Lord may preserve the members of our Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force from all harm; we pray to the Lord:

4 That even in war, we may keep clearly before us the defense of all human rights, especially the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; we pray to the Lord:

4 That the families, relatives and friends of our military members may be strengthened in this time of concern and anxiety; we pray to the Lord:

4 That the Lord may help families with men and women in the armed forces to cope with daily challenges in the absence of their loved ones; we pray to the Lord:

4 That our homeland will be preserved from violence and terrorism; we pray to the Lord:

4 That the nations of the world will seek to work together in harmony and peace; we pray to the Lord:

4 That the hearts of all men and women will be moved to pursue true peace and justice; we pray to the Lord:

4 That violence may be overcome by peace; that weapons of destruction be transformed into tools of justice, and hate give way to true charity; we pray to the Lord:

4 That grateful for and inspired by those veterans who have given their lives for our country we may bravely face the challenges ahead; we pray to the Lord:

Lord God, Almighty Father,creator of mankind and author of peace,as we are ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess,we ask you to bless the members of our armed forces.Give them courage, hope and strength.May they ever experience your firm support, gentle love and compassionate healing.Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light. To you be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever. Amen

Add your Veterans to our prayers on our Facebook page.

Find these prayers for our troops and more from the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship.

November 10, 2010

Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors membership announced

SAGINAW - The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, today announced the membership for the Presbyteral Council and College of Consultors for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

"Last year, I reviewed the existing structure of these two bodies," Bishop Cistone wrote in a memo to priests, deacons and pastoral administrators. "In order to ensure that they were formed in accord with Canon Law and that the Presbyteral Council had suitable, elected representation, I promulgated revised bylaws for these two bodies, after consultation with and advisement from the existing Council and College. As a result, new elections for the Presbyteral Council took place during the summer and, subsequently, I appointed new Consultors from among this newly established body."

Bishiop Cistone was installed as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw in July 2009.


The membership of the Presbyteral Council is as follows:

Rev. Thomas J. McNamara, Vicar General (Ex Officio)
Rev. Ronald F. Wagner, Vicar for Priests (Ex Officio)

Rev. Patrick M. Jankowiak, Vicarite 1 (Term ends July, 2012)
Rev. James E. Falsey, Vicarite 2 (Term ends July, 2012)
Rev. Peter J. Gaspeny, Vicarite 3 (Term ends July, 2012)
Rev. Robert S. Gohm, Vicarite 4 (Term ends July, 2013)
Rev. Thomas J. Fleming, Vicarite 5 (Term ends July, 2013)
Rev. James G. Heller, Vicarite 6 (Term ends July, 2014)
Rev. Robert Howe, Vicarite 7 (Term ends July, 2013)
Rev. Charles Hammond, Vicarite 8 (Term ends July, 2014)
Rev. Frederick J. Kawka, Senior Priests (Term ends July, 2014)

Rev. Robert H. Byrne (Term ends July, 2014)
Rev. William J. Rutkowski (Term ends July, 2013)
Rev. Prentice A. Tipton (Term ends July, 2012)

Consultants (Regional Vicars)
Rev. John Cotter, Vicarite 1
Rev. James E. Falsey, Vicarite 2
Rev. Peter J. Gaspeny, Vicarite 3**
Rev. Craig L. Albrecht, Vicarite 4
Rev. Richard Bokinskie, Vicarite 5
Rev. Randy Kelly, Vicarite 6
Rev. Robert Pare, Vicarite 7
Rev. William J. Gruden, Vicarite 8
** Designates Voting Member


The following priests will serve as members of the College of Consultors, effective November 9, 2010, for a period of five years or until a new College is established:

Rev. Robert H. Byrne
Rev. Peter J. Gaspeny
Rev. Frederick J. Kawka
Rev. Thomas J. McNamara
Rev. William J. Rutkowski
Rev. Ronald F. Wagner

Fr. David Parsch welcomed into Hall of Honor

LAPEER - The Lapeer Alumni Association inducted four new members into its Alumni Hall of Honor on Sunday during an afternoon ceremony at the Lapeer East High School

Distinguished graduates for 2010 include Ronald L. Reamer, Class of 1955; Linda Moore Priestap, Class of 1963; Rev. David Parsch, Class of 1964; and Kevin M. Daley, Class of 1975.

Father Parsch was ordained to the priesthood for the Cathoilc Diocese of Saginaw in 1980. He currently serves as pastor at Holy Spirit Parish in Shields, where he has been assigned since 1999.

Read more about the Lapeer Alumni Association award at the Lapeer Community Schools blog.

November 5, 2010

DoS is All About Women

If you are going to the All About Women Expo today or tomorrow at the at the SVSU Ryder Cetner, be sure to visit the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw Respect Life booth.

DoS All Saints Photo Constest

St. Aloysius Gonzaga was chosen as the winner of the ALL SAINTS PHOTO CONTEST hosted this week on the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw's Facebook Page. Visit us on Facebook to see some of the other entries and Honorable Mentions.

November 4, 2010

Rest in Peace: DoS Bishop, Priests, Deacons Gather to Pray for Their Deceased Brothers

Following All Saints Day, Nov. 1, and All Souls Day, Nov. 2, Bishop Joseph R. Cistone and clergy of the diocese gathered today, as they do annually, at the Center for Ministry in Saginaw to celebrate Mass and pray for the souls of deceased Bishops, Priests, and Deacons who have served in the Diocese of Saginaw since it was established in 1938.

In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May angels lead you into Paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your coming and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May a choir of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, may you have eternal rest.

