March 30, 2010

Chrism Mass 2010

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  • Read Bishop Cistone's Chrism Mass homily on the Bishop's Blog

  • See The Saginaw News' coverage on! 

U.S. Bishops Voice Concern for Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse, Thank Pope Benedict for Leadership

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops March 30 voiced concern for victims of child sexual abuse by clerics and praised Pope Benedict XVI for leadership in dealing with the sin and crime of child sexual abuse.
“We know from our experience how Pope Benedict is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed by sexual abuse and how he has strengthened the Church’s response to victims and supported our efforts to deal with perpetrators,” the bishops said. “We continue to intensify our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools. Further, we work with others in our communities to address the prevalence of sexual abuse in the larger society.”
The bishops’ comments came in a statement issued by the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president; Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona, vice-president; Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, treasurer; Bishop George Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio, secretary; and Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, elected member.
The complete statement follows:

"On behalf of the Catholic bishops of the United States, we, the members of the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, write both to express our deep concern for those harmed by the crime and sin of sexual abuse by clergy and to express our profound gratitude for the assistance that Pope Benedict XVI has given us in our efforts to respond to victims, deal with perpetrators and to create safe environments for children. The recent emergence of more reports of sexual abuse by clergy saddens and angers the Church and causes us shame.  If there is anywhere that children should be safe, it should be in their homes and in the Church.

"We know from our experience how Pope Benedict is deeply concerned for those who have been harmed by sexual abuse and how he has strengthened the Church’s response to victims and supported our efforts to deal with perpetrators. We continue to intensify our efforts to provide safe environments for children in our parishes and schools. Further, we work with others in our communities to address the prevalence of sexual abuse in the larger society.

"One of the most touching moments of the Holy Father’s visit to the United States in 2008 was his private conversation with victims/survivors at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. Pope Benedict heard firsthand how sexual abuse has devastated lives. The Holy Father spoke with each person and provided every one time to speak freely to him. They shared their painful experiences and he listened, often clasping their hands and responding tenderly and reassuringly.

"With the support of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, we bishops have made a vigorous commitment to do everything in our power to prevent abuse from happening to children. We live out this commitment through the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which calls us to respond with compassion to victims/survivors, to work diligently to screen those working with children and young people in the Church, to provide child abuse awareness and prevention education, to report suspected abuse to civil law enforcement, and to account for our efforts to protect children and youth through an external annual national audit.

"As we accompany Christ in His passion and death during this Holy Week, we stand with our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in prayer for the victims of sexual abuse, for the entire Church and for the world."

March 26, 2010

Bishop Cistone to celebrate Holy Week at Cathedral

SAGINAW – The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, will celebrate the liturgies of Holy Week at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, 615 Hoyt Ave., in Saginaw. His schedule is as follows:
  • 10 a.m. Sunday: Mass, Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
  • 10:30 a.m., Tuesday:  Chrism Mass
  •  7 p.m., Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper
  • 1 p.m., Friday: Celebration of the Lord’s Passion
  •   9 p.m.,  Saturday: Mass, The Easter Vigil
  •  10 a.m., April 4: Mass, Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of the Lord
The days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are known as HOLY WEEK in the Catholic tradition because everything important to Christian people is celebrated and recalled this week throughout the world. 
On PALM SUNDAY, also called PASSION SUNDAY, we mark Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where he was hailed as a king by the crowds as they waved palm branches and cried, “Hosanna!”  A few days later, they shouted, “Crucify him!”
At the CHRISM MASS, the holy oils which will be used during the next year for baptisms, anointings and Confirmation will be blessed by Bishop Cistone and distributed to representatives of the 105 parish communities within the Diocese of Saginaw. The priests of the Diocese will concelebrate the Mass with Bishop Cistone and make a renewal of their priestly vows. 
On HOLY THURSDAY, we remember, in a special way, the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper – the First Mass in the Catholic tradition. During the Mass, Bishop Cistone will wash the feet of 12 parishioners, recalling the way Jesus washed the feet of the 12 Disciples at that meal.
On GOOD FRIDAY, we remember the crucifixion and death of Our Lord as we gather to venerate the cross and hear the Gospel account of Christ’s Passion.
The EASTER VIGIL is a joyful night-watch by Christians who have gathered to celebrate the most important feast in the life of the Church – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead. The vigil begins outdoors with the blessing of the Easter fire. It is during the Vigil, that thousands of new members join the Church throughout the world as they are baptized, confirmed and receive their first Eucharist.
On EASTER SUNDAY we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus as we hear the Gospel account of the encounter of the first Christians with Our Risen Lord and his empty tomb. 

