Detroit — 24,196 words.
Let that sink in for a moment.
That’s 46 typed pages, single-spaced. That’s the length of 24 separate Michigan Catholic front-page feature stories. That’s at least four or five college term papers.
And you wrote them, each one a beautiful tribute to the love the Archdiocese of Detroit has for its priests.
Every year, as The Michigan Catholic compiles letters for our annual Priesthood Sunday edition, we wonder whether this will be the year readers finally grow tired of writing.
And every year, you prove us wrong again.
Generally, we begin this section with a short article about Priesthood Sunday — its roots, origins and significance, and why it’s such an important celebration for our Church. This year, we figured we’d save the ink. We don’t need to explain it to you.
So instead, we’ll begin with your words, not ours. Here are all the reasons — in letters and advertisements — that Metro Detroiters love their priests, from their sacrifice and generosity to their Christ-like examples of service, compassion and holiness.
As parishioners of St. Mark Parish in Warren, we would like to recognize and say “thank you” and “dziekuje” to our pastor, Fr. Stanley Obloj. We are very impressed with Fr. Stan and his personal and professional skills. We find him to be a very deeply spiritual man who very much wants us to have a transformational relationship with Jesus in our lives. He preaches to us by example. When he says Mass, or performs any other sacrament, we are impressed with his reverence and devotion which must come from his deep personal relationship with Jesus. We are impressed with his kindness and attention given to each parishioner and guest he meets. He is welcoming, listening and caring to each individual he encounters. He sincerely cares about the welfare and spiritual development of each person. Many parishioners have been comforted by the inspired words of his preaching, and lives and relationships have been transformed. He is able to discern the talent and grace of parishioners and encourage and lead them to use their abilities for the needs and benefit of the parishioners and church community. He gently encourages us to live for others, utilizing the Holy Spirit to help us to discern where we can most build up the parish community. There is definitely a refreshment of spirit at St. Mark because of the leadership of Fr. Stan. We have been blessed with his presence here in the continued development of our parish community, and, more importantly, example, inspiration and preaching that support us personally and together on our journey to eternal life.
Diane Hirshey and Camille Kilmecki
I’m not sure why some people take time to recognize a priest that has influenced them and others do not. But there are so many people that I know who have spoken so highly of Fr. Nick Zukowski and his role in their lives and yet I rarely see him acknowledged in the Priesthood Sunday edition of The Michigan Catholic. So, I thought I would send in some of what I’ve heard and personally seen about him. As a priest and pastor, he is one of the most spiritual priests I know, placing a high importance on personal prayer, well-prepared homilies and reverent liturgies. His compassion and sensitivity to those he works with and to the people he serves is genuine. His openness to ideas and inclusivity among the various groups/commissions he serves says much about his leadership. Always participating in meetings that the Archdiocese asks of their priests, he sets an example. His ability to listen, share faith and bring a sense of humor to most situations endear him many.
Sr. Pat Whalen, CSJ
St. Martin de Porres Parish, Warren
Praise for Fr. Ronald DeHondt – a holy man, spiritual leader, compassionate counselor, learned teacher, daily example of how to live for God, and wonderful pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland Parish in St. Clair Shores. Fr. Ron has made a difference in many lives, especially mine. When my husband was in end-stage dementia, Fr. Ron visited the nursing home several times. He thoughtfully brought a couple of Al’s college classmates one visit to say their goodbyes and you could see a flash of recognition and happiness in Al’s eyes! Fr. Ron not only anointed Al and gave him comfort but gave us the hopeful reminder that God has promised peace and restoration and that we would see each other again. Father provided grief counseling himself and through his staff, making sure I knew I wasn’t alone, getting me through that very dark time.
His work with the parish youth is exemplary. Faith formation and RCIA have always been a priority to him. His teaching and participation in RCIA classes when I converted in 2010 made me to know I had a new life in the Catholic Church. Father is a hands-on administrator as well, ensuring the church’s daily works are well carried out. He teaches the importance of evangelization and brings alive the missions of the Church. Each parishioner feels the unconditional love of Christ through our wonderful priest, Fr. Ron.
Nancy L. Morrison
St. Margaret of Scotland Parish, St. Clair Shores
Praise and thanks to God for our parish pastor, Fr. Stephen J. Rooney, who serves as a human, holy, humble, happy, heroic priest and guides the people entrusted to him well in shared joy, grief and ordinary life.
Fr. Rooney celebrates the Eucharist with reverence, and his insightful homilies encourage and challenge the listener to live the life of the Gospel. He personally by example is generous in aiding those in varying need in quiet, unnoticed ways and brings common sense, wisdom and authentic leadership to our parish community.
He has intervened in the lives of many and in my own life uniquely and memorably with caring and shared ministry with honesty and loyalty, as well as and above all in bringing the presence of Christ in word and sacrament.
May God bless with good health, energy and joyful zeal Fr. Stephen J. Rooney. Through 60 years, it has been a privilege to share parish ministry with many priests, all of whom deserve sincere appreciation. I value and cherish with respect and admiration these priests, who in naming, would be an ongoing litany of good men who to this very day serve the Church and God’s people with love, dignity and generosity of heart. Thank you, Fr. Stephen J. Rooney and all priests in my personal litany who have been a strengthening blessing of God for me.
Sr. Mary Ann Ankoviak, CSJ
Our Lady on the River Parish, Marine City
Surely there are times in life when we’ll experience the full measure of the human condition. For me, 2017 has been that time. In May, the Lord called my beloved mother Marcia “forward” to begin her new life with Him. Shortly thereafter, my wife Emily gave birth to our first child, our son Marshall, in July.
Thankfully I am blessed to have Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski in my life. He’s served my family selflessly, thoroughly, and continuously since we met in 2016. Whether in my marriage, in honoring my Mom, or in recognizing baby Marshall and Emily at Mass, he activates God’s love in my life; a much-needed love that only our faith and Church can provide. At an uneasy time, my priest served to ease my burden and enable my resilience.
Despite our physical separation, Fr. Zbigniew kept me on his long-ranging radar and appealed to St. Barbara in support of my overwhelmed heart. As an Army officer, I can attest fairly to his authentic servant leadership. My family visits Fr. Grankowski and his community when we can, which isn’t often, but we feel close to his ministry and his embrace. Thank you, Father, for being a real force for unconditional love in my life. Obedience and forgiveness!
Major Joe Cosci
U.S. Army Cyber Command, Virginia
More than a priest, he is our brother. More than 20 years ago, Fr. Michael C. Nkachukwu came to Michigan from Africa and came to Immaculate Conception Church in Ira Township. He touched the lives of our entire Kuzminski family. Births, baptisms, sickness and health, we have been through it all. It is easy to see why the Church says that the relationship of a priest with his people is a spousal one. You have worked your way into our hearts and there you will stay. Thank you for the many beautiful years we have shared and please continue to pray for us as we will pray for you and your family.
Too often we forget our retired priests that do so much for our parishes. They all deserve the most gratitude because even though they have retired they continue to serve God and many parishes.
Fr. Dan Sullivan has known our family for more than 40 years through births, baptisms, sickness and health. He, too, has worked his way into our hearts, and there you will stay. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for all you have done for our family. Thank you for the many years we have shared and please continue to pray for us as we will pray for you.
Bernadette, Daniel and Theresa
Kuzminski Mckenzie families
We are blessed to have Fr. Francisco Restrepo as our pastor at St. Matthias Parish in Sterling Heights. He is humble, compassionate, caring and accessible to all parishioners. We are thankful for you being our shepherd, and always demonstrating your love and dedication for the entire parish family.
The Gensor family
St. Matthias Parish, Sterling Heights
Growing up, I was terrified of priests as they were “held to a higher standard in my day and time.” Now I don’t know what we would do without the guiding, loving hand of our priest. He has held our hands and hearts in the palm of his hands for over two decades now in good times and bad. He guided us through many funerals, some of which were hard to bear even for our priest as sometimes he would waver during his homily. He performed many weddings and baptisms for your family. Whenever asked to come to your aid, he would drop everything and would be at your side helping and guiding you through whatever was happening at that moment. Our priest would go to the hospital whenever called — morning, noon and night if it was possible. Sometimes when out of town he would work tirelessly trying to arrange for a priest to come to the hospital. Words could never convey just how much a priest does for his parish family and for members of his own family. Just having our priest extend his sacred hands over your head and bless you when you are sick is such a comfort. I never understood all that a priest does for us until our son, Msgr. G. Michael Bugarin became a priest, and I now have a profound understanding of just how much it takes to be a priest. Thank you, dear son, for being a father to many but especially for being our son.
Love, Mom and Dad
Fr. John Wynnycky, thank you for answering the call to the priesthood. We love having you here at Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas. You are a caring, prayerful, humble, patient and very approachable priest. Your wonderful homilies are thoughtful and have great messages for us. We admire the time you take to visit the sick either at home, in hospital or rehab facilities. We are so blessed to have you as our pastor. P.S., we love your wry sense of humor.
Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Eastpointe
I belong to St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Madison Heights. I love my pastor, Fr. John Esper, for many reasons, but mainly because of the love of God that he displays when he celebrates Mass. I can really feel the love and presence of Jesus in the Mass. Besides seeing the love that Fr. John displays in action, I hear it in his homily. Anyone who goes to Mass at our parish knows that God is love and that Jesus is God. When I am away from my parish, I don’t always feel that love at other churches. It is always good to come back home to my loving parish and the warmth of celebrating Mass with Fr. John.
Mary Ann Simmons
St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Madison Heights
I first met Fr. Ed Zaorski at St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Melvindale, when the parish was in need of a substitute organist. During the time, I really didn’t get to know him all that well, but found him to be very welcoming with a big heart and had a great sense of humor; something I really needed at the time. In 2016, he hired me as his new music minister. It didn’t take long to realize that there was something very special about this wonderful priest.
When one thinks about people with gifts, Fr. Ed is the perfect example. He exemplifies many of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Not only does he sing well and gives inspiring homilies, he also does his fair share of corporal works of mercy. He truly lives and shares his faith. He is a model priest.
Being a pastor of two parishes of St. Mary Magdalen and SS. Andrew and Benedict, Fr. Ed cares deeply about his parishioners. He treats his staff with a great deal of respect.
Before arriving there, I was in between positions. At the time, I had been down and out and didn’t know which way was up. I came to St. Mary Magdalen broken and my morale was down the tubes, but Fr. Ed has greatly helped me to change all of that. It’s now a year later and my life has done a complete turnaround. I truly appreciate all of his support and I am indeed grateful.
St. Mary Magdalen, Melvindale
Fr. Chris Maus is a true shepherd for our St. Thomas a’Becket family in Canton. A brilliant homilist who can inspire us to become saints if only we have the ears to listen and the hearts to act. Thank you and God bless from the Belisles.
