January 31, 2011

Catholic quiz bowl, the living rosary, how pretzels were used to teach prayer—it must be Catholic Schools Week!

SAGINAW — The week-long, national observance of Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 5, is an opportunity to highlight the contributions of Catholic schools to the Church, community and country. Special Masses, school events and service projects are planned in the 22 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Saginaw.

While the week-long observance is an opportunity to celebrate the value of Catholic education, it also is an opportunity for the students to have fun and showcase the many ways in which they give back to their communities! Food and clothing collections as well as “penny wars” are taking place at many schools during the week to benefit needy families.

The following is a list of some of the Catholic Schools Week events happening across the Diocese:

Monday, January 31
8:30 a.m., Students at Blessed Sacrament School in Midland present a living rosary.

8:30 a.m., Students at St. Mary School in Alma pass out “Hugs and Kisses” to area businesses.

Tuesday, February 1
In the morning, students at St. James School in Bay City make Valentines for residents of the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center.

8:00 a.m., Students at St. Elizabeth Area Catholic School in Reese learn about missionary work during a visit from Sr. Margo Tafoya, MSSp, Mission Office coordinator.

Students at St. Thomas Aquinas School in Saginaw take part in a day of service.

Wednesday, February 2
Students at Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant participate in a Catholic Quiz Bowl.

In the morning, students at St. Joseph the Worker School in Beal City design and build “angelic” snow sculptures.

8:00 a.m., Students at St. Elizabeth Area Catholic School in Reese learn about Catholic identity during a visit from Sr. Yvonne Mary Loucks, RSM, Director for Catholic Identity in Catholic Schools.

Students at St. John the Evangelist School in Essexville made special “Your heart is in God’s hand” valentines for the homebound. The valentines will be picked up for delivery.

Thursday, February 3
Students at St. Cecilia School in Claire will dress as pirates as they discover the Word of God on a “high seas” expedition.

Students at St. Stephen School in Saginaw participate in Random Acts of Kindness.

Students at St. Michael School in Pinconning will bring in donations for the “Michigan Make-A-Wish Foundation,” and in exchange get to wear pajamas to school.

Friday, February 4
In the morning, All Saints Central High School students will bring in food to pack sack lunches. Students will deliver the lunches to the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission in Bay City.

8:00 a.m., Students at Nouvel Catholic Central High School present a powerful, prayerful drama during a morning assembly.

12:30 p.m., Students at Holy Trinity School in Bay City will enjoy hot pretzels while learning why pretzels were created to teach people how to pray.

The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw is home to 22 Catholic schools with nearly 3,500 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 began in 1868.

Catholic Conference Outlines Advocacy Priorities for 96th Michigan Legislature

LANSING – Recognizing the significant challenges that accompany a $1.8 billion state budget deficit, Michigan Catholic Conference today announced that protecting the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and maintaining adequate funding levels for state programs that benefit Michigan’s destitute population will top its advocacy agenda for the 2011-2012 legislative session.

“The Conference offers its agenda as an opportunity for dialogue and legislative action on a wide spectrum of issues that will advance the common good,” said MCC President and CEO Paul A. Long. “We look forward to working with state leaders and to participate in a constructive debate that will shape policy in Michigan for years to come.”

The Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit has been a major policy priority for the Conference due to its ability to lift low-income workers out of the stranglehold of poverty. According to the economically conservative Anderson Economic Group, the goals of the EITC are to “provide income support and reduce poverty” and to “remove barriers to work and encourage self-sufficiency.”

Those who receive the EITC use the credit in ways that economically benefit local communities. In tax year 2009, for example, according to IRS estimates, the fully implemented Michigan EITC will have added $7.2 million to the local Saginaw County economy; $3.2 million in Monroe County; and $4.7 million in Calhoun County. Statewide, an estimated $280 million will have been added to local communities through a fully implemented Michigan EITC.

“The expense of the Michigan EITC is mitigated by the amount that is spent in the local economy by those who receive the credit; therefore, the EITC has a dual purpose: to act as a barrier to poverty and an incentive to work, and as an economic boost for local communities,” said Long.
Just as protecting the EITC and maintaining funding levels for necessary state programs are critical, the Conference will also pursue policies that uphold the dignity of the human person, promote educational choice, grant preferential options to the poor and vulnerable, guarantee religious freedom, support the traditional family structure, and encourage restorative justice.