Our Bishops
Bishop William F. Murphy
Bishop Stephen S. Woznicki
Bishop Francis F. Reh
Bishop Kenneth E. Untener
Bishop Kenneth J. Povish
Cardinal James A. Hickey

Our Priests
Fr. George S.Artman
Fr. Joseph V. Barrette
Fr. Cornelius A. Bates
Fr. Louis T. Bauchard
Fr. Joseph O. Bauer
Fr. Albert S. Baumann
Fr. Michael J. Bell
Fr. Elmer J. Betzing
Fr. Henry S. Bobeck
Fr. John J. Boguslawski
Msgr. Harold J. Bolton
Fr. Anthony O. Bosler
Fr. Anthony C. Bourdow
Fr. Lucien Bourget
Fr. John J. Bozek
Msgr. Charles W. Burkhardt
Fr. Anthony Busuttil
Fr. Carl R. Cahill
Fr. Edward A. Caldwell
Fr. Joseph A. Castanier
Fr. Donald L. Christensen
Fr. Robert J. Couillard
Fr. Glenn W. Cronkite
Fr. Joseph L. Culligan
Fr. James C. Czachorski
Fr. Robert W. Davey
Msgr. George O. Dequoy
Fr. Jeffrey J. Donner
Fr. Leo S. Dorsey
Fr. Joseph J. Dudek
Fr. Donald G. Dueweke
Fr. Robert J. Duggan
Fr. Henry P. DuRussel
Fr. C. Henry Eickholt
Fr. Eustace Faucher
Fr. Joseph F. Favara
Fr. Paul Felchnerowski
Fr. R. Emmet Fitzpatrick
Fr. George W. Flanagan
Fr. William V. Flannery
Msgr. Eugene A. Forbes
Fr. James H. Frawley
Fr. Max J.V. Frego
Fr. Raymond S. Fron
Fr. Stanislaus A. Fron
Fr. Charles L. Ganley
Fr. George C. Garmyn
Msgr. John E. Gatzke
Fr. John F. Gentner
Fr. Joseph A Gorski
Fr. Larry H. Greiner
Fr. John F. Grinzinger
Fr. Aloysius P. Hafner
Fr. Sigmund J. Haremski
Fr. Harry J. Hart
Fr. Vincent J. Heaphy
Fr. John P. Hoogterp
Msgr. Thomas R. Horton
Fr. Thomas C. Howard
Msgr. Joseph B. Illig
Fr. Francis A. Jurek
Fr. Bruno L. Kaczmarczyk
Fr. Francis A. Kaczmarek
Fr. Martin I. Kalahar
Fr. Joseph S. Kaminski
Msgr. Frank W. Kaufmann
Fr. Joseph J. Kearns
Fr. Charles W. Keho
Fr.. James D. Kenny
Fr. Stanley A. Kilar
Fr. Bernard J. Kirchman
Fr. Edwin A. Kirchoff
Fr. Camill F. Klos
Fr. Joseph V. Klunius
Fr. John T. Kolevar
Fr. Joseph S. Koper
Fr. Angelus M. Kopp
Fr. Francis S. Kozak
Fr. Stephen J. Kozak
Fr. Ladislaus P. Krakowski
Fr. Waclaw Krawczyk
Fr. Timothy Kroboth
Fr. Alphonse A. Kromka
Fr. Marian R. Kryszak
Fr. John J. Kucinski
Fr. Stanislaus Kuczas
Fr.. Michael J. Kujawa
Fr. Gerald F. Kukla
Fr. Leonard S. Kwasigroch
Fr. Alpha J. LaHaie
Fr. Eugene P. Labory
Fr. Theodore E. LaMarre
Fr. George Lavallee
Msgr. Edward A. Lefebvre
Fr. Godfrey H. Lenzen
Msgr. Joseph A. Lewandoski
Fr. Ceslaus L. Lipinski
Fr. Francis S. Lukowicz
Msgr. Charles A. Mahoney
Fr. James Malone
Fr. James J. Marvin
Fr. Ramon T. Matuszewski
Fr. Carl Mayes
Fr. Frederick J. Maynard
Fr. Eugene A. McCarthy
Msgr. John McCullough
Fr. Kryan E. McGinn
Fr. Oswald T. McGinn
Fr. Frank L. McLaughlin
Fr. Cornelius N. McEachin
Fr. Urban A. Miller
Fr. Joseph T. Morales
Fr. John A. Mulvey
Msgr. Olin J. Murdick
Msgr. Francis J. Murray
Fr. John W. Nagle
Fr. Adalbert Narloch
Fr. Stephen Narloch
Fr. Andrew Narloch
Fr. Robert G. Navarre
Fr. Robert F. Neuman
Fr. Clement M. Niedzwiecki
Fr. Ignatius L. O'Brien
Fr. Neil F. O'Connor
Fr. Sylvester J. O'Keefe
Fr. Charles H. O'Neil
Fr. Edward P. O'Reilly
Fr. Joseph D. O'Rourke
Fr. William J. O'Shea
Fr. Raymond C. Oswald
Fr. Aloysius J. O'Toole
Fr. Marion J. Pawlowski
Fr. Robert J. Pelletier
Fr. Francis J. Piaskowski
Fr. Leo J. Piaskowski
Msgr. Peter A. Pijnappels
Fr. Henry S. Podsiad
Fr. Richard L. Rabideau
Fr. Richard C. Ratajczak
Msgr. Ralph M. Richards
Msgr. Charles A. Roark
Fr. Peter M. Robertson
Fr. Robert E. Rock
Fr. John R. Rushman
Fr. Frederick W. Ryan
Fr. Joseph D. Ryan
Fr. Thomas W. Ryan
Fr. Anthony Schumacher
Fr. R. Eugene Seidenwand
Fr. Joseph Simon
Msgr. William L. Simon
Fr. Leo F. Skornia
Fr. Constantine A. Skowronski
Msgr. Casimir T. Skowronski
Msgr. John J. Sonefeld
Msgr. John B. Surprenant
Fr. Edward J. Szturmowski
Fr. Valerian S. Szymanski
Fr. Casimir Szyper
Fr. Bela E. Torok
Fr. John W. Troester
Fr. J. Edward Trombley
Fr. Charles Van Colen
Fr. Sebastian A. Van Gessel
Fr. Richard E. Van Mullekom
Fr. Norman F. Van Poppelen
Msgr. J. Felix Vogt
Fr. Casimir E. Walkowiak
Fr. William J. Walsh
Fr. Floyd Welna
Fr. Francis F. Welsmiller
Fr. Edward R. Werm
Fr. Bruno Wilczewski
Fr. Louis S. Wodecki
Fr. Ignatius Woloszyk
Msgr. Daniel J. Wynne
Fr. John G. Wyss
Fr. John A. Yeager
Fr. Herbert T. Zacharias
Fr. Norman L. Zielinski
Fr. August Zylla

