January 30, 2010

Obituary for Fr. Max Frego

Father Max J.V. Frego, 81, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died on Friday, January 29, 2010 at the Poppen Hospice Residence in Muskegon.

Father Frego was born on June 23, 1928 in Holland, Mich. He attended Washington Public Schools in Holland, graduating from Holland High School. He then went on to attend Hope College in Holland and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Missouri. He later received his priestly formation at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, St. Jerome College in Ontario, Canada, and St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth.

Father Frego was baptized into the Catholic faith on Sept. 24, 1953 at St. Joseph Parish in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 1962 by Bishop Allen J. Babcock at St. Mary Parish in Big Rapids for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Saginaw on July 20, 1971 when the boundaries of Michigan’s dioceses were redrawn upon the establishment of the Diocese of Kalamazoo and Diocese of Gaylord. At that time, he served as pastor for St. Henry Parish in Rosebush and St. Charles Parish in Leaton.

During his priesthood, Father Frego served as assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Big Rapids, St. Stephen Parish in East Grand Rapids and St. Adalbert Parish in Grand Rapids.  In 1973, he was appointed pastor for St. Cyril Parish in Bannister, where he served until 1983. He then served as pastor for St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Ithaca and St. Martin de Porres Parish in Perrinton from 1983 to 1992 and as pastor at St. Hedwig Parish in Bay City from 1992 until 1994. Father Frego was granted senior priest status (retirement) on July 20, 1994. In his retirement, he provided ministry assistant at St. Michael, St. Jean Baptiste, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, and Our Lady of Grace parishes, all in Muskegon, Sacred Heart Parish in Muskegon Heights, and St. Ann Parish in Frankfort and St. Joseph in Mapleton.    

Father Frego was preceded in death by his parents George and Hilda Frego. He was a veteran of the Counter Intelligence Corps from the Korean War.

He is survived by his brother and sisters: Don and Arlene Frego of Holland, Patricia and Jack Shinabarger of Holland, Beverly (Harper) and Julius Essenburg of Holland, and Phyllis Tomlinson of Washington, Ill., and several nephews and nieces.

A funeral Mass will celebrated at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church 480 North 152nd Ave., in Holland. The Most Rev. Walter A. Hurley, bishop of Grand Rapids will preside. Burial will take place at the Pilgrim Home Cemetery in Holland.

Visitation will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Church and from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday prior to the funeral Mass. A Vigil liturgy will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the church.

Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church or the Poppen Hospice Residence. Arrangements have been made by Lakeshore Memorial Services. An on-line registry book is available at www.lakeshorememorial.com.

January 21, 2010

Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma will operate on wounded and care for patients in Haiti

Four Sisters, who specialize in medicine, respond to call for help in Haiti: They fly out from Michigan on Friday.

ALMA — Four members of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma prepare to fly from Michigan to Haiti tomorrow to care for the wounded in that country. The Religious Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse is located in Alma, but sisters belonging to the order provide health care across the country and around the world.

Sister Mary Rebecca Koterba RSM, MD is a general surgeon in Alma’s Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center, and she will lead a team of RSMs to Haiti. Her team includes: Sister Marie Paul Lockerd RSM, DO, a general practitioner at Sacred Heart Mercy Health Care Center in Jackson, Minnesota, Sister Edith Mary Hart RSM, DO, who is completing her medical residency in general practice at Ingham Medical Center in Lansing, MI, and Sister Marianna Koonce RSM, MD, a Sister who is in early religious formation. Two of the physicians on this team, Sister Mary Rebecca and Sister Marie Paul, have spent time in Peru giving medical treatment to the poor.

In Haiti, the Religious Sisters of Mercy will care for the injured and provide medical attention to those who are in desperate need of a doctor. They will work most directly with the Missionaries of Charity, a religious community begun by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The Religious Sisters of Mercy have had a long and deep friendship with the Missionaries of Charity.

The four Sisters who will travel to Haiti will be joined in prayer by all members of their community.

The Religious Sisters of Mercy is a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right dedicated to the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy. Mercy is a virtue influencing one's will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another's misfortune. Established in 1973 in response to the renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council, the Institute recognizes Venerable Catherine McAuley as its original foundress.

The goal of the Institute is the praise and worship of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for the boundless mercy which has been revealed through the works of creation, redemption, and sanctification. The Sisters profess the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, as well as a fourth vow of service.