“It is our hope that this Legislature will work to defend the life and dignity of all peoples of our state, especially those living on the margins of society,” said Long. “At a time when Michigan’s unemployment rate continues to hover above 11 percent, we are urging those who craft state policy to seriously evaluate how any reform of state government will impact the elderly and frail, the poor and disadvantaged.”

Michigan Catholic Conference’s advocacy agenda was approved in December by its Board of Directors and released this week through FOCUS, a periodic essay distributed to all Catholic parishes, schools, institutions and other locations and individuals across the state. Below is a detailed listing of public policy issues that are of interest to the Conference in the categories of Religious Freedom, Human Life, Children and Families, Health Care, Education, Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies, and Restorative Justice:

Religious Freedom

  • The rights of faith-based providers and all individuals to conscience protections in the delivery of services,

  • The equal application of the law to all persons and institutions regardless of their faith, and

  • Opposition to insurance regulations mandating coverage for abortion or contraception.

Human Life

  • State initiatives that provide alternatives to abortion and assistance to pregnant women,

  • Legislation that seeks to ban partial-birth abortion in state law,

  • Regulations on human embryo research, and

  • Upholding the constitutional ban on the death penalty.

Children and Families

  • Upholding the constitutional definition of marriage,

  • Policies that protect the stability of the marriage bond and the institution of the family,

  • Amending Michigan’s no-fault divorce laws.

Health Care

  • Protection of health coverage for low and moderate income individuals and families,

  • Appropriate Medicaid funding to ensure adequate coverage for recipients and payments to providers,

  • Legislation that prohibits abortion funding in all health plans, and

  • Opposition to legislation that threatens the institutional integrity of faith-based providers.


  • An end to the state constitutional ban on aid to non-public schools,

  • Protection of non-public schools from excessive regulation,

  • Mandatory consultation between public school districts and the non-public school districts located within their jurisdiction regarding the appropriate distribution of federal program dollars,

  • Protection of virtual learning experiences and course content that includes dimensions of faith,

  • Providing for expanded science and technology learning opportunities,

  • Policies that seek to improve the quality of public education, and

  • Preservation of the Michigan Tuition Grant Program.

Economic Justice and Regulatory Policies

  • The allocation of scarce budget resources to preserve essential services for vulnerable persons,

  • Affirmation of the recognized right to exercise religious conscience in the provision of publicly-funded services,

  • Policies that seek to promote the dignity of all human persons, regardless of citizenship,

  • Providing limited immunity for private human service providers for the provision of services otherwise provided by the state,

  • Maintenance of the tax-exempt status for not-for-profit organizations,

  • Affordable housing for low and moderate income families and individuals, and

  • Affordable and accessible transportation options for low and moderate income workers.

Restorative Justice

  • Adequate and professional legal representation to all accused individuals regardless of economic status,

  • The right of faith-based providers in the delivery of services to incarcerated individuals, regardless of citizenship,

  • Reforming and enhancing the provision of health care services provided in Michigan prisons, including end of life care,

  • A comprehensive approach to prisoner rehabilitation and re-entry programs that includes continuing education, adequate personal identification, transportation, housing, and employment assistance,

  • Sentencing guidelines and parole practices that reflect an individual’s potential threat to society, including amending Michigan’s mandatory minimum sentencing statutes impacting juveniles and certain drug offenses, and

  • Elimination of life without parole for juveniles convicted as adults.

January 28, 2011

Bishop Cistone to celebrate Mass with nearly 3,500 students during Catholic Schools Week

2.1 million Catholic school students prepare to celebrate
Catholic Schools Week
across the United States, including
those in the Diocese of Saginaw.

SAGINAW — Catholic school students in all 22 schools across the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw will be part of the nationwide Catholic Schools Week celebration, January 30-February 5. The theme this year is “Catholic Schools: A+ for America,” which highlights the added value of Catholic schools for the nation.

As a group, Catholic school students perform among the top in the country. They have a 99-percent graduation rate and 94 percent go to college. Additionally, Catholic school students are known for the countless hours of service they provide in their local communities. In the Diocese of Saginaw, students help feed the poor, visit the elderly, and raise awareness of important social issues such as abortion and euthanasia.