St. Thomas a’Becket Parish, Canton
After the merger of three parishes and a new priest coming to be our shepherd, we now have Fr. Greg Rozborski helping us get through the painful transition. Fr. Greg is so compassionate. He is always there to support us. His homilies are alive and Fr. Greg brings us closer to Jesus. I thank God for sending him to be our shepherd.
St. Pio Parish, Roseville
I want to commend Fr. Don Demmer for the wonderful job he does at Christ Our Light Parish in Troy, formerly St. Columban and St. Alan. He is very sensitive to what each former parish liked about their churches. He has blended the two congregations while keeping everyone content with the choices. The congregation grows every week from Troy and neighboring cities because of the good things we tell people about him.
His sermons always have a connection to things that happen in our daily lives. He interjects a little bit of humor to keep us engaged. If he sees empty seats, he takes time to get people seated in the church or in the hall with TV broadcast. He is so in tune to the people and making them feel welcome. He has hosted parish parties and picnics that have every detail taken care of for the parishioners’ enjoyment. He updated the parish hall to host parties, donuts on Sunday and receptions. I think the lack of these activities is a downfall of the Catholic Church. We went to church every Sunday, went home and shut our doors and then went back the following week without a way to interact with our fellow church members. There are groups for the impaired, children, youth groups, married couples, moms and toddlers, widowed, 50 and up, men’s Scripture study. Father and his staff work hard to include and interest everyone in some facet of parish life.
Recently my husband was in the ICU of Providence Hospital. I called and asked my friend to relate a story so Father would remember who my husband was. All I asked was for him to remember my husband in his prayers. The next day, Fr. Don showed up at the hospital to anoint him. My husband made it through this near-death experience and is doing well. That was so kind and thoughtful of Father to do and was greatly appreciated by me.
Fr. Don Demmer, you are doing a great job and are respected and appreciated for your vocation. Thank you!
Bill and Paula Edson
Christ Our Light Parish, Troy
We are extremely proud to call St. Peter Catholic Church in Mt. Clemens our parish and equally proud to have Fr. Michael Cooney as our pastor. In our 70-plus years as Catholics, we have never had a pastor who worked as hard or cared so much for the well-being of his parishioners as Fr. Mike. He is a caring, loving and dedicated spiritual leader of a parish that is home to 900 volunteers and 65 ministries. We contribute the ongoing success of St. Peter Parish and St. Mary School to the dedication and leadership he displays on an everyday basis. He has promised parishioners for 27 years to keep the parish debt-free and he has been true to his word. Every parish should be so fortunate to have a “Fr. Mike” as their friend and pastor.
Thomas and Mary Schmidt
St. Peter Parish, Mt. Clemens
I love Fr. Anthony Camilleri because he walks down the aisle and tells us about Jesus and other Bible stories. I love that he always waves to me.
Alicianna Greficz, age 4
St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Newport
As it is with the folks today, we appreciate more than one priest, and maybe love them, too. In choosing only one priest, we lean toward Fr. Mark A. Borkowski, though his parish is some distance from our home. For Fr. Borkowski of Our Lady of the Scapular Parish in Wyandotte, a “big guy Borkowski” deserves a large letter. Regrettably, as only occasional vagabond Holy Mass visitors at the Scapular, I don’t know if Fr. Mark cuts the grass there or not, recalling the “priest grass cutting” humor which is admittedly a dated joke.
Our Lady of the Scapular, like many cathedral-like churches, is acoustically challenged, and our hearing isn’t the greatest either, but judging from the way the faithful pay attention, Fr. Borkowski’s preaching must be good. He’s very much on top of the job. Fr. Borkowski nicely presided over the coming together of Mt. Carmel and St. Stanislaus Kostka churches into one larger parish. The main thing is that Our Lady of the Scapular is a well-pastored church, right? Need confession? Do it there, says Deacon Bill. I just know that even the unchurched neighborhood folks who may at times think of “swimming the Tiber” appreciate Fr. Mark, too, as he strolls and carries on the annual festival. My Polish grandmother would have called him Proboszcz Borkowski. There in his summer hat, he wears it well and that title well. He really is loved.
St. Clair Shores
Being a widow isn’t easy. A priest’s calling isn’t easy, either, but faith sustains them. Fr. John Esper has many tasks — being a financial manager, building and groundskeeper, various Mass times during the week and weekends, confession every Saturday, healing Masses once a month, baptisms, weddings, funerals, home and hospital visits. Take time to think about this! We here at St. Vincent Ferrer are so very blessed to have Fr. John Esper as our pastor. His sermons are from the faith and heart, not words read on paper! He has increased my faith ten-fold. I can’t say “thank you” enough for all you do. He is truly loving and caring for us all. I also love his keen sense of humor.
Mary Lou Stema
St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Madison Heights
I am a registered member of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in Orchard Lake, directly across the street from the Orchard Lake seminary. I have now been in this parish for the past 20 years, and I had been a Eucharistic minister until I fell and broke my femur bone on my right hip. As Fr. Gerald McEnhill, our pastor, told me, I can return back to being a Eucharistic minister, but our course, need to get to the altar to help distribute Holy Communion on my own power because at this moment I am still walking with a cane. Until then, I am helping out at the hospitality desk at the Saturday evening Mass. What I love about Fr. Gerald is that, in spite of the parish having 940 registered parishioners, he is able to remember many of our names and even takes the time to greet us by our first names, which I regard as a rarity.
Rosemary (Rose) Winslow
Our Lady of Refuge Parish, Orchard Lake
I’d like to give thanks to Fr. Tim Birney and Fr. Dominic Macioce of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park. Both priests are very compassionate toward their parishioners. They go out of their way to give time to those who need it. Their joyful attitudes make it easy to approach them, whether it’s for counseling, consoling or to make a difficult confession. Both in their own unique way give homilies that leave you educated. In some instances, they make you feel like the homily was meant just for you. They communicate the Word of God in a way that makes you think we need more that in this day and age. So thank you, Fr. Tim and Fr. Dominic. God bless you and keep up the good work. You really are greatly appreciated.
St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park
For someone special: “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (John 15:16). This passage of Scripture is fulfilled by our pastor, Fr. John Wynnycky, at Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish in Roseville. He shares his love by greeting and welcoming the faithful to Mass, similar to the Capuchin doorkeeper that is awaiting sainthood. Thank you for your kindness and thanking God for you.
Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Roseville
Dear Michigan Catholic, thank you for allowing us to recognize and publicly thank our priests. At 71 years old, I’ve known many priests. One in particular who stands out as a true shepherd is Fr. Norm Thomas, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit. I’ll never forget the day he asked all of us to get a Bible and if someone couldn’t afford it, he would get it for them. Fr. Thomas not only taught us the Word, he lives the Word. He’s a prayerful, humble man who loves his sheep. He loves his community and has laid his life down for all of us. Even though he’s suffering now and is up in age, he continues on like the Energizer Bunny, going to hospitals, nursing homes and wherever there’s a need for a priest, besides caring for two parishes. Thank you, Fr. Thomas, for all that you have done.
What do I love about priests? Priests are beautiful ministers of God, always on time to celebrate Mass, even when they are sick or very tired. I admire them very much. I always pray for all the priests; they are so special, the chosen ones. We are blessed to have our priests and we should always look to them with the eyes of Jesus — with love! They have a very hard ministry to do, and without them, “the world would be like animals,” in the words of the Cure de Ars. So let’s pray for our priests every day and don’t forget to smile at them. Thank you very much for everything you do!
Claire Marie Paille, SFO
We would like to recognize our spiritual leaders at Henry Ford Village, Dearborn, where we can practice our faith daily at our beautiful chapel. Our dear Fr. Linus Kinyua has been with us for five years and celebrated a special birthday this year on Oct. 10. Fr. Linus is also the pastor of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish. Father is someone who shows his love and support to all his parishioners, from age 5 to 105. We also thank Fr. Jim Lopez, our former assistant to Fr. Linus, and we welcome our new assistant pastor, Fr. Aaron DePeyster, as he ministers to our community. We thank Sr. Mary Downey, our ever-present pastoral minister. We are happy that all of you are members of our Henry Ford Village family. Love and prayers.
Your Henry Ford Village family
Thank you for this opportunity to share with you our appreciation for the association with Fr. Craig Giera, pastor of St. Ephrem Parish in Sterling Heights. Having experienced many priests during our almost 80 years, find that Fr. Craig has raised the bar and is truly in union with Christ. He inspires the congregation with wisdom beyond his young years; he includes humor and personal experiences in his daily homilies; but when he celebrated the sacred Liturgy, there is a certain aura about him that suddenly changes. He is totally absorbed in the Sacred Sacrifice of the Mass. Fr. Craig inspires us to strive for holiness by the power of his words and example. He is a man of prayer, who follows the will of God, and shares with us the teachings of the Church; and he has a strong devotion to the sacrament of penance, and to the Holy Mother. We pray that he continues to conform more and more each day to the image of Jesus. Thank you, Fr. Craig.
Lorenz A Dannhausen
St. Ephrem Parish, Sterling Heights
I love our priest because he constantly reminds all of us of how much God loves us. He brings to mind the question in the old Baltimore Catechism: Why did God make you? The answer is to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him so we can be happy with Him in this world and the next! Fr. Greg Rozborski teaches us this in some way every day.
Sometimes during Mass, a child will cry or make noises. Fr. Greg stops and draws attention to the sound and says that we should listen because that is Jesus speaking. During the consecration of the Mass, he profoundly brings the entire congregation to the sacredness of the transubstantiation in the elevation of the sacred Body and Blood of Christ. He brings complete silence to the church at this time by his reverence. After the final blessing, Fr. Greg asks us to keep smiling and to keep the joy of Jesus!
After Mass has ended, Father greets everyone with a hug or handshake and reminds us of St. Pio’s mantra of PRAY, HOPE AND DON’T WORRY! Fr. Greg accepted the assignment to merge three parishes together! There were indeed many “stiff-necked” people to deal with, but by his consistent love and example of patience — he made us one! He is truly a wonderful priest and a great teacher and has formed a beautiful parish family with us, giving us hope, love and forgiveness!
St. Pio Parish, Roseville
If someone who helps save your life is a “hero,” what do you call someone who helps save your eternal soul? Fr. James Cronk, through his gentle admonition, brought me back into communion with the Church. His genuine “pastoral care” distinguishes him as a true shepherd. He is a compass unwaveringly pointing toward the Love and Mercy of Jesus Christ, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
I am very thankful for our pastor, Fr. Tim Birney. His humility and lightheartedness is refreshing. He uplifts us spiritually and leads us with his strength and perseverance during difficult times, never letting us forget that we are one family, all working together toward the same goal. May God continue to bless him as he ministers to our parish.
Thank you to Fr. Dominic Macioce, our associate pastor, for his daily enthusiasm and compassion. He is a genuine role model for the youth of our parish and his love of his priestly ministry is evident in all that he does. May God continue to bless him each day.