March 23, 2010

Bishops Encourage Vigilance that Health Care Legislation Protects Conscience, does not Fund Abortion

WASHINGTON — The U.S. bishops called on Congress and people in the Catholic community to make sure promises are kept that new health care legislation will not expand abortions in the United States.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, made the call March 23, moments after president Barack Obama signed the Senate version of health care reform legislation approved by the House of Representatives by a slim margin, March 21. The statement was approved unanimously by the 32-member Administrative Committee of the USCCB.

“We applaud the effort to expand health care to all,” Cardinal George said.

He noted concerns about the legislation, including that “the statute forces all those who choose federally subsidized plans that cover abortion to pay for other people’s abortions with their own funds.”

Cardinal George pointed to President Obama’s executive order that said “it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services.”

The need for such an order underscores deficiencies in the bill, Cardinal George said.

“We do not understand how an Executive order, no matter how well intentioned, can substitute for statutory provisions,” he said also.

President Obama and others claimed the bill does not expand abortion, Cardinal George noted.

“We and many others will accompany the government’s implementation of the health care reform and will work to ensure that Congress and the Administration live up to the claims that have contributed to its passage. We believe, finally, that new legislation to address its deficiencies will almost certainly be required,” he said.

The statement follows:

For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called for reform of our health care system so that all may have access to the care that recognizes and affirms their human dignity. Christian discipleship means, “working to ensure that all people have access to what makes them fully human and fosters their human dignity” (United States Catechism for Adults, page 454). Included among those elements is the provision of necessary and appropriate health care.

For too long, this question has gone unaddressed in our country. Often, while many had access to excellent medical treatment, millions of others including expectant mothers, struggling families or those with serious medical or physical problems were left unable to afford the care they needed. As Catholic bishops, we have expressed our support for efforts to address this national and societal shortcoming. We have spoken for the poorest and most defenseless among us. Many elements of the health care reform measure signed into law by the President address these concerns and so help to fulfill the duty that we have to each other for the common good. We are bishops, and therefore pastors and teachers. In that role, we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.

Nevertheless, for whatever good this law achieves or intends, we as Catholic bishops have opposed its passage because there is compelling evidence that it would expand the role of the federal government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion. The statute appropriates billions of dollars in new funding without explicitly prohibiting the use of these funds for abortion, and it provides federal subsidies for health plans covering elective abortions. Its failure to preserve the legal status quo that has regulated the government’s relation to abortion, as did the original bill adopted by the House of Representatives last November, could undermine what has been the law of our land for decades and threatens the consensus of the majority of Americans: that federal funds not be used for abortions or plans that cover abortions. Stranger still, the statute forces all those who choose federally subsidized plans that cover abortion to pay for other peoples’ abortions with their own funds. If this new law is intended to prevent people from being complicit in the abortions of others, it is at war with itself.

We share fully the admirable intention of President Obama expressed in his pending Executive Order, where he states, “it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services.” However, the fact that an Executive Order is necessary to clarify the legislation points to deficiencies in the statute itself. We do not understand how an Executive Order, no matter how well intentioned, can substitute for statutory provisions.

The statute is also profoundly flawed because it has failed to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protections (both within and beyond the abortion context). As well, many immigrant workers and their families could be left worse off since they will not be allowed to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges to be created, even if they use their own money.

Many in Congress and the Administration, as well as individuals and groups in the Catholic community, have repeatedly insisted that there is no federal funding for abortion in this statute and that strong conscience protection has been assured. Analyses that are being published separately show this not to be the case, which is why we oppose it in its current form. We and many others will follow the government’s implementation of health care reform and will work to ensure that Congress and the Administration live up to the claims that have contributed to its passage. We believe, finally, that new legislation to address its deficiencies will almost certainly be required.