“It is with great enthusiasm and gratitude that I am celebrating Catholic Schools Week,” said the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw. “I am so proud of our wonderful students and the many contributions of all those who make Catholic education possible: the dedicated principals, teachers, school staffs and volunteers, committed parents, pastors and pastoral administrators who provide excellent leadership, and, in a special way, generous parishioners and benefactors.”

In thanksgiving, Bishop Cistone will celebrate the following regional Masses during Catholic Schools Week:

•January 31, 9:00 a.m., St. Thomas Aquinas
5376 State St., Saginaw
Students from St. Elizabeth and St. Thomas Aquinas schools

•January 31, 1:00 p.m., St. Stephen
2711 Mackinaw St., Saginaw
Students from Nouvel Catholic Central High School and St. Stephen School

•February 1, 12:00 p.m., Sacred Heart
302 S. Kinney Ave., Mt. Pleasant
Students from Sacred Heart Academy, St. Cecilia, St. Joseph and St Mary schools

•February 2, 9:30 a.m., St. Michael
310 E. 2nd St., Pinconning
Students from Auburn Area Catholic, St. Anne, St. Michael and St. Valentine schools

•February 3, 10:00 a.m.
St. Stanislaus Kostka
900 S. Grant St., Bay City
Students from All Saints Middle and High School, Our Lady of Lake Huron,
Holy Trinity, St. James, St. John the Evangelist and St. Slanislaus Kostka schools

•February 4, 8:30 a.m.
Blessed Sacrament
3109 Swede Ave., Midland
Students from Blessed Sacrament and St. Brigid schools

$2.8 million expansion complete at St. Brigid School—dedication this weekend marks start of Catholic Schools Week

WHAT: Bishop Cistone to dedicate newly expanded St. Brigid of Kildare School and Parish Center. Members of the media are invited to tour the expanded school.

WHEN: Sunday morning, January 30, 2011
Bishop Cistone will celebrate Mass at St. Brigid of Kildare Church, 207 Ashman St., in Midland, at 11:30 a.m. Following the Mass, members of the St. Brigid church and school community will gather at the site of the newly expanded school and Cardinal Hickey Parish Hall, 130 West Larkin St., at approximately 12:30 p.m., for the dedication.

MIDLAND — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, will help mark the beginning of Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 5, with the dedication of a $2.8 million school and parish center expansion.

The 12,700-square-foot addition to the St. Brigid campus includes a gymnasium and locker rooms, kitchen, classrooms and offices.

“What a wonderful way to begin Catholic Schools Week,” Bishop Cistone said. “The expansion project at St. Brigid School is an exciting achievement for the local community and the church. Our schools have a tradition of excellence in educating disciples of Christ, and the school expansion is an affirmation that parents continue to desire a Catholic school education for their children.”

Enrollment at St. Brigid School has grown from 67 students in 2004 to 164 this year. That number has increased, in large part, because of the school’s addition of sixth grade in 2006, seventh grade in 2007 and eighth grade 2008.

January 24, 2011

Bishops Support Three Bills to Strengthen Protections for Life and Conscience

WASHINGTON — Three bills currently in the U.S. House of Representatives would help ensure that adequate protections are in place for the consciences of taxpayers and health care providers and against federal funding of abortion. In three letters, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), urged House members to support the bills.

The Protect Life Act, H.R. 358, Cardinal DiNardo wrote in a January 20 letter, would address flaws in the new health care reform law and bring it “into line with policies on abortion and conscience rights that have long prevailed in other federal health programs.” It would do so by preventing funds under the new law from subsidizing abortion or health care plans that cover abortion, protecting the consciences of health care providers who decline to participate in an abortion, and ensuring that the law doesn’t override state laws on abortion and conscience.

The full text of Cardinal DiNardo’s letter on the Protect Life Act is at: www.usccb.org/healthcare/DiNardo-HR358-ltr.pdf

In a second letter January 20, Cardinal DiNardo urged support for the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA), H.R. 361, which will codify into law the longstanding policy of the Hyde/Weldon amendment and give health care entities that do not provide abortions legal recourse when faced with government-sponsored discrimination. The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services would be designated to investigate complaints.

“Passage of ANDA is urgently needed to protect the civil rights of health professionals and other health care entities,” the cardinal wrote. “This bill reaffirms a basic principle: No health care entity should be forced by government to perform or participate in abortions.”

