State of the Parish Articles

2016 STATE OF THE PARISH REPORTS, as printed in the Bulletin

PASTOR: Fr. John Rocus, May 29

One of the duties of the pastor is to make sure that his staff is doing their job. That means that I should annually sit down with each of them individually and discuss their tasks and how I feel they are doing. I have been very erratic in this duty. I admit it, I’m not a very good administrator. Recently, however, I have been informed that part of that process should include a self- evaluation, an assessment of how they feel they are doing.

Well, if they have to do it, why shouldn’t I have to do it? And so, here, as I begin my 15th year as a priest, and my 9th year here at HOLY SPIRIT CATHOLIC CHURCH, maybe it would be good for me to do a little assessment of what has happened in that time.

I was ordained in 2001. This is my third assignment and my second pastorate. I began in Howell, went north to Flint, and then was sent here in 2007. For those of you who were not here back then, our parish was in a bit of disarray. No need to go into details, but suffice to say that a lot of healing was needed. And that was my task. I would say that I’ve succeeded in some areas, but not in others. The instruction manual for priests, namely, the life of Jesus and the instructions found in the Bible, provided the standards and the guidelines of how I was to conduct myself as a shepherd. Patience, gentleness, meekness, compassion – things like that.  Pretty lofty stuff. And again, mixed results. Priests do bring their humanity with them, and so there are good days and bad days. You win some and you lose some. People have come into the parish and people have left the parish based on some things that I have said or done.

I believe I have a good sense of humor and I think that a lot of people are attracted to that. But on the other hand, some people interpret that as a lack of reverence and so sometimes I get cards and letters.

The enrollment of our parish has not increased very much since I’ve come. It’s still hovers around 400 households. The school enrollment, despite the new building, has not increased. We are doing all we can to promote our school. Eucharistic Adoration has shrunk. It has become less and less “perpetual”. Our RCIA has not had any new catechumens or candidates for two years. Very few parishioners come forward every year to say, how can I help here at Holy Spirit.

It’s also been noted that we are an aging parish and that fewer young people are coming to church.

Having said all that, we’ve also had some great successes. I do think we have a great staff here at Holy Spirit which works very hard on behalf of our congregation and they have been assisted by some great volunteers. Our maintenance department is assisted by the St. Joseph Guild and their accomplishments are legendary. Our bookstore/gift shop is well known in our community and serves the needs of those who shop here or, in some cases, when the ministry is taken out beyond our doors.

We are thankful to those who serve as catechists in the Faith Formation department, our dedicated principal, and our hard-working teachers. And as you well know, we are a generous parish, always supporting the needs of the community and the wider world. We have many good stewards here at Holy Spirit sharing their time, talent, and treasure. And needless to say, we are grateful that we have two deacons serving us.

Technologically speaking, I’d say our parish is pretty much up-to-date now. New phones, Internet connections, new websites, improved sound system, recorded homilies, and a new projector to be used occasionally in the church.

As for me personally, I’m still happy on most days. I’m generally lazy, have to flight cynicism, and I am constantly spoiled by generous parishioners who give me too many gifts and feed me too much food.

My health is OK. Still got the a-fib, but it doesn’t seem to be bothering me. Arthritis is setting in and I’m currently dealing with a knee problem. You probably have noticed my hobbling up at the altar. I’m looking into some therapy. Recently, I feel as if I’ve been called to Deliverance Ministry and so I’m continuing to intensely study in that area.

Priests of our diocese are currently called upon to serve until about 72 years old. I just turned 67 so I’ve got a few more years to go. Having entered the priesthood late, I have vowed to work as long as I can. I’ve been led to believe that I could probably serve out the remainder of my time here. But be advised, that is all subject to change. I serve at the pleasure of the Bishop.

Well that’s it. I’m still hoping to provide for you sometime soon a State of the Parish Report where each of our departments will give a more detailed presentation of the status our faith community here at Holy Spirit Parish.

FAITH FORMATION: Kurt Hoover, June 26

As many of you may have heard, I accepted the Director of Religious Education position at St. Patrick parish in Brighton. This past week was my last week serving Holy Spirit as your Director of Faith Formation. I wanted to take a few moments to reflect upon my time here in addition to delivering the Faith Formation portion of the State of the Parish report.

Over the past weeks I have been reflecting about the three years I have spent here. Aspects of my personal life have shifted since I started here, in addition to changes in the parish. For example, I am now a father and Holy Spirit now has a school building. It is for these reasons that I have a difficult time writing this reflection in a concise manner. Suffice it to say, I have grown considerably in my time here. I have learned a great deal about what it means to be a minister and how to work with people in a parish setting. I have also learned more about myself, and my strengths and weaknesses as a person and minister. I am very grateful for the time I spent here over the last three years and I am glad to have met you all. I won’t be very far away, so don’t be surprised when you see me around!

Now, onto the State of the Parish: when looking at the past year in Faith Formation, it is plain to see that there are significant challenges to the parish in addition to some good goings-on. For the good: our parish Bible studies have been very fruitful and well attended. The feedback on these has been positive from those who have attended. Mary Dewan has also done some wonderful things with the youth, but she will fill you in herself with more details at a later date. There have been some serious struggles regarding Faith Formation in the past few years. A major concern is declining Religious Education attendance and volunteerism. When I started at this parish, there were only 3 catechists working with the children. As a result, I had to temporarily teach one of the classes myself. Now there are 4 catechists, but that is nowhere near the 8 needed to run a full program. The lack of catechists has forced us to make cuts to the program that impacted the experience for our families in addition to degrading the quality of formation the children receive. As a result of these things, our program attendance has dropped significantly with our 2015-16 numbers hovering near 20 students. Low numbers in students will have an impact on future enrollment by creating an undesirable formational atmosphere.

These challenges will be a major issue for my replacement, Tony DiMaria. Tony will be starting during the month of July, and he will need several parishioners to volunteer to be trained as catechists in order to mitigate and eventually reverse the trend that has been present in Religious Education for the past 10 years or so.

In closing, know that I love you all and am thankful that God gave me an opportunity to get to know you. You will be in my prayers, and I hope to see you soon.

CEMETERY: Jacque Durco, July 3

In 2005, Stella Campbell and a few others in our Parish, successfully persuaded the Bishop to agree to build Holy Spirit Catholic Cemetery. Stella established a governing Cemetery Board which is still intact today. The Cemetery Board members who donate their time and talents are: Father John Rocus, Todd Borek, Mike Dewan, Janet Clinger, and Beverly Wilkerwicz.

My name is Jacque “Jackie” Durco. I am the Cemetery Coordinator here at Holy Spirit. I have been a member of Holy Spirit since 1989. My husband Dennis and I have two grown, married children, and two grandchildren. After 25 years of attending mass regularly with my family and serving on the Holy Spirit Liturgy Committee, I decided to convert to Catholicism-Ha! I went to RCIA here at Holy Spirit and in the process met even more GREAT people.

Part of our RCIA training was learning how to share our time, talents, and treasure with the Parish Community. Stella Campbell came to our class room and spoke about our Cemetery. After some discernment, I contacted Stella. For those of you who knew Stella, you will appreciate what she told me: “I don’t need any help in the Cemetery.” So I waited. Four years later, Stella called. She was thinking of retiring and wondered if I was still interested in volunteering. I said yes and I have been volunteering at the Cemetery for 5+ years.

Our Cemetery is beautiful. If you haven’t driven (or walked) through yet, you are missing out! Paul Wonsack, Tim Comperchio, Dave Paffel and the St. Joseph Guild, lovingly care for this peaceful place and I feel blessed to have their help.

There are about 700 graves in our Cemetery. Almost half of them are spoken for. The Statues in the Cemetery depicting Jesus, Mary, Joseph & Mary Magdalen rest on top of columbariums in which niches hold cremains. Two of the columbariums are full.

When you take the Cemetery Driveway all the way back to the circle drive, you find the Angelus Memorial. The Angelus Memorial is a columbarium which holds the cremains of babies lost to miscarriage. Grieving parents are able to memorialize their loved one by placing the baby’s name on a plaque which covers the niche. Kim and Lou DeLellis spearhead this ministry. They counsel grieving parents and help them through the process with the medical community. Todd Borek at Borek-Jennings Funeral Home donates his time and talent in this area also. The Angelus Memorial provides healing to parents well beyond Livingston County and the Diocese of Lansing.

In conclusion, I would like to thank you, the Parishioners, for your love and support over the past 5 years. I have met so many wonderful people. Some of the people I have met are in the darkest of days, yet trust in our Lord, unconditionally; you inspire me. Others, just pop their head in the office to say Hi! Thanks for that, sometimes the mundane office duties are a bore and you brighten my day!

God Bless You All

  1. I could use a little help with organizing and computerizing our records. If you could volunteer 4-6 hours of time to set up Excel Spreadsheets and an address list, please call me at 810-231-9199 X-204 Thanks!

Addenda: Thank you Jacque for providing us with an update on our beautiful cemetery and your work on behalf of our grieving families.