St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park
We’d like to write a few words about Fr. Larry Pettke, our pastor at St. Louis Catholic Church in Clinton Township. What can we say about Fr. Larry in 250 words or less? Plenty!
Don’t buy him cologne for Christmas because he prefers to smell like his sheep. He’s the kind of pastor Pope Francis would be proud of. Fr. Larry personifies both the corporal and spiritual works of mercy within his life. He has a unique talent for inspiring in his parishioners a spirit of generosity and outreach to the poor, disadvantaged and misunderstood. He understands the nuances of people’s lives, ministering to the people as a whole or to individuals as needed. Through his teaching and guidance, the family of St. Louis Catholic Community has become more compassionate, more understanding and more forgiving.
Micah 6:8 may best describe Fr. Larry:
This is what Gods asks of you, only this…
To act justly,
To love tenderly, and
To walk humbly with your God.
Fr. Larry Pettke is a keeper. May God continue to bless him in his priestly work within his parish family at St. Louis.
Marilyn and Tom Giacobassi
St. Louis Parish, Clinton Township
I can’t say enough good things about Fr. Michael Loyson at St. Colette Parish in Livonia. He is the best — his personality is outstanding! During his homily, you can hear a pin drop — and your phone better not ring. Ha ha! He loves the summer weather, but not so much winter, as he drives from St. Clair Shores to St. Colette per his schedule, but never complains. Thank you so much, Fr. Mike. We love you!
St. Colette Parish, Livonia
“Love your neighbor, love one another.” Almost always this is how Fr. Richard Cavellier ends his homilies. Short, concise, something to ponder after. Less but more. A self-made cook, he feeds us in faith the biblical teachings, from meaning, interpretations, pronunciations down to the spellings, and sweet dessert of jokes and humor. Try his vegetarian dish; it’s to die for! And the Gazpacho, wow! Fr. Richard is also an avid traveler. Join one of his many pilgrimages; you won’t be disappointed. Thank you and God bless.
G. Galicia Hahne
Sacred Heart Parish, Auburn Hills
I’m writing about our pastor, Fr. Michael Verschaeve, of St. Joseph Parish in Lake Orion. We’ve been parishioners of St. Joseph for more than 40 years and had a lot of different priests, all wonderful. Fr. Mike is the best; he’s friendly, kind and caring. He always takes time to talk and listen to you. He’s there for all of us. He’s a wonderful cook, and he plants a garden of flowers and vegetables. Fr. Mike, you’re special. God bless.
Jeanette T. Skipinski
St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Lake Orion
My priest is Fr. Theodore D’Cunha, from St. Priscilla Parish in Livonia. After many troubled years, this man has restored and increased my faith in God. His very presence makes people feel at peace. His dedication to the Blessed Mother is so great. I hope someday they make him a saint.
St. Priscilla Parish, Livonia
On behalf of the parishioners of St. Cyprian Church in Riverview, I want to tell you about our wonderful priest, Fr. William J. Promesso. Fr. Bill has been with us for more than 12 years and we have cherished every year he has been our pastor. Fr. Bill is the “Pied Piper of Downriver;” they follow him everywhere. If people are church shopping or returning to the Church from a prolonged absence, they are overwhelmed and in awe of his warmth, friendliness, his love for his flock and especially his weekly homilies. When Fr. Bill starts speaking, you are hooked and he has your undivided attention. His homilies are so inspiring, stimulating, motivating and enriching.
Fr. Bill is a very warm, loving and understanding priest. He never turns anyone away or refuses to perform a funeral Mass or a wedding for a non-parishioner. Many people have even joined our church because of the thoughtfulness and kindness he has shown to their deceased family member.
Fr. Bill never tires or refuses to visit those who are homebound or hospitalized even on his day off. He extends his efforts to other churches for Masses, funerals, etc. His generosity is unlimited. Fr. Bill is also such a great advocate of the ladies volunteering in our church. He is always present to support our fundraising functions; i.e. luncheons, dinners, raffles, etc. His praises of our efforts are always so inspiring and motivating for us. We can’t say enough about our wonderful Fr. Bill. We want to shout his praises to the heavens. We love you, Fr. Bill!
St. Cyprian Parish, Riverview
I want to express my deepest gratitude to the priests who live at the seminary and for whom seminarian formation is their primary assignment: Fr. Steve Burr, Fr. Tim Laboe, Msgr. Dan Trapp, Fr. Peter Ryan, Fr. Charlie Fox, Fr. Clint McDonell, Fr. Ryan Ford, Fr. Mike McDermott, and Fr. Pieter van Rooyen. As the rector, I am blessed to live and work with these outstanding priests. I see the incredible gifts they bring to their work and the selfless dedication with which they go about their daily responsibilities. Often with no recognition and in the quiet of spiritual direction and personal formation meetings, these priests give of themselves so that future priests might be well-formed. These priests are truly “tending the garden” of the seminary, offering encouragement when needed, inspiration for the men to reach greater heights, and offering compassionate correction so that their future ministry is a fruitful as possible. And in addition to the generous work at the seminary, these priests also offer assistance throughout the archdiocese in a variety of ways. And so by means of this brief note I want to offer these words of gratitude and ask you to join me in thanking the formation team of priests at the seminary! Thank you brothers!
Msgr. Todd J. Lajiness
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Fr. Craig Giera of St. Ephrem Parish in Sterling Heights is a wonderful pastor. My family and I love his entertaining and thought-provoking homilies every week. I’ve personally witnessed his patience and his heart when dealing with my fellow parishioners. He is extremely reverent and respectful in everything he does. He makes me want to be a better Catholic and a better person. We are so blessed to be part of his faith family.
Google defines “legend” as “a collection of outstanding attributes about an admirable person.” Although Msgr. John Zenz is simply not old enough to qualify as a “legend,” his outstanding attributes certainly qualify him to be placed high on the list. Here are just a few of his distinguishing characteristics: Amusing, cheerful, charitable, considerate, concerned, sympathetic, organized, highly intelligent, extremely creative and last, but certainly not least, immensely inspirational. Over and above his parish obligations, the talented monsignor also performs services for the archdiocese, TV programs, and many other clerical functions. Thank you, Msgr. Zenz. You have most certainly earned the highest
GGG (God Given Gift) rating from all of us at Holy Name Parish.
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
I am writing about my priest, Fr. Leo Sabourin, at St. Constance Church in Taylor. My initiation into the Catholic faith was patiently and kindly guided by his understanding of my limitations, and because of that I will be forever grateful. Thank you for more than 20 years of kind words of love and faith and encouragement that have touched my heart. You sometimes add light humor to your homilies that have greatly helped me to understand the unexplainable passages of the Gospel. I may be bound to this wheelchair here on earth, but your serious words of eternity have only reinforced my belief that one day I will walk in heaven with Jesus. With much love and gratitude.
Natasha M. Villarreal
St. Constance Parish, Taylor
My name is Sylvia Walker, and I am writing to you today to let you know how much I appreciate my pastor, Fr. Victor Clore. He is the head of two parishes in Detroit: St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven (3-plus years) and Christ the King (30-plus years). Although he is no longer a “spring chicken” at 75-plus years of age, he has the energy of a 50-year-old. Not only does he help his nephew replace a roof, but he successfully leads and mentors two flocks of parishioners.
Attending Sunday morning Mass at 8:45 a.m. will never find his congregation dozing. Not only does he engage the parishioners in the sermon, but he also explains the readings prior to the lector reading them — giving background information that is often humorous as well as practical. He includes snippets of current world events and ties them all together into his homily, making them relevant.
Thank you, Fr. Clore, for loving us and praying with us and for us in happy times as well as sad times. Thank you for helping us understand the word of God and helping us apply it to our daily lives. Most of all, thank you for being you.
St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven Parish, Detroit
Our community, Corpus Christi Parish in Detroit, is by many accounts the luckiest in this archdiocese. Our community is just unbelievably blessed. We have a pastor who truly embodies all the most authentic, precious qualities of “minister.” Fr. Don Archambault’s commitment to the “mission-field hospital” was in place long before Pope Francis’ calling. He has a very special calling not just to urban Detroit, but to the sick and bereaved as witnessed by his Mass of healing, an incredibly comforting experience.
For those so fortunate to be part of his congregation, we are so blessed and so grateful. In every single Mass he says, “we say” — he doesn’t “say the Mass for us. He prays the Mass with us.” How incredibly grateful we are that he truly embodies the Gospel and the best of our Church. We are incredibly blessed.
These words are truly heartfelt. He creates such a beautiful contemplative spirit at Mass, and he is so reverential. His deep spirituality always comes through. Hopeful you can come to his next Mass of healing. I always invite my extended family because they so appreciate his Masses. His vision for uniting diverse congregations and fostering a spirit of unity with a respectful tone is truly remarkable and somehow he’s kept his sense of humor, and he’s just so down-to-earth. Hopefully he’ll be here for many, many years. I spent a number of years at Notre Dame, and the Masses and services I thought were unequaled. But Fr. Don somehow brings the same reverential contemplative healing spirit, and we are so blessed. Thank God!
I wish to thank Fr. Anthony (Tony) Richter, the wonderful pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Lincoln Park. His happy disposition and his willingness to help everyone is a blessing to all of us. I especially enjoy his sermons that give help and encouragement to live better lives. Also, he has beautified our church and grounds, making it a more welcoming place to praise God.
Esther F. Cohran
Christ the Good Shepherd Parish, Lincoln Park
Praise and thanks for Fr. Sama Francis Muma at St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Shelby Township with all his enthusiasm and kindness in serving Our Lord and His people in many ways. He always has a kind and caring word to say and encouragement to everyone. He regularly shows and tells us about God’s love for us and helps to encourage us to love and serve God in return and our fellow man. I love his messages enlightening us how to always love God in return with enthusiasm and much energy, which is contagious to our thanking and serving God each and every day. His weekly Masses to four nursing homes and the special attention and goodness he shares and gives to all the men and women who look forward in sharing with him is very contagious. We thank you, Lord, for sending us this humble, loving, caring and compassionate servant who helps and shows us each time of Your goodness in helping all others and following you daily. Amen.
St. Therese of Lisieux Parish, Shelby Township
A recent homily by Msgr. John Zenz forever changed my life as a parent of a child with special needs. My wife’s and my oldest daughter was born with a chromosomal abnormality called Turner’s Syndrome. With her condition, she has a host of challenges — including nonverbal learning disability and autism. Because her condition would cause her to be a disruption during catechism, I reluctantly chose to forego her sacraments beyond baptism. However, Msgr. Zenz’s recent homily about a mother taking her child with Down syndrome to the altar for Holy Communion is where my decision took a turn. You see, the priest in this story initially said he couldn’t give the child Communion because he hadn’t received his sacrament of Holy Communion (i.e. First Communion). The mother, knowing that was an impossibility, told the priest, “Father, this child is closer to God than anyone in this entire church.” Msgr. Zenz further shared that the priest thought about the power of this mother’s words, the sudden understanding that she is 100 percent correct. So, he immediately gave the boy Holy Communion. Upon listening to this event, I immediately reached out to Holy Name’s faith formation about other options for my daughter. I am now my daughter’s catechism instructor and she loves the Bible stories and rituals that are taught. Because of Msgr. Zenz, I am now my daughter’s conduit to Jesus Christ, and she will receive all of the sacraments.