Our Deacons
Deacon Stanley Belanger
Deacon Floyd Belmer
Deacon Ralph Brisson
Deacon Gerard Deneut
Deacon J. Arthur Haley
Deacon Edward King
Deacon Lambert Kuhr
Deacon Harry Mailley
Deacon Ray O’Rourke
Deacon Aaron Prout
Deacon Alvin Provot

Bishops to Vote on Baptism Agreement with Reformed Christians at November Meeting

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Catholic bishops will vote on an agreement with four Protestant communities to mutually recognize one another’s baptism as valid when they meet for their annual Fall General Assembly, November 15-18, in Baltimore. The proposed Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism is the result of six years of study and discussion between the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and representatives from the Presbyterian Church-USA, the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and the United Church of Christ.

“The U.S. bishops stand at an important juncture in affirming the unity that Christ has given to the baptized members of his body, a unity that is ever fragile and always in need of support from the pastors of the Church,” said Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, on the importance of the agreement.

The Catholic Church has recognized the validity of baptisms of most major Christian communions since the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). In 2002, concerns over certain practices (such as baptism by sprinkling) and spoken formulas (such as baptism in the name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier) used by some Christians led the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity to urge national bishops’ conferences to study their mutual understanding of baptism with other Christians. These questions were examined and resolved by Round Seven of the Reformed-Roman Catholic Dialogue-USA, which produced the Common Agreement, as well as a study entitled “These Living Waters.”

The Common Agreement affirms that both Catholic and Reformed Christians hold that baptism is the sacramental bond of unity for the Body of Christ, which is to be performed only once, by an authorized minister, with flowing water, using the Scriptural Trinitarian formula of “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” The agreement encourages all local Christian communities to keep baptismal records. The Common Agreement has already been ratified by the Presbyterian Church-USA.

The bishops will vote on the Common Agreement and an accompanying Reception Statement that calls upon bishops and pastors in the U.S. to recognize as valid baptisms from the Reformed communities in question. This will apply to baptisms performed after the agreement has gone into effect and if a baptismal certificate is provided stating that the traditional Trinitarian formula was used.

While other bishops’ conferences around the world have entered into similar agreements with the Protestant communities of their region, this document is unprecedented for the Catholic Church in the United States. As the Common Agreement would be an official agreement with other Christians, it is not amendable. The Reception Statement, however, can be discussed and amended by the bishops.

November 3, 2010

‘Share in the Care’: Parishes to conduct annual Collection for Retired Sisters, Brothers, Priests in Religious Orders next month

2010 Retired Religious
Catholics in the Diocese of Saginaw will have the opportunity to "Share in the Care" of senior religious by participating in the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR), to be held December 11-12, 2010. The collection is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office in Washington and provides financial support for the day-to-day care of thousands of elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests.

Last year, the Diocese of Saginaw contributed $187,156.91 to this collection. In 2010, the Sisters of St. Clare received financial assistance made possible by the RFR. Additionally, women and men religious who serve or have served in the diocese but whose institutes are headquartered elsewhere may benefit from this fund.

Since 1988, Catholics in the United States have donated $617 million to this initiative. Nearly 95 cents of every dollar is used to aid senior religious.

Despite the overwhelming generosity to this fund, many religious communities continue to lack resources sufficient to support retirement and elder care. Of 573 communities submitting data to the NRRO in 2009, fewer than seven percent were fully funded for retirement.

Traditionally, religious served for small stipends that did not include retirement benefits. Their sacrifices now leave their religious communities without adequate savings for retirement. Compounding the funding shortage are the rising cost of care and the substantial loss of income that has resulted from the declining number of religious able to serve in compensated ministry.

"As the number of wage-earning religious drops, so does income," explains NRRO Executive Director Sister Janice Bader, a member of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, Missouri.

"Census projections indicate that by 2019, religious past age 70 will outnumber those under 70 by nearly four to one. We want to do everything possible to help religious communities prepare for the dramatic income reduction that will accompany this demographic shift."

As a result of the 2009 collection, which garnered over $28.1 million, the National Religious Retirement Office was able to distribute more than $23 million in financial assistance to 477 communities, representing more than 45,000 women and men religious. By underwriting necessities, such as prescription medication and nursing support, these funds help religious communities provide for the ongoing care of elder members. Additional funding was allocated to initiatives targeted for religious institutes with the greatest needs.

Learn more at

November 2, 2010

President of U.S. Bishops Offers Prayers, Solidarity with Iraqi Christians, Says U.S. Has Moral Obligation to Help

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offered the prayers of the U.S. bishops and expressed solidarity with the suffering Christians of Iraq following the October 31 attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad that killed 58 people and wounded 75.