Full text of the ANDA letter is at: www.usccb.org/conscienceprotection/cardinal-dinardo-HR361-ltr.pdf

In a January 21 letter, Cardinal DiNardo also voiced his support for the bipartisan No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, H.R. 3, which would “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.” The cardinal wrote, “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.”

Cardinal DiNardo noted that this agreement is so longstanding that, during the recent health care debate, many assumed it was already in place at all levels of the federal government, when in fact the Hyde amendment is only a rider to the annual Labor/HHS appropriations bill and only governs funds under that act.

The cardinal noted, “The benefit of H.R. 3 is that it would prevent problems and confusions on abortion funding in future legislation. Federal health bills could be debated in terms of their ability to promote the goal of universal health care, instead of being mired in debates about one lethal procedure that most Americans know is not truly ‘health care’ at all.”

The letter on H.R. 3 is available online at: www.usccb.org/prolife/DiNardo-HR3.pdf

January 23, 2011

March for Life 2011: Evening of Prayer and Formation

WASHINGTON – The Diocese of Saginaw’s 400 pro-life pilgrims gathered for a time of prayer and formation on the eve of the March for Life. Below are some video highlights from the programs, including a prayerful skit led by students from Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw and two clips keynote speaker Nathan Bolton on “Marching WITH Life (Jesus)” and his closing prayer.

As a product of a pro-life decision, Nathan Bolton was adopted at birth. At the age of 13 months, he became paralyzed from the shoulders down due to a virus that infected the spinal cord. Learn more about his story at nathanbolton.com.

Sunday Mass with Bishop Cistone at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

WASHINGTON – It was standing room only in the main body of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception as the Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, celebrated the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass.

An estimated 5,000 March for Life pilgrims from across the country filled the building, prompting the Basilica’s Rector to note that “Easter is not even this full” before the Mass began.

See photos from this morning’s Mass on our Facebook page.

January 22, 2011

2011 March for Life Pilgrimage Begins

SAGINAW – Four hundred pilgrims gathered at the Center for Ministry this morning begin their journey to the 2011 March for Life in Washington, D.C. The group celebrated Mass with Bishop Cistone before he joined them in a caravan of eight charter buses en route to the nation’s capital to protest the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

See more photos on Facebook.

January 20, 2011

Nouvel grad named MCC Vice President for Public Policy

Lansing – Michigan Catholic Conference announced today that Tom Hickson has joined the organization as Vice President for Public Policy, effective January 31. Hickson’s primary role will be to act as the chief liaison between state government and the Catholic Church in Michigan.

“Tom has established himself on both sides of the aisle as one of the premier legislative advocates in this state, and we are very pleased he has chosen to bring his many talents and extensive experience in state government to our organization,” said Paul A. Long, MCC President and Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to joining the Conference Hickson was Director of Legislative Affairs for the Michigan Association of Counties, where he was responsible for coordinating legislative strategies to advance that organization’s policy agenda. Tom has also served as legislative liaison for the Department of Environmental Quality, as assistant legislative liaison for the Department of Natural Resources, and as a policy advisor in the Michigan House of Representatives. He has also served as a legislative assistant to former State Representative Andrew Richner and as constituent relations assistant to former State Senator Jon Cisky.

In 2009 Hickson finished second in a MIRS News Insider Survey that ranked the state’s most influential lobbyists. He fills the vice president position left vacant by Paul Long, who in September 2010 was appointed by the MCC Board of Directors to succeed Sister Monica Kostielney as President and Chief Executive Officer. Tom is a 1996 graduate of Albion College, having earned duel bachelor degrees in Economics and Management and Political Science. He attended high school in Saginaw at Nouvel Catholic Central.

Michigan Catholic Conference is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. Founded in 1963, the Conference presents to state government its positions on a wide range of issues that seek to advance the common good, including education, economic justice, human life, restorative justice, religious freedom and policies that impact children and families.

January 18, 2011

Record group to travel to Washington, D.C. to protest abortion—people at home can follow online

Bishop Cistone will board one of eight charter buses to lead a diocesan group to the annual protest marking the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

WHAT: Bishop Cistone leads Diocese of Saginaw group to March for Life in Washington, D.C.
The Office for Communications will be posting news, photos and videos daily on the diocesan Facebook page and Twitter account. Members of the community are encouraged to follow the events of the pilgrimage online.