A few weeks back when I first approached her about writing a blurb for our State of the Parish Report, she told me that many years back, while still in school, she took one of those tests which are supposed to identify your particular skills and interests so as to help you find your vocation in life. Her test results indicated she would be ideally suited to be a funeral director. Well, it seems as if she has at last found her calling.

PARISH OFFICE: Marie Lelko & Andrea McGrath, July 10

Marie: When I started working here 34 years ago, the office was in a trailer down Musch Road. I would run off the bulletin on a mimeograph machine. Things have definitely advanced since then. I have worked in almost every capacity; secretary, assistant, counter, bookkeeper, Religious Education Helper, Building Fund finance, book shop manager, and many more. I have worked with all of our former pastors and presently with Fr. John.

When Holy Spirit began, the original name was Church of the Holy Spirit—it was later changed to Holy Spirit Catholic Church. We used to have mass at the VFW hall around the corner on Spicer Road and at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church before our Activity Center was built. We spent many years using the Activity Center as our Sanctuary and activities room. The new sanctuary was built in the early 90’s by Fr. Paul Cummings. What a great day that was, when we could finally worship in a church.

I have seen many employees and volunteers come and go. When the previous secretary left, Fr. Bill asked if I would cover in the office. I said yes until they found a new secretary. Well, that was 14 years ago.

After all this time, I am ready to slow down.  Thus, I have cut my hours to half time. With that Andrea McGrath, who has been volunteering in the office with the bulletin for the past two years, has been hired to cover the office. What a great help she is!

Andrea: I came aboard last fall after many years of volunteer work for the church and school. Most recently, designing, editing and publishing our weekly parish bulletin as well as filling in for Marie for vacations, etc. I have been a parishioner for 17 years and went through the RCIA program and received my confirmation into the Church during Fr. Tim’s last year (1999). My oldest daughter started 1st grade during our school’s second year and completed 8th grade, while my younger daughter attended Pre-K thru 8th grade. Our school is a wonderful, faith-filled oasis from mainstream influences and the girls flourished and excelled with their God-given talents. While my children were at our school, I spent most of my free time volunteering on the raffle, ham sale, marketing team, PTO and school advisory board. After my youngest graduated, I was very happy to work with Marie to continue to support what has been a central part of our family for almost two decades.

Together, we are sharing the secretarial duties, with Andrea’s main responsibility being the editing and publishing the bulletin, updating homilies and articles on the website, and assisting the business manager with computer related projects. Our responsibilities include:  greeting visitors; answering the Parish phone and email; distribute incoming and outgoing mail; maintaining parishioner records and registering new parishioners; assisting parishioners and public with Mass intention requests; recording  and updating sacramental records including baptisms, first communions, confirmations, weddings and funerals;  ordering office, liturgical and fellowship supplies; contacting various ministries for funeral services; preparing weekly intercessions and announcements for Masses; managing the Parish calendar of events and printing the monthly calendar; assisting with hall rental requests; posting weekly contributions; collecting, counting and depositing miscellaneous cash at the end of the month; assist in the bookstore as needed; along with other miscellaneous tasks that come up.

We would also like to thank Chris DeVries & Kathi Master for volunteering their time and talent in assisting with some of the office duties, and would welcome more volunteers to help fill in for times when we are on vacation or unable to be in the office.

Marie works on Monday from 9-1 and Thursday & Friday from 9-5. Andrea works on Monday & Tuesday from 2-5 and Wednesday from 9-2. Please feel free to stop by or call 810-231-9199 x200 if you have any questions or concerns. If you happen to get our voicemail, please be assured that messages will be responded to in a timely manner. We are both very happy to serve the parishioners of Holy Spirit Church in any way that we can.

MUSIC MINISTRY: Leo Lemery, July 10 (introduction article)

I would like to formally introduce myself. I’m Leo Lemery. As you probably know, I have accepted the position as “Director of Liturgical Music” here at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church. As I begin my ministry here, my desire is to continually keep Holy Spirit’s Mission Statement as the main focus for everything that the music ministry accomplishes:

“As disciples of Jesus…we…dedicate ourselves to …love God with all our hearts, souls and minds [and] love our neighbor as ourselves.”

So, in this spirit, we are planning to invite as many parishioners who share this vision— along with the talent, desire and passion to join the music ministry—in the capacity of cantor, instrumentalist, choir member, or small vocal group member.

For a couple of weeks in August, we plan to set up a sign-up table in the fellowship area after each Mass. There will be a chance for you to choose one or more of the opportunities listed above. Also, parents will be able to enroll their children in either a young children’s choir or an early elementary choir. An Upper Elementary choir and youth choir are also in the works! (We are still deciding on age ranges and other details!) Please let me know your ideas about what you think would best serve the needs of our parish and the community.

I am excited to be a part of Holy Spirit Parish and am here first and foremost to serve God. Next, I am eager to discover what the Holy Spirit has in mind to ensure that we worship the Lord “in spirit and in truth.” Also, we will strive to discover and initiate creative and effective ways to use the gift of music in order to draw people to Christ.

I feel very blessed to have been offered this position as the Director of Liturgical Music here at Holy Spirit. I look forward to serving God and all of you to the best of my abilities through the direction of the Holy Spirit! Thank you for your encouragement and for graciously accepting me as a part of the Holy Spirit family.

God Bless You.

FACILITY MANAGEMENT: Tim Comperchio, July 17

Since I started in November 2014, the department has been on full throttle.

Starting with the opening of our new school in January 2015, we assisted with the moving of the teachers/students into their new environment. We learned that selling the portables was not like selling a car; it took time and the right buyer.  Well the Lord sent us the right buyer and we saw the last one leave in July 2015. As of today, we planted grass seed there for more green space.

With the portables gone, our next undertaking was the renovation of the Activity Center.  This was accomplished with the assistance, dedication and hard work of the St. Joseph Guild members and the design committee.  It was a special time for me because it gave me one-on-one time to get to know each guild member in a different light.  I can only say “with faith we can accomplish anything even at the ripe retirement age”! Grazie to everyone!

With the Activity Center job winding down we took on another major project, the resurfacing of our parking lot and driveways. Provided by Action Asphalt, owned by one of our parishioners.  Grazie!  Doctor Bill Burkel (parishioner) our St. Joseph Guild Yoda, installed a drain under the back sidewalk leading to the adoration chapel and supplied his homemade grader to grade the landscape so there will not be a skating rink over the sidewalk this winter! Grazie Doctor B for everything you do for the parish. (If you have not seen the light show Doc B engineered in the AC let me know.)

I am delighted to report that 95% of the major projects are completed! While we still have some minor items to finish, this allows time to reflect on the day to day accomplishments.  First, every Wednesday morning the St. Joseph Guild meets for mass, donuts (can’t work on an empty stomach).  The department compiles a task list from the prior week, which then Vince Skolnik (St. Joseph Guild Coordinator presently on medical leave) will distribute to guild members (I am currently taking on this task). When 12:00 noon strikes, the members are ready to come in for lunch which is cooked by the Guilds’ very own chefs – Chuck Dumiller and Rod St. Thomas.  I would encourage anyone male or female, to join our award winning (The Stella Maris Award) group! Plus our department can always use a helping hand around our facilities.

The facilities department took on all of the grounds maintenance to help balance the budget.   This includes ALL of the weekly mowing, trimming, blowing and tree maintenance. We maintain the cemetery, pavilion, maintenance garage, school, church, activity center, rectory and 38 acres of property. I can’t forget the winter months when we snow plow the parking lots, driveway and sidewalks, a 7 day per week on call type of project. Thank you to the Women’s Guild and another donor, we were able to purchase an enclosure for our John Deere tractor, so our Facility Assistant, Dave Paffel, will not freeze on those sub-zero days. I manage all outside vendors/contractors hired, and organize requests from parishioners, via our new online work orders, for ALL maintenance and event set up requests.

In 2016 the first job was to organize the three new storage rooms in the Activity Center, where we added shelving to each room.  We are working on a “Green Team” approach for the facilities/property, which include energy conservation for recycling.  This is in conjunction with Mike Duquet & Dave Rais (parishioners), who are working on a sustainability plan for the parish. We recently installed 96.5% high efficiency furnaces/air conditioning units for the Activity Center, and have done three of seven units for the Church. The church restrooms are in need of new countertops, sinks and faucets.

2017 is approaching quickly!  I don’t anticipate a duplicate of 2015/16 in terms of major projects, but one of organizing/maintaining what we have.  Following Father’s guidance and prayers to St. Philomena, I have witnessed that she has provided everything we’ve asked for and more. Keep the prayers coming.

God bless!

Addenda: Thank you Tim and Dave for your fine report and even more so for your great dedication in keeping this place afloat. We all know it’s a lot of work.  And it goes without saying that the St Joseph Guild is greatly appreciated as well for all they do for our parish under your guidance.