As bishops, we wish to recognize the principled actions of the pro-life Members of Congress from both parties, in the House and the Senate, who have worked courageously to create legislation that respects the principles outlined above. They have often been vilified and have worked against great odds.

As bishops of the Catholic Church, we speak in the name of the Church and for the Catholic faith itself. The Catholic faith is not a partisan agenda, and we take this opportunity to recommit ourselves to working for health care which truly and fully safeguards the life, dignity, conscience and health of all, from the child in the womb to those in their last days on earth.

March 18, 2010

MCC responds to rouge 'Catholic' ad attacking congressman's strong stance against abortion funding by taxpayers

LANSING - Earlier today, The Detroit News Washington bureau reported that a group calling itself "Catholics United" has undertaken a television advertising campaign against Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) for his strong stance against abortion funding in the U.S. Senate version of health care reform.

The statement below was released in response to a separate media inquiry if "Catholics United" was affiliated with the Michigan Catholic Conference.  The statement may be attributed to Paul Long, Michigan Catholic Conference Vice-President for Public Policy.

"The Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are the official voices of the Catholic Church, in this state and across the country, respectively, on matters pertaining to public policy.  No group has done more to promote the need for universal health care coverage than the Catholic Church. Both the MCC and the USCCB have stated as clear as day, however, that the Senate-passed version of health care reform is unacceptable in its current form as it fails to uphold the Hyde Amendment, which ensures no federal taxpayer dollars are used to pay for abortions or health plans that cover abortions, and also fails to protect individual conscience rights.

"The aforementioned television advertising campaign is misleading the public and distorting the official policy positions of the Catholic Church in Michigan and throughout the country.  In no way does Catholics United represent the public policy positions of the Catholic Church.  In fact, the ad campaign and its accompanying news release grossly misrepresents the official position of the Catholic Church on health care reform, and unfairly and erroneously attacks Congressman Bart Stupak for his efforts to prohibit tax-payer funded abortions."

Link to USCCB description of current Senate health care reform bill, and how it allows for taxpayer funded abortion.

U.S. Bishops Provide Resources Explaining Flaws In Senate Health Care Bill

WASHINGTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has made available several new resources explaining its calls for essential changes to the Senate health care reform bill. In a March 15 statement, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the USCCB, said that the U.S. bishops would, regretfully, have to oppose the final bill if these changes were not made.

The resources are available at:

Among them is an analysis of the abortion funding provisions of the Senate health care bill that highlights the bishops’ objections ( Two pieces respond to recent criticisms of the bishops’ position on the health care bill, namely criticisms from Timothy Stoltzfus Jost of Washington and Lee University Law School ( and the other regarding the funding of abortion at community health centers (

With so much of the health care debate focusing on the nature of the legal “status quo” of federal abortion funding, the page also features a backgrounder on current federal policy on abortion funding ( and an analysis of the House health care bill’s Stupak Amendment (

March 15, 2010

From Oprah to Feed the Fire: Religious Sisters will headline Saturday's youth event

You might have seen them on a February broadcast of "The Oprah Winfrey Show"; now its your turn to ask these religious sisters questions.

Join Sisters Karol Joseph and Steven Patrick of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist at the next Feed the Fire on March 20 at St. Agnes Parish in Freeland.

Join us for praise and worship music beginning at 4 p.m., followed by Mass with Bishop Cistone. After dinner, the Sisters will talk about how to hear God’s call in your life and to take questions. There is no charge to attend Feed the Fire, however, there is a $6 charge for dinner. All are welcome.

Check out these clips of the Sisters on the Oprah show:

You may also watch clips on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" website at  or

Action Alert! Help Stop Abortion Funding in Health Care Reform

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. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.
  1. On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.
  2. On December 24, the U.S. Senate 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. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.
  3. Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers.
  4. Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.
Catholics need to make their voices heard insisting that health care reform protect the lives, dignity, consciences and health of all. Please take a brief moment to send a message to your local Congressperson and two U.S. Senators. If you prefer to call rather than email, the Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224.3121.