WHEN: Saturday morning, January 22, 2011
More than 400 pilgrims, the largest group to date, will gather at the Center for Ministry, 5802 Weiss St., in Saginaw Township, beginning at 7:00 a.m. They will leave the Center on eight charter buses, following an 8:00 a.m. Mass celebrated by Bishop Cistone. Expected departure time is 9:00 a.m.

SAGINAW — More than 400 Catholics, teens and adults, 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 Cistone, is the largest to date and will leave from the Center for Ministry, 5802 Weiss St., in Saginaw Township on Saturday morning.

More than 60 students will join the diocesan pilgrimage from Sacred Heart Academy in Mt. Pleasant, around 50 students from All Saints Middle & High School in Bay City and nearly 20 students from Nouvel Catholic Central will be on board the eight buses. In all, more than 20 parish communities throughout the 11-county diocese will be represented among the group.

While in Washington, D.C., Bishop Cistone will celebrate Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception; it is the largest Roman Catholic church in the United States and North America. There already are more than 2,000 marchers from across the country expected to be at the 9:00 a.m. Mass.

On Monday, Bishop Cistone and the diocesan group will join hundreds of thousands of people of all faiths for the annual March for Life from the National Mall to the Supreme Court. While Diocese of Saginaw groups have participated throughout the years, 2011 is the fifth consecutive year the diocese has sent a convoy of charter buses to the event.

The Saginaw group will make its return trip from Washington, D.C. on Monday evening following the March; the group is expected to arrive back at the Center for Ministry at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning.

January 14, 2011

Santo Subito! Servent of God John Paul II will be beatified on May 1

In the Photo: Then Bishop-elect Joseph R. Cistone (today the Bishop of Saginaw) meets John Paul II in 2004.

VATICAN CITY (VIS) - On May 1, the second Sunday of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, Benedict XVI will preside at the rite of beatification for John Paul II in the Vatican.

According to a note released by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, "today January 24, Benedict XVI, during an audience granted to Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, authorised the dicastery to promulgate the decree of the miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Servant of God John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla). This concludes the process which precedes the rite of beatification.

"It is well known that, by pontifical dispensation, his cause began before the end of the five-year period which the current norms stipulate must pass following the death of a Servant of God. This provision was solicited by the great fame of sanctity which Pope John Paul II enjoyed during his life, in his death and after his death. In all other ways, the normal canonical dispositions concerning causes of beatification and canonisation were observed in full.

"Between June 2005 and April 2007 the principal diocesan investigation was held in Rome, accompanied by secondary investigations in various other dioceses, on his life, virtues, fame of sanctity and miracles. The juridical validity of these canonical processes was recognised by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints with a decree of 4 May 2007. In June 2009, having examined the relative 'Positio', nine of the dicastery's theological consultors expressed their positive judgement concerning the heroic nature of the virtues of the Servant of God. The following November, in keeping with the usual procedure, the 'Positio' was submitted for the judgement of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who
gave their approval.

"On December, 19 2009, Benedict XVI authorised the promulgation of the decree on John Paul II's heroic virtues.

"With a view to the beatification of the Venerable Servant of God, the postulator of the cause invited the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to examine the recovery from Parkinson's disease of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre Normand, a religious of the 'Institut des Petites Soeurs des Maternites Catholiques'.

"As is customary, the voluminous acts of the regularly-instituted canonical investigation, along with detailed reports from medical and legal experts, were submitted for scientific examination by the medical consultors of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 21 October 2010. The experts of the congregation, having studied the depositions and the entire documentation with their customary scrupulousness, expressed their agreement concerning the scientifically inexplicable nature of the healing. On 14 December the theological consultors, having examined the conclusions reached by the medical experts, undertook a theological evaluation of the case and unanimously recognised the unicity, antecedence and choral nature of the invocation made to Servant of God John Paul II, whose intercession was effective in this prodigious healing.

"Finally, on January 11, 2011 the ordinary session of the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints took place. They expressed their unanimous approval, believing the recovery of Sr. Marie Simon Pierre to be miraculous, having been achieved by God in a scientifically inexplicable manner following the intercession of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, trustingly invoked both by Sr. Simon herself and by many other faithful".