For more information on the Religious Sister of Mercy visit their website at http://www.rsmofalma.org.

January 20, 2010

About the Catholic Response to the Needs of the People of Haiti

Here is a Special Report on how Catholic Relief Services and the Catholic community in the U.S. are responding to the needs of the people of Haiti. Thank you for all that you are doing to support our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Learn more about how you can support the work of CRS in Haiti.

Teens will pack 7 charter buses to protest abortion on Friday in Washington, D.C.

 As national debate continues over abortion funding in health care, Bishop will lead diocesan group to annual protest marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision

SAGINAW — Nearly 350 faithful Catholics, mostly teens, will travel with their bishop to attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. to protest the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The group, led by Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, will leave from the Center for Ministry, 5802 Weiss St., in Saginaw Township on Thursday morning.

 “I am looking forward to our pilgrimage to Washington for the March for Life,” Bishop Joseph R. Cistone said. “When I first came to Saginaw on May 20 for my announcement as the new bishop, I spent some time talking with students at Bay City All Saints High School. One student told me of their practice of going in a group by bus to D.C. and asked if I would let them continue this year. I told them, ‘Yes, by all means!’ I was impressed by their enthusiasm and support for the unborn.”

 “I believe our young people have a clear appreciation for the evils of abortion and need to ‘stand up’ publicly for life. I expect this year’s trip to D.C. to be even more inspirational for me. I am sure it will be noisy in the bus, but I look forward to sharing these days of journey with our young men and women. It will be a great opportunity for us to get to know each other better in an informal setting. And, I hope we continue to do it each year together until that day of grace when our legislators and the Supreme Court commit themselves and the country to protect all innocent life from conception to natural death.”

More than 60 students will join the diocesan pilgrimage from All Saints middle and high schools in Bay City and around 80 students from Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant will be on board the seven buses. In all, more than 20 parish communities throughout the 11-county diocese will be represented among the group.

Hundreds of thousands of people gather each year in Washington, D.C., for the March for Life from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. While Diocese of Saginaw groups have participated throughout the years, 2010 is the fourth consecutive year the diocese has sent a caravan of charter buses to the event. 

The Saginaw group will make its return trip from Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening following a Mass in the Crypt Chapel at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated by Bishop Cistone. They will be joined by groups and bishops from the Diocese of Grand Rapids and the Diocese of Rockford, Ill.

January 19, 2010

Bishop Cistone’s Interview with WNEM TV 5 and WJRT TV 12

Bishop Cistone is interviewed by WNEM TV 5’s Tia Ewing and WJRT TV 12's Rebecca Trylch about Monday’s announcement that the Saginaw Area Catholic Schools system would be consolidating its four elementary/middle schools — St. Helen, SS. Peter & Paul, St. Stephen and St. Thomas Aquinas — into two buildings on March 2.

January 18, 2010

Saginaw Area Catholic Schools merge schools to strengthen system

SAGINAW — As part of an overall strategic plan to ensure the stability, excellence and future of Saginaw Area Catholic Schools (SACS), the SACS Board of Trustees recommended consolidating its four elementary/middle schools—St. Helen, SS. Peter & Paul, St. Stephen and St. Thomas Aquinas—into two buildings. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, approved that recommendation December 23, 2009.

Effective March 2, 2010, preschool through eighth grade students will attend either St. Stephen School or St. Thomas Aquinas School.

All staff will be retained for the remainder of the current school year. The faculty and staff from St. Helen and SS. Peter & Paul schools will follow their students, to the degree possible, to either St. Stephen School or St. Thomas Aquinas School to facilitate a smooth transition.

“Merging schools in March has many advantages for children,” said Irene Hensinger, SACS Regional Superintendent. “It will give children an opportunity to build new relationships, become comfortable in a different building and involved in school activities. Studies indicate it is often easier, socially and academically, for children to adjust to a new situation during the school year. The children can then enjoy their new friends over the summer and look forward to returning to school in September.”

The consolidation will position Saginaw Area Catholic Schools to be able to strengthen existing programs, maximize resources, expand academic offerings and secure the future of Catholic education in the Saginaw community. An estimated $750,000 will be saved annually, beginning July 2010, through the school consolidation.

“I am convinced that Catholic schools remain our strongest means of forming, developing, and educating our youth,” Bishop Cistone said. “The strength of our Church is dependent upon our ability to provide quality and affordable Catholic education. I have pledged and continue to pledge my personal commitment to do everything within my power to maintain a strong Catholic school program for our diocese.”