“We stand with the bishops, Church and people of Iraq in their urgent search for greater security, freedom and protection,” said Cardinal George in a November 1 statement. “We call upon the United States to take additional steps to help Iraq protect its citizens, especially the most vulnerable.”Cardinal George echoed the recent expression of sorrow of Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the pope’s concluding message from the recent Synod of Bishops on the Middle East: “Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for individuals and society.”

Cardinal George noted that, at the Synod on the Middle East, Iraqi bishops addressed the challenges facing their people, including kidnappings, bombings and threats against businesses and livelihoods.

Cardinal George also said that, while the U.S. bishops welcomed the end of U.S. military operations in Iraq, “we share the Iraqi bishops’ concern that the United States failed to help Iraqis in finding the political will and concrete ways needed to protect the lives of all citizens, especially Christians and other vulnerable minorities, and to ensure that refugees and displaced persons are able to return to their homes safely. Having invaded Iraq, the U.S. government has a moral obligation not to abandon those Iraqis who cannot defend themselves.”

Read the full statement.

October 29, 2010

Come, March for Life with us!

Join Bishop Joseph R. Cistone and hundreds more from the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw on January 22-25 at the 2011 March for Life in Washington, D.C., marking the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade. Adult accommodations are available. All participants age 18 and over must have completed VIRTUS safe environment training, a Background Check, and signed Standards of Ministerial Behavior for those Working with Children and Young People.For more information, go to

More than a month: Bishop says respect for life must be ‘like a fire burning within us, part of who we are’

SAGINAW — As Respect Life Month draws near to its close this coming Sunday, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, is reminding Catholics across the 11-county Diocese of Saginaw of the challenge he issued on the first Sunday of the month: to live out the convictions of their faith more deeply and more publicly.

During the Respect Life Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw on Oct. 4, Bishop Cistone encouraged the faithful who were gathered – and the entire Catholic community – to develop their own faith to the point that the mind and heart of Jesus becomes a very part of who they are.

In this way, he noted that it becomes self-evident that "abortion is wrong, euthanasia is wrong, (and) embryonic stem-cell research is wrong … we could not possibly see life differently because we are seeing it through the eyes of the Lord."

Earlier this year, Bishop Cistone led a group of more than 400 young people to Washington D.C. to protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States. He is expected to travel with another group of pilgrims to the nation’s capital for the March for Life in January 2011. Those interested in joining Bishop Cistone for this annual pilgrimage can find more information and a video highlighting the experience on the diocesan website,

"We need to publicly demonstrate and fight for legislation that protects all human life from conception until natural death." Bishop Cistone said. "My dear friends, it must be more than just a project, it must be like a fire burning inside us that is a very part of who we are as Catholics."

In July, Bishop Cistone joined more than 150 other protesters in prayerful witness outside an abortion clinic in Saginaw. This month he led the opening prayer during the 20th annual Focus on Life Dinner in Saginaw County and he has also been a featured speaker for Central Michigan Right to Life.

Next month, the bishop will celebrate a special Mass for individuals and families who have lost a child to abortion or miscarriage as their children are remembered with dignity and respect. The annual Mass of Remembrance will take place at 5:30 p.m. on November 7 at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

To learn more about respect life activities and initiatives in the Diocese of Saginaw, contact Sandy Buza, the diocese’s respect life coordinator, at (989) 797-6652.

October 15, 2010

Stay tuned...

Due to technical difficulties on the diocesan center’s computer network, the DoS News (Blog) and Bishop’s Blog have not had regular updates in the last few weeks. Please continue to check back as work is being done to address the problem. In the meantime, stay connected by visiting the Facebook pages for the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw and Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone.

October 8, 2010

Preview of Nouvel's Game to Remember on NBC25

SAGINAW - The Nouvel Catholic Central High School varsity football team will host its first ever Game to Remember. The story was recently featured on NBC25. Families, fans and the community will have the opportunity to make a $25 donation in honor of someone who has made a difference in their lives, a chance to remember someone special. Players will wear the names of honorees on their helmets during the game.

Funds raised at the game on Friday, October 8, will help fund a marker in Nouvel’s memorial garden for Adam Puvalowski, who was killed in an automobile accident last spring. The rest of the funds will be donated to St. Mary’s of Michigan Seton Cancer Institute. The donations will be presented during a special ceremony during half-time.

The Game to Remember kicks-off at 7:00 p.m. as the Panthers take on the Warriors of Westside Christian Academy on Boyd Field.

September 29, 2010

All Saints' Facebooking Principal was on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday

Facebook expert said, "This principal is intelligent to go where the students are because - let's face it - Facebook is where American young people are spending their time. It's changing huge aspects of modern life and nothing is it... changing more than the life of the modern teenager."

September 20, 2010

Bishop Cistone will be on the radio today and tomorrow

You will be able to hear Bishop Cistone on local radio during the next two days: 

Catholic Radio: This afternoon (Monday), he will be on air live with Al Kresta between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. on Ave Maria Radio WMAX 1440 AM.

Saginaw Radio: Tomorrow morning (Tuesday), he will be on air live with Art Lewis from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on WSGW NewsRadio 790 AM and FM Talk  100.5.

September 16, 2010

Bishop Calls on Commissioned Lay Ministers to be Evangelists

SAGINAW - Bishop Joseph R. Cistone celebrated Mass for the Commissioning of Lay Ministers on Sunday at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption. 

Eight men and women stood before Bishop Cistone and were commissioned for the first time. In addition, 50 others re-committed themselves for another three years and 17 men and women were granted permanent status as commissioned  lay ministers. More than 300 commissioned lay ministers serve among the 105 parish communities of the Diocese of Saginaw. 

In his homily, Bishop Cistone challenged the commissioned lay ministers to become evangelists with the local Church.

"I truly believe that we need to develop our programs, our attention and our sight on our brothers and sisters, who, for whatever reason, are no longer worshiping with us," he said. 