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
How do you thank someone who unified what was divided? Someone who breathed life into a fading community and took the broken pieces and tied them together to form a parish family? Fr. Cornelius Okeke has accomplished all this and more. Quite an accomplishment, considering this is his first assignment! His welcoming embrace, his easy smile and hearty laugh, his love of life, and his flock, make him truly one of a kind. We can never express how grateful we are for everything he has done for our parish community and we will forever be indebted to him. Without Fr. Okeke, we would not be what we are today: a parish of love, healing and holiness. From the bottom of our hearts, we offer a humble “thank you” to our priest, our friend and our champion, Fr Okeke.
Parish Pastoral Council on behalf of the parishioners of St. André Bessette Parish, Ecorse
Rarely in life do we meet someone who makes an impression on us that we can feel the fervor of the emotion attached to our encounter. This was Fr. Dominic Macioce. To our minds, his journey toward becoming a priest, which he personally shared, is extremely unique. He personifies Christ’s love especially through the connection he has with his parishioners. Fr. Dominic is a loving priest who embodies joyfulness and is so fun-loving! Most remarkable is his humility and warmth that initially and continuously touched our hearts. The sacrament of reconciliation seems to be his passion. He has drawn us closer to our faith in Christ, making us contemplate His love, forgiveness and mercy. We from St. Francis Cabrini Parish in Allen Park thank our Lord for allowing us to have him as our associate pastor, sadly for only a short while. We pray he will continue to be a blessing to others in his public ministry with his holy presence and extraordinary homilies.
Beatrice Cassidy and Gloria Conn
St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park
Msgr. John Zenz is a wonderful leader and an amazing gift to all of us at Holy Name Parish in Birmingham. He’s the warmest, kindest, most accepting, inspirational and hardworking priest in my life right now. He is quite involved in all aspects of parish life, delivers great, inspirational sermons, and he’s so available whenever people need advice, support or emotional help. Monsignor is also very sensitive and kind when performing funerals, and his weddings with a final blessing are beautiful. I’m so thankful for all that Monsignor does in our parish, the warm climate he has created at Holy Name, and I want him to know what a wonderful blessing he is in my life!
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
Msgr. John Zenz has been a wonderful inspiration to my family. His homilies are always engaging for us and the messages are poignant. My girls went to middle school at Holy Name and they said he always had a kind smile and gentle attitude. He helped them grow in their Christian faith.
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
Fr. Roman Pasieczny is our pastor at St. Lawrence Parish in Utica. On this Priesthood Sunday, I want to share what I know about his special gifts that the people of St. Lawrence are blessed to have. Fr. Roman “walks the talk.” He leads and teaches by word and example. Everyone (the elderly, families with children, new and longtime parishioners) feels they can talk to Fr. Roman about whatever their individual concerns may be. The school children know him by his smiling face.
Quoting Pope Franics, “Mission, evangelization and sharing the faith are NOT programs. They flow from a way of living in response to God’s blessings. You convince people by learning how to welcome them. The Gospel calls Christians to welcome those who do not think as we do, who do not have faith or who have lost it. We are all sinners. That is why we must keep our doors open, especially the doors to our hearts.” This is “Unleashing the Gospel.” This is Fr. Roman!
St. Lawrence Parish, Utica
We are pleased and privileged to say THANK YOU to Fr. Richard Bartoszek. We are blessed each Sunday he says Mass at Beaumont Bon Secours’ Chapel in Grosse Pointe. He welcomes all and helps everyone strive to make our world a better place. He is humorous yet profound in the messages he delivers in his homilies. His love for his congregation is evident during and after Mass. We know that he is a tireless minister to patients, friends and community members. We also know that he has special love for seniors. We are grateful to have Fr. Rich and the dedication and passion he brings to his ministry and in his role as pastoral leader.
Pam Zarkowski and Daniel Pierce
Fr. Craig Giera is our new energetic priest. He is easy to talk to and always open for appointment. He makes us laugh and make the homily alive. I loved it when he makes changes at church decoration. He makes the homily interesting and more educational to every age at church. Fr. Craig, thank you for coming to St. Ephrem to be our pastor.
The Lava family
St. Ephrem Parish, Sterling Heights
What do I love about Fr. Joe Dailey of Christ the Redeemer Parish in Lake Orion? His willingness to share his fabulous and insightful homilies each week online. I am not a parishioner of Christ the Redeemer Catholic Community. Each week I look forward to and ponder the insights and art he shares. Fr. Joe’s ability to break open the word is truly a gift and treasure! Years ago, a dear friend shared one of his homilies with me via email. I now look forward to listening every week. I always learn something new. I am often inspired. Many times, he helps me to hear the word in a new and thought-provoking way, helping me become more compassionate and forgiving. Fr. Joe helps to bring the word to life. For this I am thankful.
I am also thankful for Fr. Craig Giera. He came to St. Ephrem Parish at a difficult time. I am thankful for his patience and gentle support of our community. I truly appreciate the many times he has made himself available to me and those in my family. His gentle manner has helped to heal and offer support when it was most needed. Fr. Craig has helped me have a greater understanding of prayer and worship. For this I am thankful.
St. Ephrem Parish, Sterling Heights
Fr. Anthony Sulkowski was welcomed by our parish family here at St. Basil Parish in Eastpointe more than 10 years ago. Sadly, around the middle of November, Fr. Tony will be saying farewell and starting a new journey at St. Jane Frances de Chantal. Their parish will be getting a very devout and caring priest. When Fr. Tony arrived, our parish was in dire straits; there was a chance we might have had to close. Under Fr. Tony’s spiritual and financial leadership, and the hard work and sacrifices by the staff and parishioners, we now have a strong parish. With Fr. Tony, what you see is what you get, a deeply devout, religious priest. He’s very caring, kind, compassionate, a good listener who understands at times it’s just the little things that make a day, a warm smile, hello, hug or just a nod. May God always bless and keep you in loving care.
Carol Mary Kaminski
St. Basil Parish, Eastpointe
Words are inadequate when describing the genuine goodness of our pastor, Msgr. James Moloney. His care and concern for the poor of the world has always been one of his primary goals, as evidenced in his ministry of the Propagation of the Faith. From the very young to the eldest members of our parish at St. Anselm in Dearborn Heights, he has encouraged prayer and sacrifices for the less fortunate around the world. He is quick to acknowledge parishioners’ generosity and support of worldwide missions.
Monsignor also believes in Catholic education. He realizes the importance of a parish community being a strong support to parents who value the religious training of their youngsters.
The elderly of the parish is another segment of the parish that is well cared for spiritually. As difficult as it may be for our pastor who is still going strong and long past the time when he could have retired, we find him faithfully saying Mass every day, providing spiritual reading and opportunities for uplifting our prayer lives. Once a week he has lunch with the senior members in the Friendship Club.
Many of these activities are carried out in every parish, but with Msgr. Moloney, we witness a person who gives his all each moment of each day. Whether it’s meetings, social functions, parish activities or saying Mass, we truly see a loving shepherd caring for his flock.
Thank you, Monsignor, for all you do. You are truly a gift and blessing to St. Anselm’s community in Dearborn Heights — a gift we shall always cherish. God bless you continuously!
Helen Smith and the Friendship Club
St. Anselm Parish, Dearborn Heights
We, parishioners of Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish in Roseville, would like to thank Fr. John Wynnycky, our pastor, for his ability to bring the words of Jesus Christ to his flock. He listens and answers our questions without judging our opinions. We think he has brought normalcy to our parishes. His warmth, humility, kindness — and we can’t neglect to remember his shyness — have brought us closer to our God and savior by Fr. John’s example.
Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Eastpointe
Msgr. John Zenz is an exceptional priest in many ways. Having belonged to several parishes in my 76 years I know this to be true. He gives exceptional sermons (with no notes) that really relate to our everyday lives and are delivered with such a personal approach. Also he sings through much of the Mass with great musical talent and feeling. As a parishioner you feel like you are valued in many ways. Sunday Mass with Msgr. Zenz is a very special time in my life each week. We are very lucky at Holy Name Parish to have such a special person to guide us through our lives.
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
I have been attending Our Lady of the Woods Catholic Church for about four years now. Fr. Andrew Czarnecki is our priest. Every time we need him, he is there for us. My husband was very sick and we wanted to be married. He married us quietly. I’m always asking questions and he takes the time to answer them. I have never heard anyone explain the homily the way he does, so it is very clear. I appreciate all he does for the church.
Peggy and Dan Rogowski
Our Lady of the Woods Parish, Woodhaven
Fr. David Burgard, pastor of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Monroe, is a very humble, kind, compassionate man of faith who always has time for his parishioners. Fr. David obviously loves his vocation as a priest, which is exemplified in joyful and reverent liturgies and sacramental celebrations. Most important is that Fr. David is a good listener, counselor and adviser. We thank him for his vocation and service as he leads the people of our parish in our journey toward the Kingdom.
St. Mary Parish, Monroe
Five years ago we welcomed a baby boy into this world and he spent some time in the NICU. I was not a member of St. Barbara Parish in Dearborn at the time, but Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski offered many prayers as did the parishioners. I was so touched by this that we joined the church and my son was baptized there. Since that time, I have sought Father’s counsel on many issues and he has always been straightforward in his guidance. I love that I can go to him and he will tell me what I NEED to hear as opposed to what I’d like to hear! He also has a special place for the children. While many are often sent to the “cry room,” he welcomes their voices and encourages them on many levels. My family and I have been most fortunate to make his acquaintance. May God continue to bless him and his ministry!
Michael Dempsey and family
St. Barbara Parish, Dearborn
There are no words to adequately express our gratitude and love for Fr. Miroslaw Frankowski, pastor of St. Florian Church and St. Ladislaus Chapel in Hamtramck. His spiritual leadership and overall effective management have resulted in a vibrant and thriving parish. And he has been instrumental in carrying out our mission of preserving our Polish heritage.
God has blessed him with many talents and gifts he tirelessly puts to use in all spiritual activities, including meaningful homilies and liturgies; beautifully adorned altars for weekly liturgy and special holy days; amazing music performed under his direction; and special church services throughout the year. A successful Saturday Polish school is provided for our children to learn catechism and Polish culture. He is actively involved in directing all social and cultural activities throughout the year, such as leading Polish dance groups, holding annual fundraisers (such our Strawberry Festival and Polish Soup Festival), and providing other events celebrating Polish culture.