The Saginaw Area Catholic School system, which includes the elementary/middle schools and Nouvel Catholic Central High School, is home to nearly 1,300 students. School leaders, teachers and staff are committed to excellence in faith formation, academics, athletics, the arts and community service. The legacy of Catholic school education in Saginaw dates back to 1868.

January 14, 2010

Oblate Provincial confirms Fr. Moore is OK in Haiti

SAGINAW — The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw received word this afternoon from the Toledo-based office of the Very Rev. David Whalen, Provincial of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, that Fr. Thomas Moore, a priest of that same religious order who ministered in Saginaw for 20 years before following a call to work with the poor and seminarians in Haiti nearly two years ago, is alive without serious injury following Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked the island nation and leveled its capital city of Port-au-Prince.

Father Whalen sent an e-mail message to members of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales this afternoon confirming their brother priests in Haiti, including Father Moore, had been seen and were alright. The message was sent by Whalen following a phone conversation he had with leaders of the Hands Together organization, who were on the ground in Haiti.

For more information about how you can support the relief efforts in Haiti, go to www.crs.org

Stand Up for Childhood Innocence

For some time now, I have personally held the conviction that American children are being robbed of their childhood. It seems to be happening on an ever increasing scale. Children are bombarded with inappropriate advertising, games, and television programming; daily, they are "attacked" by a consumerism that diminishes the psychological wellbeing and quality of life that they might otherwise enjoy.

Commercial advertising tells children that their value lies in value of their possessions, and they will not be happy unless they own name-brand toys and products. The latest trend I have discovered is that of cartoons and games which promote violence, sexual promiscuity, and women as sexual objects. While I was not so naïve as to be unaware of their existence, I was, however, shocked at the age of the children at which these games are targeted.

Just recently, I read how Nickelodeon and even Nick Jr. (which is aimed at preschoolers), host web links to Addictinggames.com, a website which features games such as Sorority Panty Raid, Perry the Sneak where young boys play a peeping Tom, and Naughty Classroom where you misbehave to cause a fantasy teacher in revealing clothing to bend over for objects or rip her skirt. Other games feature excessive violence and drunken characters cutting themselves. The article asks people to take a stand against the inappropriate material being pushed at children.

Once I got over my disgust for the implications, I was glad to know that someone was fighting back. Not only were they spreading the word through the article, but also information on how to contact these companies and request that they stop supporting the inappropriate material. I wanted to spread the word, and encourage people to reclaim childhood innocence for our future generations.

If you are interested in taking action on this issue, please go to www.commercialexploitation.org/actions/nicknaughtygames.html or for more information email the Campaign for Commercial-Free-Childhood at ccfc@jbcc.harvard.edu.

Bishop Cistone voices prayers for victims of earthquake in Haiti, urges generous support for CRS relief efforts

Religious Order priest who ministered in Saginaw for 20 years among those still missing

SAGINAW — Bishop Joseph R. Cistone on Wednesday called for prayers for victims and support for relief efforts following Tuesday’s devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the island nation of Haiti.

“Our prayers and support are with the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. We pray for those who have lost their lives, those who are suffering physical harm and all the people of Haiti who struggle to bring meaning to this tragedy and to rebuild their lives,” Bishop Cistone said.

“We share a special concern for the well being of Father Tom Moore. May the Lord keep him safe and secure. I also encourage all our faithful to respond generously to the appeals of Catholic Relief Services.”

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is accepting donations to assist Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in short-term and long-term relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. Special collections will be encouraged through parishes in the diocese’s 11-counties in the coming weeks.

CRS is the official international relief organization of the Catholic Church. CRS has made an initial commitment of $5 million to help with immediate needs including the distribution of emergency relief supplies and lifesaving assistance. The organization has permanent offices and ongoing projects in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The epicenter of Tuesday’s massive earthquake was 10 miles southwest of the impoverished nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, which has more than 2 million inhabitants. Countless people are missing and an untold numbers are dead.

Among those still missing is Father Thomas Moore, a religious order priest of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, who ministered in Saginaw for 20 years, until he followed a call to work with seminarians and the poor in Haiti nearly two years ago. He returned to Haiti on Friday, following a Christmas season visit to Michigan.

“From all the reports we see and hear, the devastation is unimaginable,” said Terri Grierson, director of the Office of Christian Service. “It is our hope and prayer that the generous hearts of people throughout our local communities will offer their own prayerful and financial support – in whatever generous way they can – to the relief efforts being made our brothers and sisters in Haiti.”