"If we are truly missioned and commissioned to preach the Good News, then to whom better can we do it than our brothers and sisters who have lost a sense of the power of the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of the Sacraments in their lives? Where could we do any better work than that?"

New Poll: Americans Continue to Oppose Tax Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Support Ethical Alternatives

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Senate prepares to hold a hearing on human embryonic stem cell research (hESCR), a new public opinion poll shows that a plurality of Americans (47 percent) oppose federal funding of stem cell research that involves destroying human embryos, while only thirty-eight percent (38 percent) support such funding. The poll, conducted by ICR / International Communications Research, surveyed 1,006 adults September 8-14. It was commissioned by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Survey respondents were informed that stem cells can also be obtained from adults, placentas from live births and other ways that do no harm to the donor, and that scientists disagree on whether stem cells from embryos or from such alternative sources may end up being most successful in treating diseases. Fifty-seven percent (57 percent) favor funding only the research avenues that do not harm the donor, while only twenty-one percent (21 percent) favored funding all stem cell research, including research that involves killing embryonic human beings.
“The Senate should not be misled on this important issue,” said Richard M. Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “Most Americans do not support federally funded research that requires destroying human embryos. They want their tax dollars used for stem cell research that is ethically sound as well as medically promising – the kind of research that has attracted the interest and commitment of more and more stem cell experts in recent years.”
The new poll also shows continued overwhelming opposition to human cloning, whether to provide children for infertile couples (83 percent against) or to produce embryos that would be destroyed in medical research (76 percent against).

Click here to read more about "New Poll: Americans Continue to Oppose Tax Funding for Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Support Ethical Alternatives". 

September 14, 2010

Saginaw native who traded house for SUV returns home with musical family to give concert

All are invited to enjoy a free concert featuring the Irish folk music group ShaeLaurel following the annual “Mass on the Grass” at St. Stephen Catholic Church this weekend

It will be a homecoming of sorts for Andrew Witchger. The father of four grew up in Saginaw and graduated from St. Stephen High School in 1981. Witchger went on to study music at Central Michigan University and began working as a parish music minister.

Taking a leap of faith in 2001, Witchger and his wife, Janet, sold their home and belongings and took their musical family on the road. They have since performed across the United States, Canada, Europe and China. Recently the group was even featured on CNN.

Witchger will be in Saginaw with ShaeLaurel this weekend for the third annual “Mass on the Grass” celebration at St. Stephen Catholic Church. The outdoor Mass provides an opportunity for the community to worship together amidst the outdoor beauty of fall. It also is an opportunity to bring the entire neighborhood together for a free concert that is upbeat and entertaining. The fast-fiddling Irish and contemporary style of ShaeLaurel promises to provide an enjoyable afternoon for the entire family.

ShaeLaurel also will perform for students at St. Stephen School on Monday, September 20.

In case of bad weather the concert will take place in the parish hall. ShaeLaurel also will provide music during the St. Stephen weekend Masses at 4:00 p.m. and 8:30 a.m.

WHAT: St. Stephen Catholic Church invites families to participate in a day of worship, music and fun. Food and beverages will be available. All are welcome.

WHEN: Mass begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 19 and ShaeLaurel will follow at 12:00 p.m.

WHERE: St. Stephen Catholic Church parking lot, 1300 Malzahn, Saginaw

September 13, 2010

Catholic schools again featured on NBC25

Check out part two in a recent NBC25 series on Catholic schools. You can view the story about the expansion project and growing enrollment at St. Brigid of Kildare School by clicking here. Preliminary numbers show increased enrollment at many Catholic schools in the Diocese of Saginaw. Watch for more good news from our Catholic schools to come.

September 10, 2010

Bishop hopes new Nouvel High School chapel will ‘enliven Catholic identity and mission’ for students

SAGINAW — As part of a renewed effort to strengthen Catholic identity, one classroom inside Nouvel Catholic Central High School underwent a major renovation this summer. The room was transformed into a chapel for students, faculty and staff so they might have the opportunity to spend quiet time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament during the school day. Weekly Masses for the school community will be celebrated during the school year.

“It is my sincere hope that students, faculty and staff will frequently visit St. Paul Oratory, and that they may find that the presence of the Blessed Sacrament enlivens the Catholic identity and mission of Nouvel Catholic Central High School,” said the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, in a recent letter to Nouvel Principal Irene Hensinger and Sister Yvonne Mary Loucks RSM, Director of Catholic Identity and Mission for Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Saginaw.

Bishop Cistone is set to dedicate the private chapel and celebrate Mass there on Monday morning. The dedication comes on the 50th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated at the school, which first opened its doors as St. Paul Seminary in 1960.

The seminary ceased operation in 1970 and the building became the new site of Ss. Peter & Paul High School. In 1984, following the merger of three Saginaw-area Catholic high schools, the name was changed to Nouvel, which remains today.

Nouvel Catholic Central was named in honor of Father Henri Nouvel, a Jesuit missionary credited with celebrating the first Mass in the interior of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula at the Saginaw River Valley on December 3, 1675. A monument stands today on Saginaw’s Ojibway Island to commemorate that event.

Several Diocese of Saginaw priests who attended the seminary have been invited to attend Monday’s Mass as well as Nouvel students, faculty and staff and Saginaw Area Catholic School leaders.

Catholic Schools featured on NBC25

Check out the recent story on NBC25 news about Bay Area Catholic Schools' growing enrollment. Coverage of our Catholic Schools continues on NBC25 tonight with a feature on the expansion project at St. Brigid of Kildare School in Midland.

September 8, 2010

MCC Board of Directors Names Paul A. Long as President/CEO

LANSING – Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors unanimously voted today to name MCC Vice President for Public Policy Paul A. Long as the Conference’s next President and Chief Executive Officer.

