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.