Learn more about CRS at the organization’s website, www.crs.org. A link to support the CRS relief efforts also has been provided on the Diocese of Saginaw’s homepage at www.saginaw.org.

January 11, 2010

U.S. Bishops Call on Parishes to Help Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform

WASHINGTON — In a nationwide call to Catholics to prevent health care reform from being derailed by the abortion lobby, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent bulletin inserts and pulpit announcements to almost 19,000 parishes across the country.

“As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable,” the insert says. “Health care reform should not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country.”

As Congress negotiates a final health care bill, the insert encourages Catholics to contact their Senators and Representatives, urging them to keep longstanding restrictions against federal funding of abortion and full conscience protection in the legislation. If these criteria are not met, Catholics are asked to urge Congress to oppose the final bill.

The bulletin insert and pulpit announcement can be found in English and in Spanish at www.usccb.org/healthcare. Catholics can contact their legislators online by going to www.usccb.org/action.

January 8, 2010

Health Care Reform Update and Action

During October and November, diocesan and parish leaders were asked by the U.S. Bishops' Conference to distribute two consecutive Nationwide Bulletin Inserts on health care reform.  Since that time the following has occurred:
  • The U.S. House passed health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortion coverage.
  • The U.S. Senate has rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people's abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion.
These two bills are being combined into one bill that both the House and Senate will vote on in final form.  Provisions against abortion funding and in favor of conscience protection, affordability, and immigrants' access to health care must be part of a fair and just health care reform bill. Unless and until these criteria are met, the final bill must be opposed.

The U.S. bishops have asked that an updated Nationwide Bulletin Insert (Spanish) on health care reform be printed or hand-stuffed in every parish bulletin and/or distributed in pews or at church entrances as soon as possible. Pulpit announcements and prayer petitions have also been made available (in English and Spanish) as final House and Senate votes may take place soon.  

Catholics need to make their voices heard insisting that health care reform protect the lives, dignity, consciences and health of all. If you've yet to do so, please take a brief moment to send a message to your local Congressperson and two U.S. Senators through the Catholic Legislative Advocacy Network below.  If you prefer to call rather than email, the Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224.3121. 

Thank you for your continued support of health care reform that protects and upholds the sanctity of human life!

- Michigan Catholic Conference

PS Click here to follow the MCC on Twitter, where updates regarding health care reform and other critical legislative issues are provided.

January 5, 2010

Join Bishop Cistone for the Saginaw Spirit's Faith Night game on Jan. 17!

January 11, 2010 National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Human trafficking is “modern day slavery” because it uses force, fraud or coercion to make people do things they don’t want to do. Men, women and children are all affected by this crime; they are enslaved throughout the world and many times right here in our own communities for labor or commercial sex. If you are aware of a situation in which someone is being coerced against their will to work for the benefit of others, please call the Underground Railroad in Saginaw County at (989) 755-0411 or toll free at 1-888-399-8285.

Additional resources include the U.S. Department of Justice Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-428-7581 or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center’s 24/7 Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

- From The Underground Railroad, Inc.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry after drug trafficking and the fastest growing crime worldwide. It is also tied to illegal arms dealing and is one of our greatest civil and human rights struggles today.

In an effort to combat this appalling surge in crime and human rights violations, we would also like to encouraging people to support human trafficking awareness and to actively participate in Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Within the Saginaw community, the Underground Railroad Inc. has been working closely with law enforcement, distributing The Crime of Human Trafficking: A Law Enforcement Guide to Identification and Investigation educational DVDs and pamphlets to Saginaw County Police Departments.

We can help with awareness in our communities, parishes and places of work as well. To learn more about this issue, you can find a lot of information and statistics on the United Nations website, watch for it in the news, or search "human trafficking awareness" online. YouTube has some excellent videos to raise awareness that are good for personal viewing or classroom use.

Please consider doing something on January 11 to raise awareness around you. Here are a five easy ways:
  1. Make Human Trafficking Awareness Day your Facebook status on January 11.
  2. Post an article or weblink on Facebook.
  3. Tweet to your friends and let them know: January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day!
  4. Wear a black band on your arm to remember past and present trafficking victims.
  5. Have your parish pray for human trafficking victims in the petitions or bulletin this weekend (follow the links below to download materials from our diocesan website).