Long succeeds Sister Monica Kostielney, RSM, who is retiring in November after 38 years of service to the Conference, the last 16 as President/CEO.  Long will begin his tenure as President/CEO on November 15, 2010

"For more than two decades Paul Long has presented to state government the Conference’s advocacy agenda with integrity and the utmost level of professionalism. His years of service and commitment to the Church make him an exemplary candidate to lead the Conference into the next decade," said the Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit and chairman of the MCC Board of Directors.

“Sister Monica Kostielney for nearly 40 years has been a tireless advocate for the poor and the unborn; a passionate and commanding voice on matters concerning education and economic justice, Sister Monica has directed the Conference with humility and grace.”

Long was raised in St. Clare Shores Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College in 1988 with a bachelor of arts degree in urban political studies.  After working for both the House of Representatives and State Senate while enrolled at MSU, Long was hired by the Michigan Catholic Conference as Public Affairs Associate with a principle focus on tax and health care issues. In November 1994 he was appointed Vice President for Public Policy, serving as the chief liaison between the Catholic Church in Michigan and state government.

As Vice President for Public Policy, Long has worked on numerous pieces of legislation that sought to advance the common good in Michigan, including a ban on assisted suicide, the creation of a state earned income tax credit, and ushering through the Legislature the state’s ban on human cloning.

Ensuring non-public schools are treated fairly in the legislative process, protecting budget programs that assist the state’s poor and vulnerable population, and advancing legislation that promotes and protects all human life, from conception to natural death, have been priority areas for Long and the Conference’s public policy advocacy.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state and advocates for legislation that promotes the common good. The Conference was established in 1963 by Cardinal John Dearden, then Archbishop of Detroit, who envisioned a unified Catholic voice that would bring its economic and social justice message to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state and federal government.

“I am humbled today – and eagerly look forward to steering the Conference forward in its mission to develop sound public policy and administer benefit services with a dedication to integrity and excellence,” Long said.

Long serves on the Board of Visitors for Michigan State University’s James Madison College, the Board of the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools, the Parish Education Council, Pastoral Council and Finance Council of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in East Lansing, and on the Catholic Charities USA Social Policy Committee.  He is a former chairman of the Board of The Hospice of Lansing and the Michigan State University Alumni Association National Board of Directors.

In 1996 Long was named a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, and in 1999 he was awarded as a Distinguished Alumnus of the James Madison College. Paul, his wife Dr. Melissa Long, and their three children reside in East Lansing.

September 3, 2010

Cardinal’s gift now adorns Cathedral

SAGINAW – A nearly 18-foot tall ornately carved triptych that displays a painted image of the Holy Family now stands in the northwest corner of the worship space inside the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption after it was installed there this week.

The artwork, which once was housed in Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter & Paul, was gifted by Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, to the people of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw for display in the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption following the first anniversary of Bishop Joseph R. Cistone’s installation as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw.

Bishop Cistone, a native of Philadelphia, was ordained to the priesthood there in 1975. In 2004, he was appointed to serve as an Auxiliary Bishop to the Archbishop of Philadelphia by Pope John Paul II and consecrated as a bishop by Cardinal Rilgali. He was installed as the sixth Bishop of Saginaw on July 28, 2009.

The Holy Family Triptych was commissioned in Rome by Cardinal John O’Hara, CSC, Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1951-1960, during the 1958 consistory of his elevation by Pope John XXIII. He had it installed above a side altar within Philadelphia’s Cathedral Basilica where it remained until its removal earlier this year to make room for a new shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

A triptych, which is derived from Greek words for “three” and “fold,” is a work of art that is divided into three sections, or three carved panels, which are hinged together and can be folded. In the case of the Holy Family Triptych, the central painting is flanked by carved wooden doors made. The entire wood encasing is comprised of black walnut.

Cardinal O’Hara, a Michigan native, was born in Ann Arbor in 1888 and ordained as a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1916. He served as the 13th president of the University of Notre Dame, during the 1930s. He then served as Bishop of the Military Ordinariate of the United States of America during World War II. In 1945, he was named as Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo and served six years there until his final appointment as Archbishop of Philadelphia in 1951. He died in 1960 and is entombed within the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

August 31, 2010

ABC's Good Morning America is coming to interview Bay City's All Saints principal

The following was posted recently on Bay City's All Saints Central Facebook page, following a story that appeared in Sundays edition of The Bay City Times about the schools Facebook savvy principal:

All Saints Central 

Good Morning America will be at ASC to film at 10am on Thur. Sept. 2nd. This summer I created an admin. profile and this ASC page to keep students, parents, and alumni aware of ASC happenings. While updating this page over the summer, I came across some negative posts by students. I sent private messages reminding these students that FB is public. That level of communication gained local press, and now GMA.

August 27, 2010

Religious sisters hope to make ‘habit’ out of tonight’s block party at Cathedral

SAGINAW — When members of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma moved into the St. Mary Cathedral convent last summer, they made it a mission to get to know their neighbors. Tonight, they along with the Flag and Flower Community Group will share that welcoming spirit with the entire Cathedral community.

An opportunity for residents to meet their neighbors

WHEN: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight

WHERE: Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption parking lot, 615 Hoyt Ave., Saginaw

The sisters hope many residents will come out for food, fun and an opportunity to get to know one another, and that the event will foster a greater sense of community in their new neighborhood.

Members of the media are welcome to attend tonight’s social gathering. To learn more about the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma log onto

Gladwin’s Sacred Heart School closes, pastor promises vibrant parish life will continue

GLADWIN — Following the recommendation of the school board of trustees, finance council, pastoral council and local pastor, the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced his acceptance of a collective recommendation to close Sacred Heart School in Gladwin.