As federal health care reform continues to move forward at a rapid pace, messages are urgently needed to elected officials like Congressman Dale Kildee (D-Flint) to prevent publicly funded abortions in any health care reform bill.

Please take a moment to follow this link, which is also pasted below, and contact Congressman Kildee. It is very important that the language in the House-passed bill preventing abortion funding, the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, be incorporated in its essential features as a part of any final bill.

March 10, 2010

A Michigan Saint? Diocese of Marquette opens investigation into alleged miracle attributed to pioneer bishop

MARQUETTE - The cause for sainthood of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette’s first bishop will take a major step forward this week when the diocese opens an official inquiry into an alleged miracle being attributed to the Servant of God, Bishop Frederic Baraga

The Most Rev. Alexander K. Sample, Bishop of Marquette, announced the development in the nearly 60-year old cause during a news conference held on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 in Marquette.

“Since my first days as a seminarian studying for the priesthood, I have had a great devotion to Bishop Baraga,” Bishop Sample said.  “As his eleventh successor, I am thrilled at the prospect of a miracle that will advance his cause.   With all the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the diocese, I give thanks to God for his holy, priestly example.”

The diocese will form a canonical tribunal that will investigate the potential miracle, which took place in the U.P.

“We have a case involving what was thought to be a tumor on a patient’s liver that showed up on various tests, including a CT scan and an ultrasound.  However, when exploratory surgery was done, there was no tumor to be found,” explained Father Ronald Browne, diocesan moderator of the curia.

In this instance, the patient, the patient’s family and their parish priest had prayed for healing by invoking the intercession of Bishop Baraga.  In addition, Bishop Baraga’s stole had been placed on the patient’s abdomen, after which the patient reported that the pain went away.

In order to be affirmed as a miracle, the event being investigated must be one that science cannot explain and be attributable to the intercession of the person whose sainthood is being sought.

Bishop Sample has appointed Fr. Browne as episcopal delegate to lead the work of the canonical tribunal.  Other members of the team will include Father Ben Paris as promoter of justice, Elizabeth Delene as notary, Judy Jason as copyist (transcriptionist) and Dr. John G. Kublin, M.D. as the medical expert.

The bishop has also appointed Father Michael Steber, pastor of St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, to serve as chancellor in this case, but he is not part of the team.  Father Steber will open the inquiry process, obtain the signatures of the tribunal members on the key documents that need to be signed and close the process when it is finished.  The opening session is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 12, at 2 p.m. EST at the Diocesan Office Building.

In investigating the alleged miracle, the tribunal will determine whether an event has occurred that cannot be explained by science and whether it can be attributed to the intercession of Bishop Baraga.  After a complete investigation into the potential miracle, two independent physicians must testify as to the physical condition of the person who was the beneficiary of the alleged miracle.

The cause for Bishop Baraga’s sainthood was opened in 1952.  Since that time, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has reviewed documentation, called a positio, (pronounced peh-ZEET-see-oh) that detailed Bishop Baraga’s life and virtues, as well as documents written by or about him.  Bishop Baraga carries the title, “Servant of God,” since the congregation has formally admitted his cause for consideration.

The diocese is currently at the next step in the sainthood process, which is to determine whether any miracles have been attributed to Bishop Baraga’s intercession.  The congregation informed the postulator of the Baraga Cause, Dr. Andrea Ambrosi (pronounced Ahn-DRAY-a Ahm-BROH-zee) of Rome, that the alleged miracle soon to be looked into had the semblance of being a miracle attributable to Bishop Baraga and that it merited further investigation.

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints will again review the positio and make a recommendation to Pope Benedict XVI regarding Bishop Baraga’s heroic virtue.  The Holy Father will then decide whether the title of “Venerable” can be bestowed on Bishop Baraga.

Once a miracle attributable to Baraga has been verified and the proper documentation submitted to the pontiff, Pope Benedict will decide whether Bishop Baraga is to be beatified, which would give him the title of “Blessed.”  This would allow him to be publicly venerated in a limited sense.