He welcomes and includes all people who come to our parish. Through his grace, humor, kindness and humility, he makes others feel comfortable and respected, no matter who they are. Fr. Frankowski demonstrated great courage and spiritual leadership last year when offering to take on St. Ladislaus Church (avoiding its closing) as a chapel to St. Florian Parish. Through his efforts in communicating this proposed change and making the St. Ladislaus parishioners feel welcome, this has been a very positive transition. We are truly blessed!
Ann-Marie Krul on behalf of the parishioners of St. Florian Parish and St. Ladislaus Chapel, Hamtramck
I have known many good priests, but the best one is Fr. Leo Sabourin of St. Constance Parish in Taylor. I had fallen away from the Church because of the negligence and indifference of certain priests, but when I met Fr. Leo I found my faith again and have been actively involved for 10 years. Fr. Leo is old and small, but his energy and commitment is UNSTOPPABLE. He never drops the ball in his compassionate service to everyone he meets. He has a grip like iron, and his heart is bottomless. He is my personal father figure, and the nicest person I have ever met. We all love him SO MUCH!
St. Constance Parish, Taylor
It is not difficult to tell anyone what I like about my priest. He is the most sincere priest I have ever met. When he says Mass, it is with such reverence and genuine feeling that anyone can see that he believes what he is doing is for the honor and glory of God. Yet he is down-to-earth and remembers the names of most parish members and the names of their children and grandchildren, too! He is kind and considerate of all people and is well-liked by even people who do not belong to his parish or don’t go to church at all! He is from Ireland and he has become a citizen of the United States and now is facing some very serious cancer treatments. Still, he smiles and greets us as though there is nothing wrong. He is a very special man. He is Fr. Michael Cremin, SAC!
St. Joseph Church/St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Wyandotte
We have two new priests here at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park. Our pastor, Fr. Tim Birney, and associate, Fr. Dominic Macioce, arrived in July, 2016. I want to thank Our Lord for them, as they are a real blessing to us. Both are kind, caring, friendly, dedicated to Jesus and the Catholic Church. Their great sense of humor keeps us laughing with the teasing rivalry between them — all done in fun and friendship. Their homilies are outstanding and provide a challenge for us to grow closer to Jesus, and encourage us to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist often. Adult faith formation classes they presented were both helpful and enlightening. Our parish recently celebrated its 70th anniversary with a beautiful outdoor Mass (our very first) and picnic afterward. Evenings of reflection and worship before the Blessed Sacrament in a darkened church, with many lighted candles on and around the altar, have been inspiring and spiritually uplifting. Confession is also available during this time. I was quite sick and house bound for two months this past year and am most grateful for Fr. Dominic’s visit to bring me Communion and the sacraments of penance and anointing of the sick. His comments lifted my spirit and gave me peace. Both priests are quite busy with our two schools and the many different parish organizations and activities. Still they remain energized and focused on leading us all to a deeper appreciation of our Catholic faith and a close personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus.
St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park
Fr. John Wynnycky is the pastor of Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish in Roseville. We are very pleased and blessed to have him guide us on the path of righteousness each week. Fr. John is always attentive to our parish members and goes the extra mile to make sure that people young and not so young are recognized for his/her accomplishments, successes and efforts in doing good outside the walls of our church and within them, too! He prays for our military and our world and the daily woes it endures that week. He is a very quiet and humble man who truly loves our Lord and what he has been called to do. We are inspired by his homilies and his closing prayer with a hint of musicality. Thank you Fr. John — job well done! God bless.
Rick, Linda and Emily VanHaaren, Jr.
Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Roseville
“Father Z” is a one-of-a-kind priest. Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski truly makes you feel appreciated. Going out of his way to welcome each and every parishioner, always making sure to celebrate the latest birthday, or welcoming the newest member of the church, Fr. Z makes you feel special. When it comes to Mass, you not only attend, but are a part of it. Come to Sunday morning Mass at St. Cunegunda Parish in Detroit, and you will see children at the altar attentively listening to Father’s homily. He loves to educate the children (as well as us adults sitting in the pews) on the message of the readings. Always asking questions, it is not rare for Father to reach out to the congregation if the children are unable to figure out the answer! While there are much closer parishes in distance to where my husband and I live, we choose to make the extra drive in order to be with Fr. Z. He truly is a blessing to us all!
Sarah Lynn Conley
St. Cunegunda Parish, Detroit
Thank you, Fr. Tim Birney, for all that you do for St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park. We are blessed to have you as our pastor!
St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park
My pastor, Fr. Don Archambault, deserves love and praise every day of the year for his total dedication to Corpus Christi Parish in northwest Detroit. Not only is he dedicated to the parish, he works tirelessly on behalf of the people in the neighborhood around the parish. Fr. Don is a “world class” ENCOURAGER. He encourages all generations of parishioners to be actively involved in parish activities and programs. He is a wonderful mentor to the young people in our parish. He talks with them and encourages them. He meets them where they are and tries to lift them up.
Every other Friday night, you can find Fr. Don praying for the city of Detroit and her people as part of the “Peace Walks” sponsored by the Detroit Clergy Alliance. With pastors and people of all denominations, he walks the sidewalks of the city praying for peace. Friday may be Fr. Don’s “day off,” but when the Peace Walks start, he shows up! The city of Detroit has no better friend than Fr. Don.
Fr. Don’s leadership skills and mentoring expertise help to make our parish vibrant and full of the Spirit! His homilies always hit the mark. Fr. Don’s life of service to the Church is truly a great legacy. His parents gave him a firm foundation on which to stand and his siblings keep him grounded to this day. All of Corpus Christi rejoices in the life of this good man. We are blessed to call him our pastor.
Corpus Christi Parish, Detroit
I want to mention a few words about the pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish in St. Clair Shores, Msgr. G. Michael Bugarin. It was by accident that I went to Mass at St. Joan of Arc (God works in mysterious ways). I was watching my friend’s animals and wanted to go to Mass. I noticed St. Joan had a 4 p.m. Mass. I went and the celebrant was Msgr. Bugarin.
He is an excellent pastor. He really cares about his parishioners. He goes out of his way. He writes articles about his family, which I enjoy. He’s very compassionate, his homilies are excellent and hit home. As a result, I decided to become a parishioner of St. Joan of Arc, and I’m glad I did. (Like I said, God works in mysterious ways.) I would also like to acknowledge Fr. Richard Bartoszek. He, too, gives excellent homilies and shows compassion to patients. He is also a chaplain at a hospital.
SAV (a parishioner)
St. Joan of Arc Parish, St. Clair Shores
Guardian Angels Parish in Clawson has been blessed to have Fr. Gerard J. LeBoeuf as our pastor. He is an outstanding leader. He is in charge of a grade school and a high school. He is an excellent homilist. Fr. Gerry not only speaks on the Gospel readings, he also interjects personal occurrences that bring his homilies to a level the parishioners can understand. He doesn’t need any musical backup when he sings; he has a great talent for lifting spirits with his voice.
Father also serves as a mentor who welcomes seminarians to spend time with us. And, we have had some very nice young men turn into very welcoming priests. Another talent Fr. Gerry shares with his people is his art for decorating the church inside and the outside grounds, whether it be ordinary time, special church seasons or special occasions in the church.
Father wanted the grade school to be well-cleaned for the return of the students. Not only did he gather parents to work in the school and on the grounds, but he also was seen in jeans scraping, scrubbing and hauling trash. Just because he is a pastor doesn’t mean he doesn’t get involved. He has a hand in everything to make our parish a thriving, happy community. We are truly blessed to be led by such a giving pastor and leader.
Guardian Angels Parish, Clawson
It is with great joy and appreciation that I express my sincere gratitude to Cardinal Adam J. Maida, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron for his inspired efforts to “Unleash the Gospel,” and the bishops and priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
However, the priest who is most dear to me is the later Fr. Peter Walkowiak, who baptized me and enriched me with the most precious spiritual gifts of God — the presence of the Blessed Holy Trinity in my soul; the gifts of faith, hope and love, and opened the gates of heaven for me for all eternity. This baptism allowed me to receive all the other sacraments in my life.
How can we ever appreciate enough and thank God for our priests with whom we participate daily in the sacrifice of the Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist from their anointed hands? Through their ministry of the sacraments, we obtain the necessary spiritual gifts we need daily to live God’s holy will in faith and trust and his love to serve others.
Therefore, my prayerful wish is to assure each priest and seminarian that you are in my prayers daily, but especially on Thursdays. This is the day Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of holy orders. May they all receive countless graces and blessings of God which they need and desire the most. God bless you!
Sr. Mary Modesta Piwowar, CSSF
Why is this priest so special? Well, he is a wonderful homilist, a liturgist, a musician and has great vocal cords … just to name a few accomplishments and talents. Plus, he has a phenomenal memory. He is unconditionally dedicated to his vocation and is absolutely devoted to those he ministers to, his family and his friends. He has an incredible sense of humor and is never at a loss for words. He is compassionate and is a very good listener and is always willing to go that extra mile to help someone in need. He is very special to those who know him well. He is underappreciated by some, misunderstood by others; however, they are far outnumbered by those of us who know and love him. I am sure God smiles down on him each day saying, “Yep, he is different, but that’s what makes him so special.” God has blessed me in many ways, and I consider Fr. Doc Ortman to be one of those blessings.
For Fr. John Wynnycky, pastor of Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Roseville: Fr. John’s warm, welcoming smile, willingness to listen and serve and take an interest in our lives makes our parish a real, warm family. His homilies are clear and to the point with just the right touch of a story or chuckle now and then. Thank you, Fr. John, for being our great pastor!
Kay and Maurice Cooney
Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Roseville
Msgr. John Budde serves as a model of what it means to be a caring pastor. Father embraces and relates to all age groups. He is there each weekend to greet us. It is not unusual to see the youth lined up waiting to tell Fr. John about their school activities. He calls each of them by name in a caring fashion; they are our future Church.
Fr. John’s homilies are wonderful, inspiring the parishioners to become involved in parish life. Fr. John has a great sense of humor. For example, he has been known to don a Lederhosen and Alpine hat at a parish Oktoberfest! He knows the right words of comfort in the loss of a loved one. I have a beautiful memory of Fr. John sitting on my father’s bed holding his hands administering last rites, providing comfort to Dad, my siblings and grandchildren. He reached out with such warmth to console each one of us. I am so pleased to be a member of St. Mary of the Snows Parish in Milford. It is a caring community that reaches out to all.
St. Mary, Our Lady of the Snows Parish, Milford
Fr. Gintaras Jonikas demonstrates the true meaning of “father.” As the family patriarch, he accepts the responsibilities and obligations of his vow. When one of his children is struck with illness or disaster, he is there to aid and comfort. Father recognizes that children are the future of the Church and strives to introduce the Spirit of God into their lives. We are grateful to be able to celebrate Holy Mass and the sacraments with him. Father’s happy and friendly nature shines through as he greets us all by name as we exit the Church, being quick to spot a new face as he welcomes them to join the family of Divine Providence Church.