The recommendation and approval come following an August 19 enrollment report to the school’s board of trustees that showed only nine students registered for the 2010-2011 academic year. Previous financial projections show that a total enrollment of 15 students would have forced the school to increase tuition by $1,250 and raised the parish’s costs to more than $12,000 per student.

“In a January letter to Sacred Heart parishioners, a commitment was made by both the pastoral and finance councils that our Catholic school would be a school that we could afford,” said the Rev. John Cotter, who has served as pastor of Sacred Heart since 2006. “It is now obvious an affordable Catholic school in our community is not possible.”

The per pupil cost for the 2009-2010 school year — when 38 students were enrolled — was $8,700. The average tuition collected was $2,300 and the parish contribution was $6,400 per student.

“It is a sad day for any parish that has to close a school, but we can be proud of what our school has accomplished,” Father Cotter said. “This is now an opportunity to look forward and recommit ourselves to a solid religious education program for our Catholic students in grades K-12, evangelize our community and make the long overdue capital improvements needed at our parish.”

“We have seen a trend this year of long-standing schools being forced to close, and as a faith community we are united in prayer with the teachers, students, families and parishioners of Sacred Heart who are experiencing a sense of loss,” said the Rev. Robert Byrne, Vicar for Catholic Schools. “The time is now for all of us, at every level, to focus on supporting, strengthening and spreading the good news about Catholic schools. They are a blessing to our diocese and our communities and it is important for us to do everything we can to preserve them both now and in the future.”

Sacred Heart School in Gladwin opened its doors to students in 1918. It closed in 1932 during the Great Depression and reopened twenty years later in 1952. At its peak in 1967 an estimated 165 students were enrolled.

August 26, 2010

Diocese honors Mother Teresa through life-supporting endowment fund

Established in 2005, the Mother Teresa Endowment Fund 
has helped more than 650 struggling families.

SAGINAW — On what would have been the 100th birthday of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw reminds individuals or couples facing financial hardships that resources are available for them as they await the birth of a child and/or during the initial period following the child’s birth.

The Mother Teresa Endowment Fund assists with costs not covered by other resources, such as prenatal clinic costs, hospital and birthing expenses not covered by insurance or Medicaid, temporary rent, phone, and utility payments for the birth mother while she is out of work, maternity clothes, cribs, car seats and other basic needs.

The fund is named in honor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity religious community, who is known around the world for her efforts to reach out to the poorest of the poor. Her work now continues through thousands of religious sisters who joined the Missionaries of Charity and serve throughout the world.

Mother Teresa and those who have followed her example promote life through compassionate caring for the poor, especially the sick and children.

The Mother Teresa Endowment Fund is supported through the generous gifts of many individuals. The dollars contributed are invested and the interest generated provides revenue for the assistance.

Donations to the Mother Teresa Endowment Fund are welcomed at any time and are tax-deductible. They may be sent to the Respect Life Office. The financial resources in the fund are monitored, managed and dispersed through the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw.

Applications for assistance may be obtained from the Respect Life Office at the Diocesan Center, 5800 Weiss St., in Saginaw, or by calling (989) 754-0091.

August 25, 2010

Bishops Welcome Ruling Against Embryonic Stem Cell Funding, Urge Government to Pursue Ethical Stem Cell Research

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed the federal court injunction against the Obama administration’s funding of human embryonic stem cell research, calling the ruling a “victory for common sense and sound medical ethics.”  

He said this ruling also vindicates the bishops’ reading of the Dickey amendment, the amendment approved by Congress since 1996, which prevents federal funding of research in which human embryos are harmed or destroyed.

“I hope this court decision will encourage our government to renew and expand its commitment to ethically sound avenues of stem cell research,” Cardinal DiNardo added. “These avenues are showing far more promise than destructive human embryo research in serving the needs of suffering patients.”

The full statement follows: 

The preliminary injunction against the Obama administration’s funding of human embryonic stem cell research is a welcome victory for common sense and sound medical ethics.  It also vindicates a reading of Congress’s statutory language on embryo research that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has defended for more than a decade.

Each year since 1996, Congress has approved the Dickey amendment to forbid funding any “research in which” human embryos are harmed or destroyed.  This should ensure that taxpayers are not forced to fund a research project when pursuing that project requires the destruction of human life at its earliest stage.  However, beginning with a legal memo commissioned by the Clinton administration in January 1999, this law has been distorted and narrowed to allow federal funding of research that directly relies on such destruction.  As the bishops’ conference said in congressional testimony in 1999, “a mere bookkeeping distinction between funds used to destroy the embryo and funds used to work with the resultant cells is not sufficient” to comply with the law.  In the health care reform debate, as well, we have pointed out that an executive order by itself cannot change the meaning of a law passed by Congress, and that the longstanding policy against funding health plans that cover abortion is not satisfied, but circumvented, by a bookkeeping distinction that merely segregates accounts within such plans.

A task of good government is to use its funding power to direct resources where they will best serve and respect human life, not to find new ways to evade this responsibility. I hope this court decision will encourage our government to renew and expand its commitment to ethically sound avenues of stem cell research. These avenues are showing far more promise than destructive human embryo research in serving the needs of suffering patients 

August 20, 2010

Area soup kitchens and food pantries get needed boost during busy summer months

SAGINAW —As part of the Knights of Columbus “Food for Families” program across the United States and Canada, $1 million is being donated to help feed the hungry. Soup kitchens and food pantries across Michigan are the recipients of $68, 000 and some of that money is already benefiting the local community.

On Thursday, Bishop Joseph R. Cistone accepted a $4,063 check on behalf of the Diocese of Saginaw. The check was presented to Bishop Cistone by the Knights of Columbus at the East Side Soup Kitchen in Saginaw. Bishop Cistone, in turn, shared that money with soup kitchens and food pantries across the 11 county diocese.