YOUTH MINISTRY: Mary Dewan, July 31

This being “World Youth Day” weekend, how fitting that I update you on the youth ministry program here at Holy Spirit parish. As you read this article, I will be with a group of teens at the “World Youth Day at Home” event put on by the Archdiocese of Detroit. We will be taking a pilgrimage walk, learning about Polish culture, listening to speakers, sleeping under the stars, and having mass with the archbishop as a way to be in solidarity with the million Catholic pilgrims (including one of our own, Joe Borek!) in Poland. All of this after having spent a week performing works of mercy at the Flint Mission Summer Work Camp – please pray for us!

My name is Mary Dewan and I have been a member of this parish since 2004 when we came to enroll our children at Holy Spirit School. My husband, Mike, and I have seen four children graduate from this fine Catholic school, and we have three more who currently attend. I have a teaching and coaching background, and have spent many years as a catechist in the parishes I have attended. I enjoy spending time with people of all ages, but God has blessed me with a strong desire to serve and inspire young people. It was this desire that prompted me to speak with Fr. John and Kurt Hoover when the director of youth ministry position opened up. I am very grateful to them both for entrusting me with this awesome, yet challenging role. It is a joy to work with the teens of this parish and, as God in His wisdom would have it, to be inspired by and learn from such an amazing group!

While I do coordinate this ministry, I could not get by without the very generous help from all of the staff, many caring parishioners, involved youth group parents, and most of all, my trusty and amazing young-adult sidekicks, Joe Borek and Olivia Kumke. These two seasoned “youth groupers” have been an essential part of growing this ministry and have dedicated many hours to help plan and pitch-in as needed to make youth group a worthwhile experience for all those choosing to participate. I thank both of them for their tireless efforts, especially with the summer bible study – they are well on their way to becoming leaders in the church.

The goal of this ministry is to help our youth (ages 12-18) to become Intentional Disciples of Christ by providing them with opportunities to encounter Jesus through prayer, service, sacraments, and relationships. To achieve this, we meet regularly as a group to pray, reflect on scripture, and discuss different topics. The high school group meets every Sunday evening and the middle school group meets two Fridays a month. This year we named our group “H.Y.P.E.” which stands for Holy Spirit Youth Pursuing Eternity and the teens designed a shirt that can be worn when we are out and about to showcase our Catholic pride (thank you K of C for your generous sponsorship!).

Because there are many ways to encounter Christ, I try very hard to provide a variety of experiences so that the teens can explore and discover what helps them to ignite their faith; I organize retreats, attend vicariate and diocesan activities, and plan social events to help the catholic faith become a personal and integral part of their lives. I also encourage the teens to “own their faith”. To achieve this, they are often put in leadership roles and given opportunities to help plan activities, choose topics and brainstorm ideas. Our group has earned a wonderful reputation for boldness in their faith after performing a skit in front of 400 plus at a retreat, and working together to make a video for another. It will be exciting to see what they do next!

There really is not enough room in this bulletin article to tell you all of the wonderful things the youth group has been a part of this past year, but some include The Diocesan Jamboree, The Mission Weekend Retreat, The Diocesan Middle School Rally, The Living Stations of the Cross, The Living Nativity, Faith Fest and “40 Days for Life”. We tried to go to Washington DC for the “March for Life”, and while God had other plans (remember the blizzard in January?) we were able to find alternative activities at home that provided powerful opportunities to witness to the culture of life. We also had some service projects like The Center for Hope soup kitchen, a “rake-and-run”, and a Christmas caroling outing. This summer our parish sent two teens, Ann Borek and Alex Kumke, to the Diocesan Youth Leadership Camp, and I am excited to see in them the fruits of that experience.

A highlight for me happened on Pentecost Sunday when we invited some young men to our youth group to talk about a prayer ministry they have started. After their talk, we went into the church to pray and one by one the teens got up to be prayed over and to invite the Holy Spirit to work in a powerful way in their lives. It was a very moving sight to see them minister to each other and to see them truly enjoy such a special time with our Lord. Sometimes all I have to do is just get out of the way!

Of course we make youth group fun too! We go to Cedar Point, have movie nights, and get together with other local youth groups ice-skating, swing-dancing and crazy games and food (you have to have food at a teen function!)! Some of the teens are helping to plan an Olympic-themed event this August. Ironically, we have not incorporated the latest phenomenon, “Pokémon Go!” into the youth group but perhaps in due time!

The youth ministry also encourages teens to participate in parish life and we were involved in the St. Joseph Spaghetti dinner, Trivia Night, and SVDP events among others. I do believe that youth ministry is a vital part of our parish and can help to create future leaders in the church and that if we give the teens a voice and treat them like valued members of the parish, they will want to continue to participate joyfully in the life of the church!

I thank all Holy Spirit Parishioners for your support, past donations, and prayers for the teens. If you would like to help in any way (think of us if you like to make goodies, or have too much left-over food that you just don’t know what to do with…again food at a youth group event is very important!), or if you would like to spend some time getting to know this amazing population of our parish, just pull me aside or drop me a line at my parish email: mcdewan@holyspiritrcs.org.

Most of all, I thank all of the teens who come to youth group for getting out of your comfort zone, for supporting one another, for making me laugh when we play goofy games, for blowing my mind during our faith discussions, and for ministering to me with your prayers and your joyful spirit and servants’ hearts, and your impressive love for Jesus. You all give me such hope – I am proud to work with you!

Addenda: Thank you, Mary, for this week’s bulletin article. I’m really enjoying my “vacation” from writing articles this summer. A few more to go in our State-of-The-Parish Report but I still have a few things to say by way of the “addenda” section.

SOCIETY OF ST VINCENT dePAUL: Michael Farrell, August 7

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a world-wide, Catholic, lay organization in which women and men join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are suffering or in need. There are about 880,000 members in about 47,600 conferences in more than 130 countries. There are three conferences in Livingston County: St. Joseph, St. Augustine, and Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit Conference has existed for about 15 years.

It is the person-to-person involvement that makes the work of the Society unique. When someone calls seeking assistance, two Vincentians visit the individual or family (“home visit”). We conduct home visits to maintain the dignity of the individual, to understand their situation, and to expedite the assistance needed. Meeting with people face-to-face demonstrates to them that there is a community that cares about them both physically and spiritually. While visiting, we often ask if they have intentions for which they want us to pray. Their written intentions are placed in a box in the adoration chapel, and at least once per month the petitions at Mass include the intentions of those visited by members of our Holy Spirit Conference. We encourage those we meet to return to or join a faith community, and we often leave spiritual materials.

The assistance we provide takes many forms including advice concerning where the person should go to obtain the needed assistance; helping to pay for shelter and utilities; helping with medical and transportation needs, providing food, and other types of assistance. Our motto is, “No form of charity is foreign to the Society.” When we provide assistance we often have to cooperate with other St. Vincent de Paul Conferences as well other government and private agencies in the county. An essential precept of our work is to provide help while conscientiously maintaining the confidentiality and dignity of those who are served. We are keenly aware that poverty, suffering and loneliness are present for many in our community.

Vincentians from Holy Spirit Conference made 314 home visits during the fiscal year that ended September 2015. Thanks to your generosity, we disbursed nearly $50,000 in assistance helping more than 1,100 people. Most of the assistance (55%) was for housing, including temporary shelter for the homeless, utilities, and household items. Other significant areas of assistance were: food (18%), clothing and personal items (14%), and transportation (10%). The figures include estimated values of parishioner-donated food and gifts that were distributed at Christmas and food donated during Lent that was delivered to families last Easter. Through the end of July 2016, we have disbursed about $5,000 more than at this time last year – much of it for shelter for the homeless. For the last three years, we have also collected items that we took to the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Lansing.

All of the donations we receive go to those we help. Holy Spirit Conference members pay for administrative expenses (e.g., paper, postage, ink, etc.) and donate the mileage they drive.

We are always looking for additional members who will visit those who call and help them help themselves. If you want to learn about this ministry, please call (810-231-9199, ext. 235) and leave a message with your name and phone number. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.

Addenda: Our State-of-the-Parish Report continues with the St. Vincent DePaul Society. Thank you for your article today but more so, thank you for the service that you extend to our community on our behalf.

WOMEN’S GUILD: Rose Heinrichs, August 14

Welcome to All Women of the Parish. The Holy Spirit Women’s Guild, a local branch of the National Council of Catholic Women, has been serving in this parish since 1980. We have about sixty members, some of whom are confined to their homes, but they continue to share their prayers and love as one family. The remaining members work together on various activities including: preparing and serving funeral luncheons, craft and bake sales, Pastie making and sales, sharing a ministry of making sweaters and sleeping mats for the poor, rosary making, and a continuous prayer line available for anyone who requests our support.

Each year we hold a Rummage Sale the week after Easter, which is a lot of work, a lot of fun and we raise a lot of money for our charities. Our ladies also volunteer at various events hosted by the Parish, including the Shroud of Turin Exhibit, St. Joseph Table Dinner, luncheon for Vicariate priests, St. Stephen’s Lenten Breakfast, along with making desserts for a St. Catherine of Siena event and our School’s Chili Cook-off.

We also participate in the Ministry Fair, a special Mass for Deceased Members of the Guild, and Usher at the 4pm Mass the last Saturday of the month. We also have a Christmas party, a June picnic and lots of laughs, fun, and fellowship as we help one another grow in love and service.