Divine Providence (Lithuanian) Parish, Southfield
Our pastor, Fr. Rich Treml of the parish cluster of SS. Peter and Paul in North Branch, St. Mary Burnside, Sacred Heart in Imlay City and the chapel of St. Patrick in northern Lapeer County, is a wonderful spiritual leader.
We are truly blessed to be under the guidance, leadership and spiritual growth of this wonderful priest. He has invigorated our parishes. Fr. Rich is compassionate, friendly, joyful and outgoing. Fr. Rich consoles us in our sorrow and joins us happily in our joys and celebrations. His homilies are insightful and bring our Lord to the center of our daily lives. We can’t thank God enough that Fr. Rich had answered God’s invitation and call to pastor “Green Acres” and “The Boonies,” as Father lives to refer to his flock — us. Every man aspiring to be an ordained priest could look to Fr. Rich as an example of God’s love as a pastor for God’s people. Sto lat, Fr. Rich; we love you and appreciate you. May God continue to bless you as He has blessed us with you.
Vicky Rogers and family
Oct. 10 marks the first anniversary of the death of my sister, Barbara Rossi. Fr. Gerry LeBoeuf, pastor of Guardian Angels Parish in Clawson, has been so kind and considerate during this time. About every three months, I have received a letter from him to see if he or his staff can be of assistance to me in my time of sorrow.
What was most memorable was the beautiful funeral Mass. Family and friends still talk about it today. After Mass, several people told me that if they lived closer, they would join the parish. A couple other people said it was the most beautiful funeral Mass they had ever attended. One man came to me and said, “That priest was so good, I couldn’t even fall asleep!” Thank you, Fr. Gerry, for all your love and support.
Guardian Angels Parish, Clawson
What I love about my priest is his following in the footsteps of Jesus as he fulfills his pastoral duties. When I attend Mass, I hear Jesus preaching and teaching, putting the Bible in a language I can understand and apply to my daily life. I heard awe-filled reverence when he speaks the words of consecration. I heard his gratitude for the privilege every time he says them and know my own devotion is stronger. His warm, friendly approach to the youngest through to the oldest parishioner is a joy to observe and experience. He validates each one as a good shepherd does.
Holy Trinity Parish, Port Huron
“Take the Lenten journey with me; I promise that by Easter you will learn to love your enemies.” This is from the first homily I heard from Fr. Nick Zukowski roughly 12 years ago. That message changed my life; it started me on a spiritual journey that has brought me closer to God than I ever thought possible. He had opened a door to the richness of the love God has for us. My quest for knowledge became a major focus in my life, and he found the time to patiently answer my many questions, and counsel me on how to properly handle difficult situations. His homilies continue to guide my daily life. I now see God’s hand in every aspect of my life. How do you thank someone who has added such a profound depth to your faith? You really can’t, but can trust that God knows the difference he has made to so many of us. A few years ago, he said, ”Did you look in the tomb and find your faith? It is there in the darkness; do not be afraid.” I am no longer afraid of the future; Fr. Nick has taught me there is nothing to fear at all. Heaven is a promise. By the way … that Easter, I learned that I had no enemies. Thank you, Fr. Nick.
We are very blessed to have Fr. Steve Mateja assigned as our pastor at Divine Grace Parish (St. Patrick and St. Joseph) here in our Carleton and Maybee communities. Reading from the first bulletin when Fr. Steve arrived in July of 2016, I quote the first line of his introduction, “Praise be Jesus Christ! My name is Fr. Steve Mateja, and I am your new administrator here at Divine Grace Parish.”
Fr. Steve has lit a fire here in our community the likes I have not witnessed in my 80 years here. Another quote from his introduction says, “I come to you with great joy, I have only one desire on my heart, to love Jesus and make Him loved.” After listening to his homilies over the past year, I believe Fr. Steve is living that desire. We keep him in our prayers during these challenging times in our country and our community.
Dick and Mary Ann Esper
Divine Grace Parish, Carleton
I am so thankful for the blessing that Fr. Edward Prus has been, and continues to be, for my family. My father was a student of Fr. Prus’ years ago in the seminary and connected me with him about five years ago. After my husband and I met Fr. Prus, we came to know what a special person he truly is. We were honored that he presided over our wedding in 2013 and the renewal of my parents’ vows a year later. He led a prayer service with family before our daughter was born with a life-threatening diagnosis. He then dropped everything to come to the NICU and baptize her before emergency surgery. His prayers, visits and sense of humor gave us comfort as she healed. He once again honored us by baptizing our son who was born in 2016.
We look forward to our visits with Fr. Prus when he isn’t busy dedicating his time and love to help others. He paints a picture with his stories, his sarcasm has everyone laughing and his genuine love for others is admirable and contagious. At our daughter’s baptism he beautifully sang “Guide My Feet.” We are so blessed to have Fr. Prus guide our faith toward God. Thank you, Fr. Prus, for allowing us to get to know God through you. We love you.
The Martin family
I would like to praise Fr. Michael Cooney at St. Peter Parish in Mt. Clemens. Fr. Mike’s homilies, community involvement and personality have earned him the respect within our community. This includes but is not limited to our surrounding cities, our county, our school community and our parish community! This is evident in Fr. Mike increasing the participation and interest in our church/parish, which in turn has also increased our number of parishioners! I have lost count of the number of ministries developed and available within our parish! Our parishioners’ love for Fr. Mike is clearly seen in the support and financial commitments to improving and expanding our school and parish. Fr. Mike, with direct resolve from our principal, has successfully and continually worked on increasing our student enrollment! As a school and parish we have been able to purchase a new, larger, air-conditioned school building, knocked down the old school building, soon-to-be creation of a prayer grotto to Our Blessed Mother, along with currently working toward building a brand new school gym, and expanding our much-needed parking lot! This has been done without loans! Not too many Catholic schools or parishes can claim this growth and expanding achievements!
My children graduated in 2010 and 2012 from St. Mary School. Our family remains involved in St. Mary and St. Peter, as do many other St. Mary alumni and their families! So much so, St. Mary is blessed to have previous students whose love for St. Mary has brought them back to be full-time teachers! We can also proclaim to have St. Mary alumni that now have their own children attending St. Mary School! This is what I call truly living and walking in our Catholic faith, along with sharing it and passing it on to our loved ones!
St. Peter Parish, Mt. Clemens
Fr. James McNulty was initially assigned to St. Edith Parish in Livonia for the last seven years and agreed to extend his stay for another seven years. His time leading and caring for this church has been healing, compassionate and dynamic. This parish has gone through many changes and the stability he has provided has strengthened members with increased participation and joy. He is a sincere man who uses his past experience, musical talent and wisdom to encourage the welcoming spirit that our community is known for. His insight clearly helps members and facilitates welcoming new members to join or return for worship. I will never forget the comfort and understanding that he provided our family after my father’s struggle with illness that took his life. He truly listened and shared the essence of my father’s life and the gifts that he gave to the world. There is nothing more lasting than the understanding and tribute that he gave my father … For this I am eternally thankful.
St. Edith Parish, Livonia
We are grateful for our pastor, Fr. David Cybulski, for many reasons. In our parish, St. Joseph in Erie, he is a very motivating spiritual leader. His deep faith and prayer life is evident. He is gifted in explaining our faith in simple, understandable ways with everyday examples. Fr. David is such a great role model especially for our youth. He is very active and visible in our school. He knows all the school children by their first names and always takes time to answer their questions. Our parish is thriving and reaching out to bring Jesus to others, to Unleash the Gospel, through the wonderful example and leadership of Fr. David Cybulski.
Barb Bonkoski on behalf of the parishoners of St. Joseph Parish and School, Erie
Fr. Michael Cremin, SAC, is the best! He makes everyone laugh and feel special. I have known Fr. Mike since I have been in kindergarten and I am now in the eighth grade. Some of my favorite times with Fr. Mike are serving masses with him, talking with him, and listening to all of his funny stories. I know that if I ever have a problem or need advice Fr. Mike will be there to listen and help me. I consider Fr. Mike not only a close friend, but a part of my family. He is the best!
Connor Chisek (grade 8)
St. John Paul II Catholic School, Wyandotte
Fr. Michael Cremin, SAC, is very dedicated to his church. For example, he has cancer and he still fights through it to serve in daily Mass. What I like to do with him is to visit him, get ice cream with him and listen to all his funny stories. I also like to help him with the weekend Masses and funeral Masses. I think he is the best priest because he cares very much about people and loves them, too. He also takes his time during Mass and has a sense of humor. This is why I think Fr. Mike is the best priest ever!
Aidan Chisek (grade 6)
St. John Paul II Catholic School, Wyandotte
Fr. Jim Commyn, pastor of St. Lucy Parish in St. Clair Shores, is the perfect choice to pastor a dynamic parish in a dynamic vicariate. In addition to being an understanding confessor, challenging homilist, and leader of inspiring liturgies, Fr. Jim is always planning and following through with meaningful evangelization events that draw an enthusiastic response from so many people in our area. Besides this priestly activity, Fr. Jim manages to skillfully handle the administration of an aging parish plant and direct a top-notch staff. Thank you, Fr Jim, for your service to the people of St Lucy, the SERF Vicariate, and the AOD.
St. Lucy Parish, St. Clair Shores
We are very blessed to have Fr. Jim Bilot, our pastor at Divine Child. I witness his compassion for families at many funerals Masses. It is a difficult time for all involved but he makes his homilies personable but always ties them into the readings. This is his way of encouraging people who may not be practicing their religion to return, all the while doing his best to make everyone welcome. Thank you, Fr. Jim.
Divine Child Parish, Dearborn
I am thankful for Fr. Joseph Mallia. Fr. Joe has been our pastor at St. Augustine in Richmond for one year and during this time has been an inspiration to the parishioners, not only in his homilies, but in his actions with active participation at all the parish events and community activities. Yes, community activities like running in the outhouse races during the Richmond Good Old Days. Fr. Joe speaks in words that are clear, easy to understand and a manner that lays out the truth with no candy coating. His words encourage and inspire our commitment with true love for Jesus in each of us. Weekend Masses together with the evening series he has offered (pre-Lenten studies and Bible study) have been very popular and well-attended. He invites, and it warms my heart to see so many respond to Fr. Joe to grow closer to our Lord. Our parish is very fortunate and blessed to have him as our shepherd and I look forward to what he will bring to the parish next. God bless you, Fr. Joe!
St. Augustine Parish, Richmond
Fr. Greg Deters is truly a blessing to St. James Parish in Novi. He approaches each and every Mass as if it was the first time celebrating with the parish. His enthusiasm is novel and keeps everyone engaged. Every prayer and blessing comes from his heart; his faith and love for the Lord is apparent each and every day.