Donations were distributed to the following organizations:
Representatives from the above organizations were on hand Thursday for the check presentation and at that time also received individual checks for their organizations. The East Side Soup Kitchen’s Director, Pam Cole, said the money could not have come at a better time.

“Many children, who receive breakfast and lunch during the school year, lose two meals during the summer months,” Cole said. “Just last Friday we served 512 adults and children.”

According to Cole, more donations come in during the winter months, but summer is actually the busiest time of year. The number of meals served at the East Side Soup Kitchen has gone up each year since 2001 and it is a similar story at soup kitchens and food pantries across the Diocese of Saginaw.

Bishop Cistone took the opportunity while he was at the East Side Soup Kitchen to thank the Knights of Columbus for its generous support and also thanked the employees and volunteers who work to feed the hungry.

While he was at the soup kitchen, Bishop Cistone worked a lunch-shift on the serving line. He greeted and served food to adults, teens and children who were there for a meal.

“It was a very spiritual experience,” Bishop Cistone said. “You look into the eyes of the people who are there — people of all ages and walks of life — and you just know that you are meeting Christ.”

U.S. Bishops' Pro-Life Chair Urges Support for Law to Prevent Federal Funding of Abortion

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, called on members of the House of Representatives to support the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R. 5939), introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) at the end of July.

He called for support in an August 20 letter. The bill already has 166 co-sponsors including 20 Democratic members. The text of the letter can be found at

“H.R. 5939 will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 35 years: The federal government should not use taxpayers’ money to support and promote elective abortion,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “Even public officials who take a ‘pro-choice’ stand on abortion, and courts that have insisted on the validity of a constitutional ‘right’ to abortion, have agreed that the government can validly use its funding power to encourage childbirth over abortion.”

He said some people assume this position already is fully reflected in U.S. law, and noted, for example, that “some wrongly argued during the recent debate on health care reform that there was no need for restrictions on abortion funding in the new health legislation, because this matter had already been settled by the Hyde amendment.”

However, he noted, the Hyde amendment, which precludes money for elective abortions and health plans that provide them, is only a rider to the annual Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bill. It has been maintained essentially intact by Congress over the last 35 years, but it only governs funds appropriated under that particular act.

Federal funds are prevented now from funding abortion by riders to various other appropriations bills as well as by provisions incorporated into specific authorizing legislation for the Department of Defense, Children’s Health Insurance Program, foreign assistance, and so on. Gaps or loopholes in these protections have also been discovered at various times, requiring Congress to address them individually.

Thus, “while Congress’s policy has been remarkably consistent for decades, implementation of that policy in practice has been piecemeal and sometimes sadly inadequate,” Cardinal DiNardo said.

H.R. 5939 would also codify the Hyde/Weldon amendment that has been part of the section containing the Hyde amendment in annual Labor/HHS appropriations bills since 2004. Hyde/Weldon has ensured that federal agencies and state and local governments that receive federal funds do not discriminate against health care providers because they do not perform or provide abortions.

“It is long overdue for this policy, as well, to be given a more secure legislative status,’’ Cardinal DiNardo said. “No hospital, doctor or nurse should be forced to stop providing much-needed legitimate health care because they cannot in conscience participate in destroying a developing human life.”

Cardinal George Announces Vatican Approval of New Roman Missal English-Language Translation, Implementation set for First Sunday of Advent 2011

WASHINGTON — Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has announced that the full text of the  English-language translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, has been issued for the dioceses of the United States of America.

The text was approved by the Vatican, and the approval was accompanied by a June 23 letter from Cardinal Llovera Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Congregation also provided guidelines for publication.

In addition, on July 24, the Vatican gave approval for several adaptations, including additional prayers for the Penitential Act at Mass and the Renewal of Baptismal Promises on Easter Sunday. Also approved are texts of prayers for feasts specific to the United States such as Thanksgiving, Independence Day and the observances of feasts for saints such as Damien of Molokai, Katharine Drexel, and Elizabeth Ann Seton. The Vatican also approved the Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life, which can be celebrated on January 22.

Cardinal George announced receipt of the documents in an August 20 letter to the U.S. Bishops and issued a decree of proclamation that states that “The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of America as of the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011. From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America.”

The date of implementation was chosen to allow publishers time to prepare texts and parishes and dioceses to educate parishioners.

“We can now move forward and continue with our important catechetical efforts as we prepare the text for publication,” Cardinal George said.

In the coming weeks, staff of the bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship will prepare the text for publication and collaborate with the staff of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which will assist Bishops’ Conferences in bringing the text to publication. In particular, ICEL has been preparing the chant settings of the texts of the Missal for use in the celebration of the Mass. Once all necessary elements have been incorporated into the text and the preliminary layout is complete, the final text will go to the publishers to produce the ritual text, catechetical resources and participation aids for use in the Liturgy.

Receipt of the text marks the start of proximate preparation for Roman Missal implementation. Before first use of the new text in Advent 2011, pastors are urged to use resources available to prepare parishioners. Some already have been in use; others are being released now. They include the Parish Guide for the Implementation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, and Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ, a multi-media DVD resource produced by ICEL in collaboration with English-language Conferences of Bishops. Both will be available from the USCCB. Information on resources can be found at

Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, voiced gratitude for the approval.

“I am happy that after years of preparation, we now have a text that, when introduced late next year, will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in our parishes,” he said.

Msgr. Anthony Sherman, Director of the Secretariat for Divine Worship of the USCCB noted, “A great effort to produce the new Roman Missal for the United States, along with the other necessary resources, has begun. Even as that work is underway a full–scale catechesis about the Liturgy and the new Roman Missal should be taking place in parishes, so that when the time comes, everyone will be ready.”