Last year we raised and distributed about $14,000.00 for parish needs and the poor. A detailed account is published once a year in our parish bulletin. Here are some of the charities we helped to support: Diocesan Service Appeal, Pregnancy Help Clinic, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Holy Spirit Parish and School needs, Supplies for Rosary making, Gifts for Holy Spirit staff members, National Council of Catholic Women, and Livingston County Catholic Charities.

Goals for next year:  We hope to help each member feel loved and involved in our parish no matter what contributions they are able to give.  We also hope to provide more opportunities for spiritual enrichment and/or encouragement for walking as true disciples of Christ.

Our meetings take place the first Monday evening of October, November, December, March, April, May, and August. (We meet the second Monday of September because of Labor Day.) Around 6:30 PM, women arrive in the Activity Center for coffee, treats, chats, and the latest news about each other’s lives.  Our meeting starts at 7:00 PM and lasts around an hour.  New members are always welcome.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call me at 810-229-2837.

PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY: Ginny LeRoy, August 14

The “Prayer Shawl Ministry” was originated in early 1997 by two women in Connecticut. It has spread across the United States and to several foreign countries. It was started here at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church by Ginny LeRoy (me) in September, 2007. The ministry’s message is simple, universal and enduring:

“Shawls … made for centuries universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving, God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles…”

(Written in 1998 by: Janet Severi Bristow, Copyright ©2016)

Here at HSRCC a group of women (always open to having more join us) gather together the 2nd & 4th Tuesday each month in the Activity Center from 1:00-3:00pm. We come armed with our needles and crochet hooks, ready to choose an item we’d like to work on. Our choices are many. We make Prayer Shawls and Lap Robes for those who are sick and have asked the parish to pray for them and for those who are in need of a hug due to a rough time they are experiencing. We also make baby blankets to be given out to each newly baptized baby in our parish.

Our ministry has really grown since its conception.  We now make mats for the homeless to sleep on out of plastic grocery bags, and they are being well received in Flint. We also knit and crochet sweaters and these are sent to “Knit for Kids” (World Vision). We did send quite a few sweaters, scarfs, hats and mittens to Flint last fall/winter, and we are now back on track to building our supply to send to “Knit for Kids”.

We also make rosaries and they go to “Our Lady’s Rosary Makers” who then send them to various missionaries, however the last shipment of 500 were sent by Caroline Gable to “Rosaries for Africa”.  Our little group has thus far made and sent over 4,000 rosaries for missions throughout the world.

The majority of the sweaters and rosaries have been made by Sis Babinchak. She is awesome in her ability to produce. If this ministry sounds appealing to you please join us in the Activity Center on the 2nd and 4th Tues each month. We also accept donations of yarn and plastic grocery bags. These donations can be put in the “Hope in a Box” in the narthex. Looking forward to welcoming some new ladies!

HOLY SPIRIT CATHOLIC SCHOOL: Anna Loewe, August 21

Holy Spirit Catholic School is our Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 accredited Parish school. It was founded in 2001 under Fr. Bill Thomas with the approval of Bishop Carl Mengeling of the Diocese of Lansing. Holy Spirit School is different. Students are in a Christ-centered environment surrounded by faculty that encourages them to reach their potential by using their God given talents. Holy Spirit School is blessed to be a part of a faithful and committed parish community with strong parent involvement and competent staff. All teachers are certified and earned professional Michigan Highly Qualified status.

We opened our new school building in January, 2015. Our classrooms are multi-age classrooms with two grades in each room. Our Kindergarten is a five full-day program, and our Pre-Kindergarten students join them 3 afternoons a week. Grades 1 & 2 and 3 & 4 are in self-contained classrooms, each having one teacher. Our Grades 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 comprise our middle school with 2 shared teachers. This year our largest sized classroom has 18 students.

Holy Spirit School students consistently outperform regional, state, and national results on the NWEA standardized tests. Our students achieve 100% proficiency in Language Arts and Reading NWEA-MAP test scores, and have been the highest performers in Math NWEA-MAP scores of the Diocese for past two years. In 2015-16, students received the highest scores for the grades 5 and 8 Diocesan Religion tests. Our NWEA-MAP and Diocesan religion test scores indicate that our Math, Language Arts, Reading and Religion programs are exceptional.

I have been the principal for the past 10 years. I was raised in the Catholic Church and am the second to the oldest of fourteen children. I attended twelve years of Catholic School education. My under-graduate and graduate degrees are from the University of California, Berkeley and I worked as a teacher in New England and in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 2011, I earned a Master’s Degree in Education Administra­tion for K-12 at Eastern Michigan University.

It has been a great joy for me to watch Holy Spirit School grow and to see the witness of so many families’ faith as a new school building was conceived and built. Holy Spirit School strives to educate the minds, bodies and souls of our students through faith and academics. We are committed to educating children in partnership with their families. Our objective is to guide children’s growth in an educational environment in which practicing the truths of the Catholic faith are central to the development of each child. Virtue and Discipline are our expectations. Discipline and behavior plans are based on the “Virtues in Practice” curriculum and the “Disciples in Virtues” program.

Our mission is to provide opportunities and to encourage each individual child to encounter God. Students attend daily Mass three times a week and are allowed the opportunity for Confession one time each month. Students are given time for intercessory prayer in their classroom, and Kindergarten through Grade 4 students learn the Rosary as intercessory prayer on Monday and Tuesday mornings in church. Students and staff also pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet each weekday, and the School and Parish gather for 30 minutes of Adoration after First Friday Mass each month. Forty-eight percent of eligible students are altar servers.

I am inspired and humbled by our students. Each year they raise money or collect items for different projects that are organized by students or parents to reach out and share with others who are in need. Locally, the school children donated $1,320 to the St. Louis Center with the funds raised from the annual Christmas Charity in 2015. The students bring in items that are sent to the missions in Central America. Students raised $782 to help Iraqi Christian refugees during their Lenten Almsgiving Project in 2015. During Lent 2016, one of our middle school students organized a campaign to collect socks for the homeless because he was struck by a statistic he learned that socks were the item least donated.

With the generous assistance of parishioners and school parents this past year, we planned and executed the renovation of the teacher workroom into an auxiliary classroom in the main school building by adding an egress window. This allows for all teaching to be done in a secure, locked-down facility.

A grandmother of five Holy Spirit School students has this to share: “Catholic Education was very important to my family and to my son and daughter-in-law. Holy Spirit provided the perfect atmosphere for my grandchildren. They received a good education and strengthened their faith. The boys were all altar servers. They learned how to respect other children and to get along with children who were not like them. It was a safe atmosphere to be in as they have grown. Most importantly, they are firm in their faith and have kept their faith.”

Holy Spirit Catholic School is designed to make a difference in the life of every student. Our teachers and staff at Holy Spirit School emphasize a God-centered life of perseverance, courage, seeking to know, love and serve God and neighbor in selflessness, Christian charity and mercy.

BUSINESS OFFICE: Krisztina Fleury, August 28

I am Krisztina Fleury, the accountant and business manager at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. I have been a member of this parish since 2011 when my husband, David and I enrolled our two young children at the parish school. I enjoyed volunteering in many ways at the school during our first year here, and since my background is accounting and information systems management, at the end of the school year I offered my help to Fr. John in those areas in a volunteer function. He suggested that I should interview for the bookkeeping position because it just opened up. I did not plan to enter the workforce at that time, but I prayed about it and after some encouragement I decided to hand in my resume. I was travelling with my family throughout that summer, and was sure that someone would be hired before I would even interview at the end of the summer. I was very surprised when the position was offered to me and although reluctantly, I accepted it, because through my prayers I came to accept that even though working here was not in my plans, perhaps it was in God’s plan for my family or the parish. The part-time bookkeeper role grew very quickly into a full-time business manager role. Today I fill several functions at the parish, most of which I will attempt to bullet point below. I enjoy the work I do and the challenges that come with it, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve the church in the role I was given, in a community that I love and where I found more friends than ever before, and best of all, while being in such close proximity to my children.

Accounting/Finance: I account for all financial activities at the parish. I record all income and disbursements resulting from the many ministry activities of our parish and school, and I record all necessary journal entries and reconcile all checking and savings accounts each month.

During the last quarter of our fiscal year I prepare the following year’s budget for the church based on the different departments’ input. Throughout the year I monitor their financial activities based on that budget and quarterly report the result back to the departments and the Finance Council, unless there are unexpected activities or events that require closer, more frequent attention on their part.

This past year, I took over the accounting of our cemetery and incorporated it into the new parish accounting system. I try my best to ensure compliance with all internal control requirements through segregating duties and introducing control procedures.

Our wonderful book and gift shop produces quite a lot of sales revenue, and so every month I have to calculate, file and pay the sales tax on those sales. At the end of the calendar year I file all the necessary payroll and sales tax forms to the IRS and the State of Michigan.