St. James Parish, Novi
Fr. Wayne Ureel has been with us for four years at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Highland. When he arrived, we didn’t know what to expect. Our former pastor, who had just passed away, had been with us since the parish was formed some 30 year previous. When Fr. Wayne walked down the aisle for the first Mass, we felt an uplifting as if the Holy Spirit was truly with us. We knew then that this was the priest for Holy Spirit. Fr. Wayne is a soft-spoken man with a great personality. His sermons are so well-researched and thought through. We both enjoy them. Father has restructured the church back where it should be. He is a great leader for our church. We both thank God every day for bringing Fr. Wayne to us.
Frank and Claudia Seymour
Holy Spirit Parish, Highland
Since his coming to Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Fr. John Wynnycky has inspired me to strive to be a better person and care more for the less fortunate. You are kind, personable, very caring and a great asset to our parish. I am blessed to have you in my life.
Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas Parish, Roseville
It’s only been a little over a year since Fr. Steve Mateja came to Divine Grace Parish in the small country towns of Carleton and Maybee. We are so fortunate to have him. He is truly a man of faith who encourages all of us to pray and do more as Christians to spread our faith. Fr. Steve is friendly, enthusiastic, caring, funny and truly a devoted man of God. His mission here is to “Be Bold.” He interacts with the school children and attends their events. My favorite thing about Fr. Steve is his homilies at the school Mass on Friday mornings. He directs his teachings and celebrates the Mass with the kids on their level. Here’s hoping you come to love the country life and stay for many years. You can still be a “Michigan” fan in Carleton!
Divine Grace Parish, Carleton
We have the privilege of knowing Msgr. John Zenz from the first day he came to Holy Name Parish in Birmingham. We have been members since 1955. We were sacristans and ministers at his noon Mass for many years. He was always there for our family in good times and rough times. He buried and married our children, even going to Chicago for our daughter’s wedding. We love Monsignor as if he were one of our sons. Monsignor gives the most profound sermons. He has a way of keeping your attention. You never know when he is going to tell a human-interest story or something humorous. Msgr. Zenz’s devotion to Holy Name and his love of God is surpassed by none. He is a very gifted and special priest.
Joyce and Jack Ward
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
I am writing about our priest and pastor, Fr. Jerry Pilus of SS. Peter and Paul Parish (Westside) in Detroit. The things I really like about Fr. Jerry is he is an amazing priest and pastor. When he says his sermon he really gets to a point of the readings to where it really makes you think. He is a very compassionate priest who really cares for his parishioners and has a very caring heart. I really enjoy going to Mass as I do get a lot out of it and I really feel good about myself. He never ceases to amaze me. He goes above and beyond his duties to help his parish out with whatever it needs. I describe him as an angel sent from God to our parish. He is especially compassionate toward the elderly as our parish is made up of a lot of elderly people.
At one time in my life when my family was in a crisis, I went to my parish for help and Fr. Jerry was able to help me out to be able to keep our home. I cried in the meeting with him because how understanding and caring he was. I was very thankful to Fr. Jerry, our parish and to God for helping me out when I really needed it. I always keep Fr. Jerry in my daily prayers and I ask God to guide Fr. Jerry into the ways of his teachings. May God always bless Fr. Jerry and his family.
I remember the days of watching the great Bishop Fulton Sheen. We at Christ, Our Light Parish in Troy are very lucky to be able to hear — in person, every Sunday — our own Fr. Don Demmer, whose homilies and delivery, I feel, are just as moving and meaningful. Thanks, Fr. Don, for your words and your guidance.
Christ, Our Light Parish, Troy
I would like to recognize Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski from St. Barbara Parish in Dearborn. Every Sunday, Fr. Grankowski sacrifices his time to minister at the 8 a.m. Mass at Our Lady Queen of Apostles in Hamtramck. His services are reverent and his sermons are inspiring. He truly fulfills the commission given to him by Jesus Christ, to spread God’s word. He not only touches the hearts of the faithful, but makes it a point to physically show his love by a handshake or a hug. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to recognize this holy man.
Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish, Hamtramck
There is a lot to be able to shine a light on when it comes to our good shepherd, Fr. Simeon Iber. He has been such a blessing! Right from the start of his pastoral position with us, he converted what was a storage room into a Eucharistic adoration chapel. What a beautiful contribution. With the closing of our school of 80 years, he converted the space to be a useful center to house our ministries within the parish. He does not hesitate to make changes for the good of all concerned. He is very devout in his calling and what a blessing to have him in our midst. Father has found a loving way to welcome the blended parishioners of St. Raphael, St. Dunstan and St. Mel. He has a very engaging way of making all of us feel united as parishioners as one family of God at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. He is always moving forward with events to gather us together as a family. He is an open, approachable source of faith, hope and love. He is definitely a Godsend and a gift to us all!
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Garden City
There is no way to express the words of love and respect that this man of God has generated as a Catholic priest throughout the years. He is more than a servant he is an exemplary role model for all of us to mirror. His humble, dedicated spirit and holy ways in which he has conducted himself as a man of God through the years is to be admired. Anyone who has had the privilege of knowing Fr. Edward Prus knows just what we all feel about him. He is simply beyond compare. He has touched and changed lives and hearts of many who have witnessed his dedication and living the word of God. He continues to generate admiration and loving encounters though Christ. He is simply one of a kind and it has been a great blessing to know and to grow from his living example of a true Catholic. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do even on your retirement years! We love you!
I have been blessed! No, I didn’t win the lottery or anything along those lines. I was lucky and blessed to have Fr. Chris Talbot assigned to St. Francis of Assisi-St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Ray Township as pastor a few years ago. If you want someone to laugh with or cry with, he’s right there. If you are in need of counseling or consoling, he is right there. If your spiritual life is on a downward slide, he is right there to lift you up. He is open to new ideas and supportive to new programs and events. Fr. Chris makes it a point to be present at as many occasions as possible, and although his schedule is tight, he makes time to visit and anoint the sick, in addition to celebrating in the lives of all his flock. He finds joy in administrating the sacraments, to young and old alike. In general, he is where you need him to be. Father’s homilies are down-to-earth and they help you take home the Gospel message. Our liturgies are always full of music and singing, whether the celebrant is Fr. Chris or our senior priest, Fr. Art Baranowski, who is as wonderful as they come. Fr. Art’s compassion and caring are reflections of his life as a priest. Both priests joyfully exhibit God’s love and sing His praises – leading all of us to do the same. God surely has blessed me!
St. Francis of Assisi-St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Ray Township
Thanks to Fr. Patrick Gonyeau for always being able available to celebrate the sacraments with his people. I have been in need of celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation and he has always made himself available to meet with me, in the midst of his busy schedule. He has always exemplified the compassion and love of Christ. I thank you, Fr. Pat for the gift that you have been in my life. May God continue to bless you in all you do for his people.
Deacon Ed McLeod
I have known Fr. Pat Brennan, CP, since 1983 and he has been such a great inspiration in my life. He has brought me to a deeper relationship with Christ, as my spiritual director and retreat director of St. Paul of the Cross Retreat Center. He has been there for me when I lost both of my parents. He has celebrated the sacrament of the sick with me before my surgery. He has celebrated the sacrament of reconciliation and most of all, celebrated the Eucharist with me when I was on retreat and at other times. Fr. Pat has given of himself freely for the people. I am glad and thankful for all that he has done for me, especially that he is my spiritual director. May God bless you, Fr. Pat, and I thank you and am grateful for your ministry.
Deacon Ed McLeod
As I write this email, I am thinking of a song by Laura’s Story called “Blessings.” While I firmly believe that blessings come through raindrops, as the song implies, I also believe that God sends us blessings by bringing people in our lives who can point us to the right path in life. Jan. 9, 2018, will mark two years since I’ve been attending St. Anastasia Parish in Troy. I would like to say thank you to Fr. Steve Wertanen, Fr. Jim Grau, and Fr. Greg Piatt. Even though Fr. Jim is no longer at St. Anastasia, I’m happy to be able to keep in touch with him. Thank you so much for your homilies, your spiritual guidance and support on my job search journey and for guiding me as I walk with God every day one step at a time. I love you three very much. I would like to take an opportunity to also thank Fr. Greg Deters. Fr. Greg and I have not met in person yet, however we have been corresponding via email. Thanks Fr. Greg, for taking the time to correspond with me. It has been a pleasure being your pen pal. I look forward to the day when I will have the opportunity to meet you embrace you and say thank you in person. God bless you and I love you very much. Sincerely!
St. Anastasia Parish, Troy
I am writing this letter to thank Fr. Mike Verschaeve for his tireless service to our parish, and to also express my appreciation for his ministry. Over the years, I have been grown to appreciate the focus that Fr. Mike puts on the tender love and mercy of God. This is always a key point of every Mass that he celebrates. In this crazy world, it is sometimes very easy to miss the point that God actually loves us and desires to have mercy on us, and Fr. Mike’s subtle yet strong emphasis on this key point over the years has been a source of much comfort during difficult times. For this, I would like to say thank you very much to Fr. Mike. Keep up the great work.
St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Lake Orion
I met Fr. Ryan Adams on the street in Royal Oak in July 2016 when he was serving his first assignment as a priest at National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica. He was out spreading the good news of Jesus with a team from St. Paul Street Evangelization and I was in dire need of some good news and prayer. He was the first priest I had ever met. I was surely blessed that day. Since then, I’ve transformed from a distant, back-row Lutheran to a joyful, involved front-row Catholic. Thank you, Fr. Ryan, for teaching and preaching about love. Jesus’s love for ALL of us. Every homily, every talk, he strives to assure us how much Jesus loves us. Thank you, Fr. Ryan, for your humility, gentle corrections, kind words, patience and friendly discipleship. For your faith-filled leadership and guidance. For your devotion to St. Therese and St. Philip Neri. Fr. Ryan is truly blessed with a gift to reach people where they are at any moment in their lives … he is a humble man of God filled with the Holy Spirit joyfully spreading the Gospel, the truth, the good news. The people of Ste. Anne de Detroit and Most Holy Trinity Parish (Detroit) are blessed to have him as their associate pastor. God Bless you, Father Ryan and The Detroit Oratory.
National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak
We are truly blessed to have Fr. Darrell Roman as our pastor at St. Isaac Jogues Parish, St. Clair Shores. He has brought so many spiritual, physical and emotional improvements to our parish family including bringing the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, to teach in our school. He also has instituted opening the doors of our church for Eucharistic adoration Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. His homilies are filled with wisdom and insight and delivered with awe-inspiring faith. He gives all of himself for the betterment of his flock and shares his love of Christ unselfishly with everyone. He truly is a living example of a disciple of Christ filled with the Holy Spirit and is an inspiration to all of us.