Holy Father accepts resignation of Bishop Adamec

It was announced today in Rome that Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of the Most Rev. Joseph V. Adamec, Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown, Penn., who reached the retirement age of 75 last August, and named his successor.

Bishop Adamec is a native of the Diocese of Saginaw and served as a priest in this local church more than 25 years before his appointment as Bishop of Altoona-Johnstown in 1987.

He was born on Aug. 13, 1935 in Bannister and baptized there at St. Cyril Parish. Although he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Nitra, Slovakia, in 1946, he returned to his home diocese to minister in 1961.

Between 1961 to 1987, Bishop Adamec served as a parish priest at Blessed Sacrament in Midland, St. Casimir and Queen of the Holy Rosary, both in Saginaw, Sacred Heart in Birch Run, St. John the Evangelist in Ubly, St. Hyacinth in Bay City and Ss. Peter & Paul in Saginaw. He also served tenures as Assistant Chancellor, Mastor of Ceremonies, Secretary to the Bishop, and Chancellor of the Diocese of Saginaw. In 1980, Pope John Paul II recognized him as a recipeient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medel for "Service to the Church and Pope" and in 1985 the late pontiff named then Father Adamec as a "Prelate of Honor," granting him the title of Monsingor.

Learn more about Bishop Adamec through the Diocese of Altoon-Johnstown website, http://www.ajdiocese.org/.

January 7, 2011

First Friday Phenomena from Bay Area Catholic Schools

a Each year Bay Area Catholic Schools, along with dioceses and schools across the country, observe Catholic Schools Week, beginning the final Sunday of January. It is a special time to focus on our mission, celebrate, and reach out to the community. The schools’ service focus this year will be providing additional resources for homeless people in our area. Many other activities will also take place within each school. An All Schools Mass with Bishop Cistone is slated for Thursday, February 3. We look forward to the students and staff of Our Lady of Lake Huron Catholic School in Harbor Beach joining us for this liturgy. Due to their location, it will be their first time to celebrate with other Catholic schools during a Catholic Schools Week.

a With the establishment of the Development Office, grant writing has increased and is already bearing fruit. All Saints Middle and High School recently received charitable grants from
  • SC Johnson and Sons Co. for improved lighting in the school and in The Little Theater. We look forward to the use of increased lighting at a reduced cost because of their help.

  • The Helen Casey Memorial Fund to plant a community garden to assist the Good Samarian Rescue Mission in yet another way.

  • The John W. and Rose E. Watson Foundation for $4,000 toward student equipment and supplies. It will be used for technology upgrades and ACT preparation materials.

All Saints is proud to partner with these generous organizations to improve our schools. Should you become aware of possible grant opportunities for Bay Area Catholic Schools, either the system or individual schools, contact Paul or Tim at (989) 892-2535 ext. 44.

a Marge Bullock, veteran teacher at St. James School and All Saints alumnus (‘83), also landed a MEEMIC Book Grant for her school. Last month the MEEMIC Foundation for the Future of Education presented Mrs. Bullock with a check to cover the purchase of more than $400 worth of Michigan History books and resources for St. James. Keiven Trombley, of the Enright-Trombley Agency, local MEEMIC Insurance representative, was entertained with Christmas carols by the second and third grade classes at the presentation ceremony. He also provided a treat for the children and a surprise gift certificate for Mrs. Bullock. The entire St. James School family is very appreciative.

a Earlier this week, Michael had the unique and wonderful opportunity of participating in the All Saints "Challenge Day" provided by the Bay Area Community Foundation. This program is designed to help individuals to recognize the values, challenges and gifts that are in each of us. When we become aware of how we affect each other, we are better able to build each other up rather than tear each other down. 100 young people experienced a day they are bound to remember for a long time. Better yet, coupled with the daily faith environment within our schools, the potential for significant change in how we treat each other is greatly increased because of this incredible day.

a Occasions for enjoyable evenings out are on the horizon as All Saints Middle School presents Winter Whoopee XIII. This annual student variety show welcomes special guest Magician Tim Carlson, who is "guaranteed to raise a smile". Performances are 7:00 p.m. Friday, January 14 and Saturday, January 15 at St. John Auditorium, 619 Main St., Essexville. $5 tickets are available at All Saints (989-892-2533) and at The Sweet Boutique, 816 Washington Avenue. Tickets for "Late Nite Catechism", also Saturday, January 15, 7:30 p.m. at The State Theatre (989-892-2660) are going quickly. We invite you to attend one or both of these events next weekend.