The financial state of our parish is very solid. Last year, our total receipts were $972,504 and our total expenses amounted to $961,986 resulting in a $10,518 surplus. This includes the $114,740 subsidy that the parish pays in support of our school operations. We also received restricted donations in the amount of $126,752, (including pledges) most of which amount was spent on what it was donated toward, such as the sound system, projector, tuition assistance, marketing, etc. Unspent restricted donations remain in savings.

We also paid off our loan (within a year of completing the building which is quite unheard of) so we are debt-free and we replenished our savings account by $100,000.

For a full report on how we performed financially during the last fiscal year, please read the Annual Stewardship Report that should be available by the end of September.

Human Resources: I help with the interviewing process and upon hiring I prepare and file all new employee forms and documents for the parish. I administer our bi-weekly payroll and all benefits for all parish and school employees. I notify employees of changes in labor law and revise employee policies if necessary. HR is not my background, so I am very grateful for all information and help we receive from the HR department of the Diocese of Lansing.

Operations: Our facility manager, Tim Comperchio, with his God given and wonderful organization skills manages in an excellent way the many responsibilities that go with maintaining our campus. My role is limited to planning and scheduling capital improvements and extraordinary projects as well as overseeing their development. The past year we replaced several worn and inefficient furnaces and AC units, on which we rely for heating and cooling our parish. This year we plan to continue replacing existing furnaces and AC units for units that are more reliable, and energy efficient. Replacing these units is an investment that will be recovered through lower energy bills and eliminating costly repair bills.

Based on our new logo, we completed our new street sign design and currently are receiving estimates for its masonry foundation.

Annually I assess our options for utility providers to see if we can realize savings through contracting with different providers based on their rates. I communicate with the township, the county and the state to stay in compliance with their rules and regulations. I also draft up and revise policies such as rental agreements.

Communication/Technology: Once our information and telecommunication infrastructure was upgraded for the parish and then later built for our new school building, we outsourced its maintenance. I still assess our computer needs, upgrade if necessary, and introduce new systems to help us become more efficient in our operations. I implemented our new accounting system, ConnectNow Accounting by Parishsoft with the updated ledger accounts from the Diocese of Lansing, and set up and administer platforms such as Online Giving, our payroll system through Paycor, and the school’s Google for Education Account with all teacher and students accounts as well as the management console for their 36 Chromebooks.  This year we will introduce a new Point-Of-Sale system for our bookshop and a new HR component to our payroll system. To improve our communication, we redesigned our parish and school websites, continually introduce more google apps, and train more staff members to edit our website and use our My Parish App in new ways. We continue to further explore practical and realistic ways to advertise our school and to let the community know of the many services our parish can provide.

I finally would like to thank all of you, parishioners and visitors, who support our parish with donations, volunteer work and your powerful prayers. I would also like to thank our dedicated support staff at our parish and school, without whose help none of our goals could be realized, while I continue to be grateful to be able to serve our church.

Addenda: Whew. I hyperventilated just reading Krisztina’s report. Yes, she sure does a lot for us at Holy Spirit and we greatly appreciate her talents, energy, and enthusiasm.

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION: Gary Radomski, September 4

My name is Gary Radomski. My wife, Barbara, and I have been members of the parish since December, 2015 when we moved to Centennial Farms in Green Oak Township from Dearborn Heights where we attended Divine Child Parish for many years. We are so blessed to be here at this warm and welcoming parish, and it gives us great pleasure to be here with all of you. Fr. John has been so welcoming. He and I both grew up in Dearborn and have some mutual acquaintances, as the say “small world”. As of this writing we have been the Eucharistic Adoration Coordinators for about 5 weeks. David and Kristina were very helpful on getting us started in the ministry which they have done for several years. God Bless you both. While I will be doing most of the coordinating, Barb will be my backup and support.

After reviewing the information given to us, I could see that the Adorers here at Holy Spirit are a very dedicated group. Faithful to the mission of the Ministry: being there on time, and finding substitutes when needed. The 24 hour Adoration Ministry has 168 hours available and at the present time, there are only 125 Adorers signed up and not too many substitutes. As you can see, there is a need to find 43 more adorers and many more substitutes. Our first goal will be to try and fill those hours and get a list of substitutes. When the hours are not filled, Fr. John has to shut down Adoration until the next adorer comes in. So with that in mind, we truly do not have a 24 hour Perpetual Chapel. Many of the unfilled hours are very late or very early and it is something we need to investigate to make some determinations on how we can work this out. One safety measure that helps Adorers when coming and going during nighttime hours is the installation of the new key pad closer to the parking lot.

Jesus asks for so little, yet he gives so much! This is His gift to us; the Eucharistic body and blood of Jesus. “Remain in me as I remain in you.” We all know looking at the Sacred Host that we are looking at Jesus. Could you not watch one hour with me? You are greatly needed! He invites you to grow in faith and love of our Lord.

Please think about this, pray on it. And if you would like any more information or want to volunteer, you can contact me at 313 310 7005 or gradomski1134 at sbcglobal dot net. Look for more updates in the bulletin. May God bless all of you and your families. Jesus is counting on you because the Eucharist is the center of life.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS: Ken Neal, September 11

Worthy Chaplain (Fr. John), fellow Parishioners, Brother Knights & Ladies…Vivat Jesu! This is our fraternal greeting within the Knights of Columbus and translated from Latin it means, “Jesus Lives”.

In 1882, Father Michael J. McGivney was the assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven CT. He, along with a small group of parishioners, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. 134 years later, there are over 70,000 Knights of Columbus Councils throughout the world and nearly 2 million members. Our small group of 127 at Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church is properly named “Holy Spirit Glorious Assumption Council 7891”, and we are doing our part to keep his flame burning… Charitable Deeds. More about our charitable deeds later.

Because we are a fraternal organization, our official roster consists of Catholic Gentlemen only, and we are always looking for a few more good men. So why aren’t you a Knight? Wives, we only meet once a month in the evening and we’ll do our best to get your husbands home before the street lights turn on. But seriously, when your husband joins the Knights of Columbus and becomes “Sir Knight”, you are knighted with him and given the title, “Lady”. More membership means more events and we involve our wives and families as much as we can. Some of the events we have done in the past and continue to do are: Wives Appreciation dinners, Corporate Communions, Daddy Daughter dances, Father-Son camp outs, Easter Egg hunts, Square Dances, the Tootsie Roll Drive and Pot Luck dinners just to name a few. It would be nice to have a few more good men in our Council to help with these events.

Going back just a few months our Council has logged hundreds of service hours. As a worldwide organization, however, the Knights of Columbus logged 71.6 million hours of service in 2015. On August 13th, we held our annual Heavenly Cruz Car Show, “a tune up for the Woodward Dream Cruise”. This event helped raise $2,000 for Holy Spirit School and a check will officially be handed over at the Parish picnic. On August 5, our district filled the stadium with the 8th annual Lug Nuts Baseball game in Lansing. A portion of every ticket sale went to Seminarians in the Diocese of Lansing. On July 30th, we hosted a blood drive for the American Red Cross and generated 50 pints of blood for them. My arm is getting tired.

On the docket we have:

1) Scrap metal drive on September 16-18. You can drop off your metal near the pavilion on top of the hill. All proceeds will go to Holy Spirit School and our goal is to raise $2,000.

2) Tar Paper Shack men’s retreat at Dominos Farms is tentatively scheduled for October 1.

3) Fall Blood Drive on October 15. Please help us surpass our record of 58 pints.

4) Corporate Communion at the 9am Mass on October 30 and K of C Breakfast after both Masses. Proceeds will go to our general fund and eventually make its way to charity.

5) Christmas Wreath Sales in the month of November to benefit two Seminarians we sponsor.

6) “Keep Christ in Christmas” poster contest. Dates and details will be announced soon.

All of these things, past, present and future, can be found on our website and Facebook page. Access both by going to:  www.council7891.org.

Lastly, the Knights of Columbus offers fraternal benefits to its members and their families. They are AAA rated life insurance and annuity programs. Many of our Knights participate in these important programs, and you’ll be happy to know that they are consistent with the Catholic faith.

Fellow Parishioners & Worthy Chaplain, I am happy to report the State of The Knights of Columbus, Holy Spirit Glorious Assumption Council 7891 is strong. We continue on a steady course towards charitable deeds.

Vivat Jesu! Grand Knight

  1. Congratulations Michael Rzeppa for being the Knight of the Month for August, 2016. Your efforts towards the Heavenly Cruz Car Show was fun turned charitable.

Addenda: Thank you, Ken, for your article. I’ve been a Knight for about 20 years now. They supported me during my time in the seminary, and I got a beautiful chalice from them which I use on special occasions like the Knights Corporate Communions. It was given in honor of former Grand Knight Alfred Payeur of the St. Thomas Council in Ann Arbor where I was first a member. The Knights are really a noble bunch of guys who, with their families, do much for the local and the Universal Church. Thank you gentlemen and ladies, and families, and again, Vivat Jesus.

USHERS: Yvonne Hospodor, September 25

In many churches, at the weekend liturgies, an usher is the first official representative seen when entering the Church. Ushers have been around since the Old Testament. They were identified as the “Doorkeepers” or “Gatekeepers” and their roles were very similar to how we here at Holy Spirit engage the parishioners of today. An usher is normally a volunteer position and is considered an important role in the church.