In order for Bishop Baraga to be canonized, that is, declared a saint, the diocese would need to verify another miracle attributable to his intercession that occurred after his beatification.  Pending a positive result, Bishop Baraga would be known as Saint Frederic Baraga and be subject to public veneration throughout the worldwide Church.

Bishop Baraga was born in Slovenia in 1797.  He came to the United States to be a missionary to the Odawa and Ojibwa of the upper Great Lakes region in 1830.  Bishop Baraga traveled throughout the 80,000 square mile territory by canoe, boat, horse, snowshoes and even dog sled.

Records indicate that Bishop Baraga once stopped along the Lake Huron shoreline, in present-day Sanilac County (now part of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw) in route to the U.P. The modern parish communities of St. Denis in Lexington and St. Mary - Our Lady of Sorrows in Port Sanilac can trace their roots, in part, to his missionary activities.

He was consecrated a bishop and appointed vicar apostolic of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 1853. When the vicariate apostolic was established as the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie (now called the Diocese of Marquette) in 1857, Baraga served as its first bishop until his death in 1868.  His work includes an Ojibwa English dictionary, which is still in use today.

The Bishop Baraga Association was established in 1930 to promote the cause for sainthood of the “Snowshoe Priest,” as Bishop Baraga is called.  For more information regarding the Bishop Baraga Association, contact Elizabeth Delene at (906) 227-9117 or 1-800-562-9745, ext. 117.

March 4, 2010

Diocesan Collection for Haiti tops $300,000

SAGINAW - Generous members of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw have contributed more than $300,000 to support Catholic Relief Services efforts in Haiti, according to Terri Grierson, director for the Office of Christian Service.

“The response from our parishes and other local organizations has been overwhelming,” Grierson said. “I am continuously amazed by the generosity of the faithful people of our Diocese. It is humbling to know that there are so many people here, who, despite their own economic problems, are willing to give of themselves for their brothers and sisters in Haiti.”

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake leveled the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in January. Haiti is considered to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

The Haitian government reports more than 200,000 people were killed in the earthquake, 300,000 were treated for injuries, and 250,000 homes were destroyed.

In Port-au-Prince, approximately 20 million cubic yards of rubble need to be removed. Seven organized settlements have been established for 42,000 homeless people; around 460,000 people remain in 315 makeshift camps. Despite this, the resilience of the Haitian people is heard in a popular saying on the streets and in the camps, “Nou bite men nou pap tonbe: We may stumble, but we will not fall.”

By working with Caritas Haiti, the Church’s charitable agency there, CRS has focused on the distribution of food and emergency shelter kits, and on coordination with partners on water, sanitation, health and security issues.  CRS is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. Grierson said local donations continue to come into the diocesan offices to be forwarded to CRS.

 For more information on the CRS relief efforts, prayer and educational resources, and information on how you can help with the long-term rebuilding process, go online to or call 1-877-HELP-CRS.

March 3, 2010

Obituary for Fr. Floyd J. Welna

SAGINAW - Father Floyd J. Welna, 93, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died Wednesday, March 3, 2010 at the St. Francis Home in Shields.

He was born on June 21, 1916, in Opole, Minn., one of 18 children of John and Mary (Deja) Welna. He attended public grade school and high school in Holdingford, Minn., before pursuing higher education at St. John University in Collegeville, Minn., and the University of Okalahoma in Norman, Okla., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and master’s degree in chemistry, respectively.
It was while working for The Dow Chemical Company in Detroit during World War II that Father Welna heard and responded to God’s call to the priesthood. He went on to receive his priestly formation at St. John University in Collegeville, Minn., Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich., and the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Saginaw on June 3, 1950 by Archbishop James J. Byrne at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in St. Paul, Minn.

During his priesthood, Father Welna served as assistant pastor at Queen of the Holy Rosary and St. Stephen parishes in Saginaw. In 1954, he was appointed as pastor at St. Michael Parish in Wilmot, where he served until 1960. From 1960 to 1967 he served as a professor and spiritual director at the former St. Paul Seminary in Saginaw. He was later pastor at St. Josaphat Parish in Carrollton from 1967 to 1975, Ss. Peter & Paul Parish in Saginaw from 1975 to 1984 and Sacred Heart Parish in Kawkawlin from 1984 until his retirement in 1986.  He also was temporary Administrator at St. Patrick Parish in Ryan in 1988.