Look for more Phenomena: February 4.

January 6, 2011

Obituary for Fr. Michael H. Wolf

SAGINAW – The Rev. Michael H. Wolf, 96, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at his St. Francis Home residence.

Father Wolf was born on December 8, 1914 in Düsseldorf, Germany, the first-born of four children, all sons, to Veronica and Hubert Wolf. The family immigrated to the United States in 1923 and made its way to Bay City, where they were members of St. Boniface Parish.

He received his elementary education at St. Boniface School and went on study for the priesthood at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids and St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1942 by the Most Rev. William F. Murphy, the first Bishop of Saginaw, at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption.

During his 34 years of active ministry, Father Wolf served 13 parish communities, including his native St. Boniface Parish. His longest tenure was from 1953 to 1967 at St. Michael Parish in Maple Grove. Following his retirement in 1984, he maintained residence at St. John the Evangelist Parish, where he continued to celebrate weekend Mass on occasion until 2007, when he moved into the St. Francis Home.

Father Wolf’s other parish assignments included Sacred Heart and the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption, both in Saginaw, where served as an assistant pastor. He served as administrator at St. Patrick in Palms and Sacred Heart and Gladwin, where he later also was named pastor. He also served tenures as pastor at St. Anthony of Padua in Helena, St. Vincent de Paul in Shepherd and St. Leo the Great in Winn, St. Roch in Caseville and St. Felix of Valois in Pinnebog, and St. Francis Borgia in Pigeon. He also was a Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus served as chaplain to various local councils.

He is survived by two brothers: John Wolf of Bay City and Robert Wolf of Evanston, Ill., and several nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Herman Wolf.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at St. John the Evangelist Church, 614 Pine St., in Essexville. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw will preside. The Rev. Jack R. Johnson will preach the homily. The Rite of Committal will follow in the Priests’ Section of St. Patrick Cemetery in Bay City.

Visitation will take place from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, January 10, 2011, at St John the Evangelist Church. The Transfer of the Body to Lie in State will begin the visitation time at 2:00 p.m. with the Rev. Patrick C. O’Connor presiding. A Vigil Liturgy will take place at 7:00 p.m. with the Rev. Craig L. Albrecht presiding and the Rev. Thomas J. McNamara preaching.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of W. A. Trahan Funeral Chapel.

January 5, 2011

Fr. Michael H. Wolf, the Diocese of Saginaw’s most senior priest, dies this morning at 96

SAGINAW – The Rev. Michael H. Wolf, 96, the eldest and longest serving priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died this morning, January 5, 2011 at his St. Francis Home residence.

He was born on December 8, 1914 in Düsseldorf, Germany, the first-born of four children, all sons, to Veronica and Hubert Wolf. The family immigrated to the United States in 1923.

"I have a very vivid recollection of being at Ellis Island as an 8-year-old boy," Father Wolf said during a 2007 interview with FAITH Saginaw magazine on the occasion of his 65th anniversary as a priest. "I can still see the hallways and all the people being led in and out of different rooms … For me, as a young boy, it really was an adventure, but it must have been a very hard and frightening time for my parents."

The Wolf family made its way from New York to Bay City, Mich., where relatives already were settled. They joined St. Boniface Parish, which was the town’s ethnic German church community at the time and young Michael began his American education at St. Boniface School, where he began to hear God calling him to his vocation.

"We came in as immigrants and we could not speak a word of English and they just took us in," Father Wolf said of the priests and religious sisters who ministered at St. Boniface. "They were my inspiration as a kid. I never had an idea of being anything but a priest."

With the help of his parish priest, young Michael went on from St. Boniface School to study at St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids and would later complete his theology formation at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Md.

Father Wolf was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1942 by the Most Rev. William F. Murphy, the first Bishop of Saginaw, at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

During his 34 years of active ministry, Father Wolf served 13 parish communities, including his native St. Boniface Parish. His longest tenure was from 1953 to 1967 at St. Michael Parish in Maple Grove. Following his retirement in 1984, he maintained residence at St. John the Evangelist Parish, where he continued to celebrate weekend Mass on occasion until 2007, when he moved into the St. Francis Home.