The goal of the Usher Ministry is that all parishioners feel welcomed and at ease when coming to worship. Collection of the monies, keeping order at communion, distribution of bulletins at the end of Mass and passing out any worship aids provided by the music liturgy. An usher is also helpful on Holy Days and at special events. The elderly and handicapped are just as important as the new baby that is coming through our doors. Hearing aids are available and cleaned after each use. Not only do the ushers watch out for the needs of our parishioners, but also of our visiting guests and clergy. We are here to help all and to give everyone a smile and a good feeling when leaving for the day. We are here to direct people to the cry room, activity center, bathrooms, book store, past bulletins, parish registration forms, lending library, adoration chapel, confessional, or whatever else a member asks of us. We are aware of the sick and those who might need communion brought to them. For those in wheelchairs, we open doors and set up a seat, if needed, for a family member. Some of the ushers have had CPR training in case of an emergency, and we will be able to call for help and stay with the person until help arrives. A general rule for all ushers is vigilance, that is, to be aware of their surroundings, and to be on the lookout for situations where some help may be needed.

What’s nice about the Usher Ministry, as well as the other ministries, the coordinators work together with schedules; you can belong to more than one ministry. Ushers normally rotate every three months except on the days when there are only two teams. Ushers can pick which Mass they would like to serve.

There is no special training to be an usher except for kindness and a smile. There is one stipulation that you must be at least 16 years of age. When ushers are needed at a Mass, you can volunteer right away with the ushers on duty – I’m sure your help would be appreciated.

When serving, you can get so much more out of your Faith. Holy Seasons are especially fulfilling.

The ushers are an important MINISTRY. We do Our Lord’s work by taking care of His family. ymh@chartermi.net or 734 878 3797.

PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL:  Caroline Gabel, October 2

The Holy Spirit Parish Pastoral Council is a collaborative body and planning council within the Parish, and is the primary consultative ministry representing the Parish community. The council serves to provide Fr. John with information, guidance, recommendations, and feedback so that he is then better able to evaluate and facilitate his decisions which will enhance the faith life, activity, and mission of the Parish. A key role of the Parish Council is to provide an initial point of contact for all parishioners to voice their concerns and ideas concerning the faith life and activity of the Parish thereby leaving Fr. John free to focus his time and resources on the administration of the sacraments and pastoring the members of the Parish. The council thus provides channels of communication between and among the council, Fr. John, the parish ministries, and individual parish members. The Parish Council also has the responsibility to set parish direction in pastoral planning.

The members of our council serve a three year term which can be renewed once (consecutively). New members are nominated in June and elected in July each year to maintain a maximum number of twelve. Fr. John and Dcn. Jerry are not counted in the membership list but are certainly important attendees at the meetings. The council meets once per month on the third Thursday for a two hour meeting, and operates most efficiently when comprised of diverse representation of all parishioners to be able to serve everyone’s needs.

We, as a council, provide three major activities for our Parish:

  • Parish Picnic (the second Sunday in September)
  • Advent by Candlelight (first week in Advent)
  • St. Joseph Dinner—recognizing the new members of our Parish (in March)

The new term for 2016/2017 begins in September with a new board (chair, vice-chair, secretary) and the newly elected members joining the council. A representative from each ministry in our parish is invited to all meetings to share their concerns. They are also invited to submit a summary form prior to each meeting as a method of communication between the ministries and the council. As the out-going chair of the council, I am most grateful for the support of the representatives in sharing their ministry with us and their dedication to Holy Spirit Parish and the Parish Council.

Your current Holy Spirit Selected Parish Council members are (*denotes new members): Ann Marie Bollin, Kate Braciszewski, Paul Bredell, Myra Conti*, Mike Duquet, Caroline Gabel, Sal Gaglio, Olivia Kumke*, Sheila Love, Patrick O’Brien*, Ellen Skolnik and Beverly St. Thomas.

DIVINE MERCY CENACLE GROUPS:  Connie Walters, October 9

The Divine Mercy Cenacle* is a small group of people who meet for prayer and discussion on scripture, the catechism of the Catholic Church and the writings of Saint Faustina. Here is a summary of her story. She was born in Poland as Helen Kowalska on August 25th in 1905. She entered the congregation of the Sisters of our Lady of Mercy in Poland in 1925. She was given the name of Sister Mary Faustina. In 1931, Jesus appeared to her. She wrote all that He said in her diary. Jesus asked her to paint his Merciful Image. Under direct supervision and guidance of Sr. Faustina, a Polish realistic artist, E. Kazimirowski painted the image of Jesus with the words “Jezu Ufam Tobie” which translates as “Jesus, I trust in You.” The Lord Jesus told Sr. Faustina: “In the old covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to my people. Today I am sending you with my mercy to the people of the whole world.” Jesus taught Sister Faustina new forms of devotion, such as the veneration of the image of the Divine Mercy with its inscription which translates as “Jesus, I Trust in You”, the Chaplet to the Divine Mercy and the Hour of Mercy – 3:00pm. Jesus spoke these words to Sr. Faustina: “I desire that the whole world know my infinite mercy.” (Diary, 687). “I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it.” (Diary 1520). Our Lord chose Sr. Faustina as the Apostle and “Secretary” of His Mercy. She died at the age of 33 on October 5, 1938. In 1941, hardly three years after the death of Sr. Faustina, the Divine Mercy devotion was brought to the USA from Poland by Fr. Joseph Jarzebowski. After 2 miracles were attributed to her, she was declared Saint Faustina. The date of her canonization was April 30, 2000 which was Divine Mercy Sunday that year.

The Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy designed the Divine Mercy Cenacle Program. They are located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy. They offer cenacle formation manuals which are available at our Holy Spirit Gift Shop.

Cenacle groups are encouraged to meet weekly, every two weeks or bi-monthly. The meetings include:

Prayer: praise, thanksgiving, petition, Divine Mercy chaplet.

Discussion: questions from the Cenacle Formation manual, with reference to St. Faustina’s diary, scripture, and the catechism.

Fellowship: further personal sharing and encouragement.

Action: group works of mercy and/or sharing or ideas for individual works of mercy.

There are now thousands of cenacle groups throughout the world.

YOU ARE INVITED!! Please join one of Holy Spirit Church’s Divine Mercy Cenacle groups:

  • Monday Morning – Home Group meets at 9:30am every 2 weeks. Contact: Connie Walters 810.231.1220
  • Monday Evening – Church Group meets in the Shroud Room twice a month at 7:00pm. Contact: Shawn Spagnuolo 810.231.9199 x206
  • Wednesday Morning – Church Group meets in the Shroud Room at 10:00am every 2 weeks. Contact: Joan Otten – call Holy Spirit office for number (810.231.9199 x0)
  • Friday Morning – Church Group meets in the Shroud Room after Mass at 9:15am on the 1st and 3rd Fridays. Contact: Ellen Skolnik 810.231.1903
  • NEW Starting October 14th: Friday Morning Church Group meets in the Shroud Room after Mass at 9:15am on the 2nd and 4th Fridays. Open to couples or single men & women. For questions or to sign-up, email: Caroline Gabel at carolinegabel@yahoo.com

Consider starting a new group! Contact one of the above leaders for more information.

We are called to be merciful by our deeds, our words, and our prayers. Jesus, I Trust in You”

*Cen·a·cle/ˈsenikəl’/ Noun

  1. a group of people, such as a discussion group or literary clique.
  2. the room in which the Last Supper was held.

DIVINE WILL PRAYER GROUP: Todd Borek, October 16

The Divine Will Prayer Group has been meeting since 2009, and was founded by the late Jerry Palka. We meet as a group on the first and third Thursday of each month from 7:30pm to 9:00pm in the Shroud of Turin Room. Our group has about 30 members, and we usually seat 15 to 20 at each group. You may have seen our small weekly column in the bulletin called ‘The Light of the Divine Will’. This little column comes from the writings of Luisa Piccarreta who is known as the ‘little daughter of the Divine Will’.

Many people ask, “What is the Divine Will?” The simple answer is the Divine Will is the one will which is shared by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in heaven. It’s a common question, and ironically, if we go back 30 years, the exact same question was common with regard to Divine Mercy; but here we are celebrating the Year of Divine Mercy. It has been said the Divine Mercy is the herald of Divine Will.

During His ministry, Jesus often spoke of the Kingdom of God and Heaven. He taught us the “Our Father” and asked us to pray, “thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” However, the mystery of how God’s Will is done on earth as it is in heaven has never been clearly explained—that is until now, in the writings of Luisa Piccarreta. All these things are explained in her writings entitled the “Book of Heaven,” which was approved (July 2010) by the theologians appointed by the Vatican to examine all 36 Volumes. The book was written in Heaven and then communicated to the Church and humanity through the life of Luisa Piccarreta, who put it all on paper over a period of 40 years while confined to bed by the mysterious workings of Divine Providence. Luisa was born in 1865 and died in 1947. She lived her entire life in Corato, Italy. Luisa subsisted almost entirely on the Holy Eucharist, and willingly suffered the pains of the stigmata of both the flesh and the soul. Luisa had barely a first grade education, yet theologians are astounded by the sublimity of these writings, which Jesus calls the Manifestation of the Kingdom of the Divine Will. This is what Christians have been praying for in the “Our Father” during the last 2000 years—and it is happening now in our own time.