In addition to his parish and seminary assignments, Father Welna also served as director of diocesan sodalities, president of the Priests’ Senate, director of the transitional diaconate program, member of the diocesan finance board, chairman of the diocesan commission on liturgy, member of the diocesan building commission, and member of the Clergy Benefit Society board of directors. He was granted senior priest status (retirement) on July 14, 1986. For most of his retirement – up until he was 90 years old – Father Welna continued his priestly ministry by offering parish support and celebrating Mass most weekends of the year both in the Diocese of Saginaw during summers and in the Diocese of Venice, Fla. He thoroughly embraced Vatican II and the renewal of the liturgy, which was his great love.

He is preceded in death by his parents and 16 of his 17 brothers and sisters: Christopher, Anna (Albert) Theile, Theodore (Catherine), Alphonse (Anne), Agnes (Joseph) Bias, Louis (Frieda), Cecelia (Michael) Sherman, Edward (Matilda), Leone (Sid) Johnstone, Tecla, infant boy, Valeria, Theresa (Philip) Rask, Ambrose, Lauretta (Charles) Fritz, and Fidelis (Elizabeth).  He is survived by his sister Frances (Morris) Jacobson, who will celebrate her 100th birthday on March 9, and his brother-in-law, Charles Fritz, as well as many nieces and nephews.

 The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 6, 2010 at Ss. Peter & Paul Church, 4735 W. Michigan Ave., in Saginaw. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, will preside. Father Patrick C. O’Connor will preach the homily. Burial will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Visitation will take place from 2:00  to 8:00 p.m. at Ss. Peter & Paul Church on Friday, March 5, 2010, including a 7:00 p.m. vigil liturgy led by Father Phillip Rask, who is Father Welna’s nephew. There also will be an opportunity for visitation beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday until the time of the funeral Mass.  

March 2, 2010

Abele Memorial Loan Scholarship Applications Now Available

SAGINAW COUNTY - Application forms are available for the Edward & Marie Abele Memorial Loan Scholarship. The loan provides partial financial assistance for continuing education through any public or private university, college or school.

Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 30, residents of Saginaw County, and practicing their Catholic faith.

To apply for the loan/scholarship for the 2010-2011 school year contact Amy Nietling at (989) 797-6683. Applications must be received by May 15.

March 1, 2010

Tomorrow is first day of school in newly consolidated Saginaw Area Catholic Schools

St. Helen and SS. Peter & Paul students will be welcomed into their new schools by principals, teachers, staff and students

SAGINAW — Saginaw Area Catholic Schools will begin the last quarter of the school year as a newly consolidated school system. Students from St. Helen and SS. Peter & Paul will begin their first day of class at either St. Stephen or St. Thomas Aquinas schools Tuesday morning, March 2. Parents are encouraged to walk their children to their new classrooms and then gather for coffee and fellowship.

It is estimated that approximately $750,000 will be saved annually, beginning in July 2010, through the school consolidation. Merging schools 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.

Most of the students from St. Helen School will attend St. Stephen School and most of the students from SS. Peter & Paul will attend St. Thomas Aquinas School.

Principals, staff and parent volunteers have been working carefully to ensure a smooth transition for students. Staff resource and parent transition teams are meeting and will continue to meet throughout the school year. Open houses, school welcoming visits and orientations have all been held to familiarize families from St. Helen and SS. Peter & Paul with St. Stephen and St. Thomas Aquinas schools. Some students even became pen pals in the weeks leading up to consolidation.

In January, Saginaw Area Catholic Schools announced it would consolidate its four elementary/middle schools—St. Helen, SS. Peter & Paul, St. Stephen and St. Thomas Aquinas—into two buildings. The consolidation is part of an overall strategic plan to ensure the stability, excellence and future of Saginaw Area Catholic Schools. The last day of school at St. Helen and SS. Peter & Paul was Thursday, February 25. A scheduled winter break was held February 26 through March 1 for all Saginaw Area Catholic Schools students.

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.