"Wherever I have gone, the people have been very good to me," Father Wolf said in that 2007 interview with FAITH Saginaw. "(And) I value, very highly, my brother priests because I have been blessed for so long by their support."

He also held a special place in his heart for converts to the Catholic faith, especially those who he helped enter into the Church as a pastor.

"There is great joy in sharing the truth of our faith with those seeking the journey home," he said.

"For all of them, it’s the same – it’s about the truth. They discover the truth of the Church that Christ established more than 2,000 years ago and they want to embrace it more fully … And, for most of them, the turning point, the thing that finally draws them in, is the Eucharist. They see Jesus’ real presence in the Eucharist and they want to embrace it."

"It always makes me appreciate my faith, which was given to me, more fully."

Father Wolf also spoke of his deep gratitude to God for his life and vocation during that 2007 interview with FAITH Saginaw magazine.

"I’ve always considered myself just lucky to be here," he said. "I’ve never considered myself a wise person. As I celebrate my 65th anniversary of as a priest, I just can’t be grateful enough for the grace God has given me as a priest to share his grace with his people."

Funeral arraignments for Father Wolf are incomplete at this time. Look for his complete obituary later on the DoS News Blog.

To read the complete 2007 FAITH Saginaw interview with Father Wolf, see pages 20 and 21 of that year’s Summer issue.

January 4, 2011

SACSophone: Weekly news from Saginaw Area Catholic Schools ...

Uno, Dos, Tres ...

The seventh grade Spanish class at St. Thomas Aquina School created counting books in Spanish. Many chose to use Christmas as the theme. They visited Mrs. Clarey’s Kindergarten class and shared their counting books.

The seventh graders also worked with their kindergarten partners on colors and shapes.

Santa’s Elves Make New Friends

The first graders at St. Stephen School wrote letters to Santa in December. Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Leppien made sure to get to the post office and send the letters to the North Pole. A few days later, replies from the North Pole were waiting for the children in their classrooms. However, the letter weren't from Santa! Santa was so busy getting ready for Christmas that he asked his elves to respond.

The first graders were so excited to receive letters from Santa's real live elves! They learned a lot about Santa's elves, but still had some questions...so they wrote back to the elves. They heard back from the elves a second time - just before Christmas. The elves even included a special candy cane treat for the first graders this time, baked fresh from the elves’ kitchen!


Congratulations to St. Stephen School reading specialist Anne Gardner, who received a grant to begin a postal system at St. Stephen and to Nouvel faculty member Lisa Moore who received a grant for an air-powered rocket project for her physics classes. These grants were awarded through the Saginaw Community Foundation.

Saginaw Area Catholic Schools was also the recipient of a grant enabling our schools to purchase technology for all core classrooms in the system and the training for teachers to utilize this amazing technology.

Nouvel Seniors Plan Party for Francis Reh Students

The Nouvel Catholic Central High School senior class participated in the Francis Reh Academy holiday festivities right before Christmas break. This was the second time the class of 2011 has participated in such an event. The festivities included the planning of classroom parties for the kindergarten and first grade classes. The senior party planners coordinated such activities as: musical chairs, Christmas cookie decorating, and arts and crafts. Each senior student was given the opportunity to provide a small Christmas gift for a young student at Francis Reh who was then their buddy for the holiday party.

The children’s faces truly lit up when they saw "Santa’s Elf" walk into their classroom carrying gifts for each of them. Senior Zac Badgerhouse dressed the part to help deliver the gifts to the children. Each student was thrilled to find a coloring book and a set of crayons as they opened their gifts. The senior students truly find this to be a rewarding experience. The smiles and laughs filling the classrooms were heartwarming to the students and fun was had by all. - Haley Hendrick, Class of 2011

Moms Are Special Guests

The Young Fives class at St. Thomas Aquinas School had Muffins with Moms day last Friday. Moms were invited into the classroom to have a breakfast of muffins, fruit, and juice. If a child's Mom was unable to come, he or she could invite a grandma or aunt. The kids had a great time showing their Moms around the classroom and having breakfast with them.

Kindergarteners Learn Good Nutrition

St. Stephen School kindergarten students went on a field trip to Old Country Buffet in the beginning of December. This was a culminating activity for a nutrition unit. The kids toured the back rooms to see where the food is made and stored. They then enjoyed a yummy lunch from the bountiful buffet.