The official biography of Luisa Piccarreta was recently published by the Vatican Press entitled, The Sun of My Will. We have been blessed by the biography as a new source of the divine message entrusted to Luisa and subsequently to us. The author, Maria Rosaria Del Genio writes, “What is new about this grace of graces, this ‘gift of gifts,’ is that we are not just doing what God wants us to do, but that we let His Will become our will and His Life our life so as to live and reign with and in His Will.”

Our meetings include prayer, question and answer session, group readings and discussion about the topic that we are studying in the session. We are working together to form a community of people who are learning to “live in” the Divine Will. We read the writing of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta and other theologians and authors who help us to unpack this amazing gift. We hope you would consider joining us.

HEAVENLY GRACE PRAYER GROUP: Mike Dewan, October 23

      The Heavenly Grace Prayer Group, also called the Saturday Morning Men’s Prayer Group, has been meeting at 7:30am every Saturday for twelve years in Shroud of Turin Room.  During that time, we have had about 100 men participate in the group. We welcome everyone to join, and, yes, we’ve had many women pray with us. We typically have a period of fellowship, followed by prayer of the Rosary, which includes the offering of personal intentions before we pray. This allows us to learn about each other and carry those intentions out of the prayer group and into our daily lives. And finally, we listen to a recording of one of the purported messages from the Blessed Mother. (This is an alleged locution*, but from this point on, we will present is as being from the Blessed Mother.) Following the prayer group, most of us also stay for the holy sacrifice of Mass at 9:00am.

Our prayer group is one of many that the Blessed Mother has formed around the world. She has instructed the faithful to pray in community. She said this at Fatima, Akita, Medjugorje and most recently in our own vicinity. Our Heavenly Grace Prayer group was formed in response to a request from the Blessed Virgin Mary through Carolyn Kwiecinski. The Blessed Mother asked her children to gather, pray the rosary and talk about these messages, and she has chosen to reveal messages of God’s love and mercy through Carolyn. The messages that have been received through her are all available at www.HeavenlyGrace.org. We encourage everyone to visit this website and read or listen to the audio recordings of these amazing messages, which have in many cases been “life changing” for those who have decided to live them. 

Carolyn, quite simply, is normal. She is the mother of eight and struggles with all of the same things that you and I experience. Her mystical gifts have been shared very generously with the world since her first message in 1996. She and her family were recent members of our parish until her move to the west side of Michigan. Although personal, Carolyn has shared her experience very openly with the community. She received monthly messages from the Blessed Mother for many years, and since 2004 has received an annual message on October 24th. Most of the messages have been from the Blessed Mother, but on many occasions they have been from Jesus, Himself. This year’s message will be shared Monday evening at 7:00pm in the Holy Spirit Church Sanctuary with the praying of the Rosary, followed by the Message, and concluding with the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

Our group is trying to offer an opportunity for a real and personal encounter with Jesus Christ through his Blessed Mother. Please join us this Monday or next Saturday morning at the prayer group. Or visit www.heavenlygrace.org, or stop by the book store and pick up a free book of these life changing messages. I feel that I can confidently assure you that if you take one step toward our Lord, He’ll run a thousand miles toward you. 

Addenda: As mentioned above, Monday evening we will be hosting Carolyn, the alleged mystic who receives messages from heaven every year. Carolyn and her family were members here up until recently when family problems caused a move to The Diocese of Grand Rapids. She now is on staff at a local church where she serves as a director of religious education. 

Three books have been published which contain the messages from heaven that Carolyn has shared. The introductions of these books were written by two local priests who have served as Carolyn’s spiritual directors and/or pastors. There they have shared their insights on the nature of this phenomenon, which is actually occurring all around the world in many locations. They have pointed out that the messages have been submitted to our diocese for review with the conclusion that there is nothing contained that is contrary to the Catholic faith. So, consider it “a sign of the times” if you wish; heavenly messages to encourage us in these difficult times we live in. We are not required to believe in these books but as you just read earlier in the article, lives have been changed, in a positive way, for many of those who have read, and put in to practice, those messages. ~Fr.John

*lo·cu·tion: a form of private revelation, similar to an apparition, but rather than being seen,  a locution is heard or received internally.

SACRISTANS: Ronnie Brennan, October 30

Sacristans: Who Are They? What Do They Do? Imagine yourself sitting in church before the Mass begins. The doors are open, lights are on, candles are lit, the altar is set, sacred vessels are on the credence table, unconsecrated hosts and a flagon of wine are on the table at the back of church, liturgical books are in place, the microphones are on, the altar servers, celebrant and deacon are properly vested. You notice the beautiful flowers and the colors of the liturgical banners. Ever wonder how all of this happens? It is the work of the Sacristans* to prepare and maintain all these things, and they do so with unseen love, dedication and care.

It actually takes a team of volunteers for all these things to be accomplished during the course of a week. It all begins on Monday morning, usually three women come in, when the church is dark and quiet. The division of labor makes this event look sort of “automatic”. The holy water fonts and finger bowls (near the tabernacle) are emptied into the Sacrarium (a special sink that empties directly into the earth). Then they are washed and refilled. The Altar cloths are checked and changed if necessary. All the tables, railings, baptistry, cry room and vestry are tided and dusted. Oil candles are checked and refilled, wax candles are changed if needed. The  burned-out votive candles are filled with new ones.

Theresa West then takes all the sacred laundry: purificators, corporals, hand towels used during Mass, and altar linens (if needed). This laundry is washed separately and carefully ironed to perfection because it is for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; it is a true labor of love.

Wednesday is floor cleaning. Laurie and Cheryl Scruggs vacuum all the carpets and carpeting in the church, vestry and Shroud Room, clean the wooden sanctuary floor and wash the baptistry and sacristy floors.

Saturday morning brings a refresh of candles (oil, wax and votives) and a straightening of all the books in the pew; this is done by another volunteer. Lori Borek also arranges the weekend floral decorations and waters the plants.

Sheila Love regularly cleans and presses the surpluses and cassocks (for the boys) and the white albs (for the girls). Char Curtis also takes and returns the vestments (from Fr. John and Dcn. Jerry) that need professional cleaning.

There is a group of Sacristans that cover each of the daily and Sunday Masses, attending to every detail of preparation and clean-up. During the change of liturgical colors, funerals, Holy Days, Christmas and Easter seasons, there are others who are called into service to make the worship space and altar at Holy Spirit fitting and beautiful in every way.

We would also like to thank and honor, Stella Campbell (dec’d) and Theresa Bartkowiak, who served as lead Sacristans for many years, along with former flower coordinator, Jan Clinger.

We always appreciate the devoted help provided by all of our Sacristy Team. Thank a Sacristan today! If you would like to help us…call the Parish Office and leave me a message.

Respectfully Submitted

*Sac·ris·tan ˈsakrəstan / noun

Under the general direction of the clergy, one who carefully arranges the liturgical books, cares for sacred vessels, vestments, lights, the decoration of the church for the different seasons and feasts, and other things necessary in the celebration of Mass.

STS. SIMON AND JUDE HEALING MINISTRY: Fr. John Rocus, November 6

Friday, October 21st was the Memorial of the Apostles Saints Simon and Jude, and it marked the first anniversary of Holy Spirit Church’s Deliverance Ministry. We named it after the apostles because, well, our first meeting just fell on their feastday. So we invoke their assistance in this work we try to do on behalf of people who hurt in a special way.

All of this had its origins in my life many years ago when I was in my early 20s, certainly well before I had any thought of becoming a priest. But I was intrigued by the movie “The Exorcist”. Many people were totally unnerved by that scary flick, but for some strange reason, I was very much fascinated by it. So much so that I began a personal study of the phenomenon of possession by evil spirits. I read many books and attended seminars whenever I could. But it wasn’t until 1990, and my call to the priesthood, that the pieces of the puzzle finally began to come together. All priests, by virtue of their ordination, are called to cast out demons, and so I wondered if this could be a part of my future.

A few years ago, out of curiosity, I did an Internet search to see if there were any educational opportunities out there on the subject. By luck, I learned of the Pope Leo XIII Institute at Mundelien, the seminary for the Archdiocese of Chicago. A summer seminar had been hosted there for about eight years when I decided to sign up. From there I was invited to participate in their extensive course which would train me in all the dimensions of deliverance ministry.

We have held healing services several times where we administered the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. A year ago last summer, however, we expanded our effort to include those who suffer in mind or spirit. Compassionate individuals who also share an interest in deliverance ministry came forth to assist. It was well received, and so I put out the call to anyone who might be interested in learning more, just as I was learning. Our classes have met for a year now on the third Wednesday of the month and we study, discuss, pray, host guest speakers and actually have practiced using the methods of the deliverance ministry on some individuals who have a great spiritual need.

Recently, I was inclined to “tweak” the title of our group to call it a “healing” ministry as opposed to just a deliverance ministry. I did this because I think we are all wounded and suffering from something and all are in need of some kind of a healing. And Jesus wants to heal us. He wants us to have an abundant life, lived in freedom. But we could have suffered some kind of traumatic abuse in our childhood, a mother/father wound, bullying, painful memories which continue to plague us in our adulthood. All of this in addition to spiritual temptations and even genuine oppressions from the Evil One which can include addictions to things like drugs, or pornography.

Needless to say, participation in this kind of ministry would be a special calling. For myself, I have called it “a call within a call” but for others, maybe it is simply a movement of the spirit, or a true compassion for others who hurt.

Obviously this ministry is not for everyone. We do see some disturbing things. It can be a cross. But please do keep us in your prayers, and me, especially, as I prepare go to the second of four classes to learn more about deliverance. That’s coming up this week and will last for 10 days.

ALTAR SERVER MINISTRY: Annabelle Clinger, November 13

Greetings from the Altar Server Ministry! Do you think this is the oldest of all ministries in the Catholic Church? Perhaps many of you were altar servers when you were young? This is a beautiful reflection found online: For hundreds of years, the usage of altar servers has brought about countless priestly vocations. In the words of the Archbishop of Westminster, Bernard Cardinal Griffen, “To serve at the altar, as to sing in the choir, is next to the priesthood the highest privilege which a human can enjoy. He represents the faithful and takes a most intimate part in the rich treasures of the church’s liturgy and ceremonial.”  It is a great privilege to assist the priest at Mass and at Holy Spirit Parish, this ministry is comprised of 29 hard-working young men and women.

The number of servers at each Mass varies. We like to have at least 3 servers for Sunday Masses and at least 2 for weekday Masses. An experienced server can also serve alone if need be. Experienced “captains” are paired with younger servers to help them out. Servers arrive 15 minutes early for Mass, and first choose a server’s alb or cassock and surplice to dress for Mass. They, along with the Sacristan, set the altar for Mass making sure candles are lit, and books and vessels are ready for Mass. They assist Fr. John throughout the Mass and are responsible for cleaning up the altar after Mass. On special days, like Christmas and Easter, they assist with incense and other duties.

Every quarter, a schedule is made for 2 Sunday Masses, 2 Saturday Masses, Tuesday evenings, and quarterly Masses for the Lay Carmelites. Weekday Masses are covered by teams of 3 or 4 servers from Holy Spirit School during the school year, and by all available servers during the summer months.

Each server is scheduled for about 6 times per quarter and as available on the weekday schedule.  Parents are able to request their preferred Mass times or certain days on the schedule so it fits the family’s calendar. If family conflicts arise, we use email to find substitutes. Paula Hass is currently in charge of the weekend schedule and Tina Bensinger schedules weekday servers. Annabelle Clinger handles the special requests like funerals and Holy Days that can’t be covered by the Holy Spirit School students. The ministry is also supported by Sheila Love who launders the albs, cassocks and surplices and keeps them fit for service.

Each year we bring a new class of servers into the fold, and each year some graduate out (although there is no age limit). Both boys and girls are welcome to join as long as they have made their First Holy Communion. This year our training date will be Saturday, November 19 at 10:30am. If you have a child that is interested in becoming an altar server, you can bring them on the 19th or contact us to train another day. You can also join mid-year by request. There are many graces given to those who assist at Mass. Please encourage your child to become a server. The 19th will also be a “refresher” day for current servers, so they are also encouraged to attend.

We look forward to meeting and training our next class of servers. The next time you see a server doing a good job on the altar, lend them some encouraging words and thank them for their service.

Addenda: Thank you, Annabelle, for explaining how our young folks participate and assist me with the Mass. I hope to see many new faces at the training this Saturday.

A few thoughts about our Altar Servers. First off, thanks to all of you young people past and present who have assisted myself and other priests at the altar at Holy Spirit Church. We appreciate your dedication. But I must also say thank you to all of the ladies who assist in the scheduling and other tasks. I know it can be very daunting as you contend with families’ busy schedules.

I would also like to note that despite altar serving being a means of encouraging vocations for boys, it can also do so for girls—just not for the priesthood. There are many ways to serve the Church, and the altar can be a good starting point for anyone. And for anyone who has an issue with girls serving on the altar, yes, I’ll grant that it is a break with tradition, but Pope John Paul II allowed it and gave priests the option of accepting girls on the altar. I said yes because I felt that if God can choose a girl to be a martyr, she could certainly qualify to serve on an altar.

LECTORS, EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: Beverly Wilkerwicz, and HOMEBOUND MINISTRY: Marie Schlepers, November 20

Along the way in this life, our parish community is nourished together at Sunday Mass. It’s the only time, the most important time, all of us get together. Its importance is singular! Nothing else in the week compares to it! And, it’s a special time of banquet. The Mass nourishment occurs in two distinct portions: The liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Eucharist. The parish community gathers, the priest celebrant makes Mass, we sit together, pray together, sing hymns, listen, and receive. In this ordinary-extraordinary event, we are nourished. Two distinct, important roles laymen and women perform in today’s nourishing Sunday Mass are worthy of some reflection…

The role of Lector. Much as the words of our father and mother, the Word of God in the Old Testament and New Testament–which comes from our Trinitarian God–reach out to us early in the Mass; to nourish us, to reach our minds and hearts and help us to grow. Hearing the Word of God is critically important to us. It sounds through our pews, and seeks our receptive, welcoming attention. We listen with faith to its proclamation in faith.

The Lector at Mass blesses us with God’s Word. He or she shares with us in faith, speaking as clearly and careful as possible, this nourishing Word. What he or she reads, how he or she does it, and with prayerful preparation and humility – ah, all are so important! A microphone helps some; a good speaking voice helps, too…skill at public reading develops. A lector may be a teen or a middle aged or an elder – it matters not – so long as the reading is done with faith and a deep desire to nourish. We are graced with several nourishing lectors at Holy Spirit, and we should expect still others to emerge.

The Role of Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Prepared by the liturgy of the Word, we next enter into the liturgy of the Eucharist. Ultimately, we together receive the Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion. Sacred nourishment for us on the way. To deepen our lives, strengthen our faith, embolden our courage to live! To carry out into our days and weeks in the larger world. To assist in our reception of the Body and Blood of Jesus, laymen and women of faith step forward and assist the priest celebrant in presenting us the Sacred Host and Sacred Cup at Communion. Not much is required of these Eucharistic Ministers – and yet so much is required. Some physical ability to move up and around the sanctuary. Teens or middle aged or elders can. Men or women can and do. Faith, of course. And the gentle willingness to serve in nourishing! Providing this life giving nourishment to the rest of us gathered together for our moving through the following days until we together meet again. At Holy Spirit we are blessed with several Eucharistic ministers. Actually, most of us in our pews could be Eucharistic Ministers! Consider yourself welcome!

Closing Note. After many years as coordinator, I am stepping down from this role and am looking for a replacement. The primary task is to schedule persons in these positions for weekend Masses. Your interest in assuming this position would be very welcome, and I will assist you in the details of this ministry and help you get started. Please contact me through the parish office to express your interest, or to ask questions about the position. You are needed.

To join the ranks of Lectors or Eucharistic Ministers (or both) at our parish, simply phone the parish office at 810-231-9199, ext 0 and leave your name and phone number. You will be contacted and trained.

The Homebound Ministry at Holy Spirit was established to bring Our Lord, present in the Holy Eucharist, to homebound parish members. A person may be homebound due to age, illness, physical and/or mental incapacities and unable to attend Sunday Mass. The ministry also strives to help the homebound person stay connected to parish activities by bringing the bulletin and monthly calendar. Prayer cards/books are also given and the person is asked to become a “prayer warrior” for the needs of the parish and the world. Fr. John is kept current on the status of our clients and visits them for anointing or confession when needed or requested.

During a homebound visit, a prayer format is followed which includes introductory and penitential rites, liturgy of the Word, prayers of the faithful, liturgy of Holy Communion, and a concluding rite. The Blessed Sacrament may be placed on a linen cloth with a crucifix and lighted candle.

Visits can be arranged by calling the parish office and requesting homebound visitation. The homebound minister will contact the homebound person and arrange a mutually convenient time. Visits are usually done on a weekly basis.

Any practicing Catholic, in good standing with the Church and who is an approved Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, may become a Homebound Minister. Contact the parish office if you want to join the ministry. You will be given the training and will need to purchase a pyx* with travel pouch and the prayerbook. These are available in the Holy Spirit Book and Gift Store.

The number of people we serve fluctuates due to clients’ changing needs. Some people recover and no longer need home visits. Others move to facilities which are served by other parish ministries. Death is also a reality. Our faith gives us hope and comfort that our ministry has helped prepare those we serve for the eternal life which Jesus has promised to those who believe in Him with His words, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever.”  

* pyx: piks/  noun   1. the container in which the consecrated bread of the Eucharist is kept.