Marietta and Brendan Lavis
St. Isaac Jogues Parish, St. Clair Shores
I hope that my letter arrives in time in references to our “Father Zbigniew Services.” When I first met Fr. Zbigniew (editor’s note: there are two “Fr. Zbignews” in the Archdiocese of Detroit; no last name was given) for the first time; I thought he was a priest serving the community who was just there because he had chosen to be a priest. As the days, weeks, months, and years went by, I have learned the love that he has for his community. I have learned the passion that he has for children as he shares his knowledgeable teachings in his everyday services. My boys were there for their holy first Communion and confirmation. We as a family have grown spiritually and emotionally as the years go by. Father or our pastor is always there for us, if he for any particular reason can met our needs, he would find the way to find someone else to be there in his name. I enjoy RCIA classes after Mass services, because not only my sons were learning, but we were learning as a family; refreshing our memories as the classes went on. Thank you Father, we really appreciate all you do for us, for my family and the community.
Juan and Maria Castillo and family
When our parish closed a while ago, we joined St. Vincent Pallotti Parish in Wyandotte. Fr. Mike Cremin, SAC, has always made us feel very welcome. My husband has said that many times. He has a kind and compassionate heart. He is sensitive and compassionate and humble. At the end of Mass he always thanks all the people who participated. We think he is a great servant of God. We are blessed.
St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Wyandotte
To Fr. Brian Chabala, pastor of St. Irenaeus Parish in Rochester, congratulations on 40 years of ordination of priesthood. Wherever God takes you, people are blessed with your spiritual leadership. You have always been there to help our family with your full attention. Thank you for anchoring our faith! Thank you, Fr. Brian, for your devotion, dedication, commitment, prayers and humor! May God continue to bless you.
The Motzer family
I am writing about the two priests that we have at St. Albert the Great Parish in Dearborn Heights, Fr. Dan Zaleski and Fr. Ben Leudtke. They take an interest in all of their parishioners and make all of us feel like their family. It is genuine and they take the time to talk with everyone that comes up to them after Mass. When you walk into St. Albert the Great, you feel like peace has entered all the way down into your soul.
Pat and Garry Schoenherr
St. Albert the Great Parish, Dearborn Heights
We are most grateful for the joyful spirit of our pastor, Fr. Steve Mateja, and his deep love for God which he shares through his priestly ministry. Since coming to Divine Grace Parish, he has provided many prayerful opportunities for us to grow closer in our relationship with God, the saints, each other, and the world community. His compassion for those dealing with illness and death has brought comfort to our family and many others. His bold examples of teaching and living the Gospel message provide inspiration for us and all who seek a deeper relationship with the Holy Trinity. We extend our prayers and gratitude to Fr. Steve and the many Archdiocese of Detroit priests who have nurtured his vocation and continue to support him in his priestly ministry.
Jim McGowan and Ruth Meiring
Divine Grace Parish, Carleton
I’d like to thank our pastor, Fr. Ken Chase, for his devotion to the priesthood and to Sacred Heart Parish, Dearborn. He selflessly commits his time and energy making Sacred Heart a parish to be proud of. He spends countless hours responding to both the spiritual and physical needs of the parish and school, even working into the evening and on his scheduled days off to insure all situations get the consideration they deserve. He faces the many challenges of dealing with aging buildings, insuring a viable school and preschool, changing demographics and social environments, ongoing faith formation needs, etc. It’s a difficult job that he handles very well and he is loved and admired for his dedication. His great sense of humor and friendly smile are a welcoming sight and let parishioners know they are recognized and valued. I want Fr. Ken to realize how much his work is appreciated and how blessed we are that he is our pastor.
Sacred Heart Parish, Dearborn
Msgr. Ronald Browne, in addition to all of his many responsibilities and duties for our archdiocese, is a great gift to our community at St. Elizabeth Briarbank in Bloomfield Hills. He offers daily Mass with a holy reverence and an inspiring homily, which often includes a meaningful or humorous story to highlight the main point of the Gospel. Msgr. Browne is a very dedicated and faithful priest. He spends time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament each morning. He can be seen praying the Divine Office. He hears confessions regularly for the sisters, the residents and others. It is evident that he has a deep spirituality by the way he treats each person as important, showing compassion and respect “as Jesus would.” He is committed to his priestly duties and responsibilities. If changes need to be made to the calendar, he provides a written schedule in advance. Msgr. Browne shows care and concern for all who come for Mass at St. Elizabeth’s. He readily takes time to bless religious articles and is available to administer the sacrament of holy anointing. He has arranged for confirmands and Eagle Scouts to do service projects to improve the grounds and provide service for the residents. He is never too busy to pay attention to the workers and all with whom he comes in contact. He is appreciative and grateful. He has an extensive knowledge of Scripture and theology, yet he is most humble and never hesitates to speak with any person. We are very blessed and grateful to have him as our chaplain. For these reasons, and so many more, we would like to say a HUGE thank you to Msgr. Ronald T. Browne. We are very grateful for all you do for us. God bless you!
Daughters of Divine Charity
Sr. Rita Bazzi, Chaldean Apostolic Hermit
Residents and daily Mass attendants of St. Elizabeth Briarbank Home, Bloomfield Hills
Fr. James Rafferty of St. Mary, Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Rockwood is an amazing priest! His love for and devotion to our Blessed Mother is evident in everything he does. His example of reverence for Our Lord, especially in the Blessed Sacrament, permeates the people of the parish and the community. Fr. Jim teaches us and leads us as if each one of us is his own child and he’s determined to lead us all in the right direction and ultimately to heaven. We thank him from the depths of our hearts!
We would like to thank Fr. Mike Cremin, SAC, for the incredible job he does daily as our pastor. We think of him as the master blender who leads our parish (consisting of St Joseph, St. Patrick, St. Elizabeth and St. Stanislaw churches) with thoughtfulness, caring and compassion. Fr. Mike is a humble, self-effacing priest with a demeanor that is gracious, caring and Christ-like. We love the fact that he never fails to thank all for participating at Mass. He brings us together as one family. His sermons are inspiring and always so enjoyable. He helps to strengthen our faith and makes us laugh, cry and thankful that we belong to St. Vincent Pallotti Parish in Wyandotte. During the past 18 months he has guided major repairs and renovations to both St. Pat’s and St. Joseph churches, conducting a very successful capital campaign to handle the expense. Despite his current battle with life-threatening cancer, Fr. Mike continues to inspire his parishioners with his faith, strength, warmth and leadership.
We are truly blessed to have Fr. Cremin as our pastor for the past 12 years and hope he will continue to lead and inspire us. He is our shepherd.
Patty and George Beaubien
St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Wyandotte
I have the deepest honor of knowing Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski for approximately nine years. During this brief period of time, I have very easily come to know, respect and appreciate his pastoral ways.
What has touched me most deeply about Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski is his love, passion and joy as he celebrates the holy Mass. He reaches out to each and every member of his congregation as if he was preaching the word of God only to you. Fr. Grankowski personalizes the celebration of Christ and the doctrine of the Catholic Church in such an engaging way that one can’t help but be mesmerized and encapsulated by his passion.
Fr. Grankowski has reached out to me and my family in numerous ways. When my mother became sick, he drove to the eastside of Detroit to St John’s Hospital three times to offer her prayer, comfort and forgiveness. It was so beautiful. She once told me, that “if Christ is like Fr. Grankowski, I am not afraid to die.” He celebrated her funeral Mass and it was the most beautiful celebration of her life. I will always cherish his generosity and his gift of family.
After my mother’s death, my family was enduring many struggles. Father brought all of us together along with my older brother and was able to cultivate a rejuvenation of faith, hope and love. Our family began to forgive and start the healing process. To this day, seven years later we have maintained this commitment to forgive and love because of his leadership, patience and guidance.
Father had also reached out to many of my nieces and nephews and brought their children into the family at St. Barbara through the sacrament of baptism. Again, Fr. Zbigniew celebrated life and brought many families together to receive their newly baptized babies.
Upon the sudden illness of my mother’s sister, Father hurried to her and her family to provide prayer, love and comfort. He never hesitated and sadly, she passed away the next day. Again, I can’t express the wealth of peace and warmth he provided through his words.
I don’t know how empty my life would be without the family of St. Barbara and the faithful leadership of Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski. His staff replicates his leadership and outreach into the congregation. I have never ever felt such joy upon celebrating the Holy Mass and hearing the Word of the Lord. Thank you, Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski.
St. Barbara Parish, Detroit
With Fr. Leo Sabourin, what’s not to love? For more than 50 years — since our days together at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Detroit — this wonderful priest and friend has been a spiritual father to the Tom and Helen Donahue family. Over the decades, Fr. Leo officiated at two Donahue family weddings, baptized several of the third generation, and helped us as we lovingly laid our parents to rest in recent years.
As children, adolescents and adults, Fr. Leo always let us know that we were (and are) loved and valued. This gentle, humble man is filled with compassionate concern, focusing always on the needs of others. His beloved tattered Bible is an outward sign of a good and faithful servant’s job well done! Fr. Leo is an exceptional priest who has led us in faith by walking with us — modeling Christ each step of the way. We Donahues are ever-grateful for the gift of Fr. Leo Sabourin and for the countless ways that he has enriched our lives. We say thank you to this Christ among us, a priest like no other priest we have ever known.
Mary Jo Balcer on behalf of the Tom and Helen Donahue family of Detroit
St. Constance Parish, Taylor
The Catholic Deaf Community of St. John’s Deaf Center and Our Lady of Loretto West-Detroit Deaf Catholics is very fortunate to have a priest like Fr. Michael Depcik, OSFS. He is deaf himself and can fluently sign American Sign Language. Our language and culture is the same! His tireless service includes celebrating the Holy Mass in American Sign Language, being available for other sacraments, teaching classes on the faith and visiting members. His goal is to lead deaf Catholics into a deeper understanding of their faith and into a relationship with the Most Holy Trinity. Moreover, he serves the Catholic deaf communities outside of the archdiocese, offers retreats in other states and even countries! In his rich and deep teachings he shares with us his love of history and the communion of saints, as well as many more topics. Fr. Mike is a man of prayer and his witness is powerful! The Catholic Deaf Community wishes to honor Fr. Mike Depcik and thank him for his priesthood and service. We hope he stays for many more years to come!
Annmarie C. Kowalczyk
St. John’s Deaf Center, Warren
There are countless reasons to love and appreciate Msgr. John Zenz! Too many to list here! Suffice it to say that we are blessed to have him for our pastor at Holy Name. His priestly example, humility and spiritual guidance help to keep us firmly rooted in our Catholic faith. With every homily he sends us into the next week with a renewed fervor and determination to live it better than the last one, always keeping God in the forefront of our minds. Thank you, Monsignor, for your faithful service to us over these many years!
Bob and Susan Chrysler
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
Holy Name Church (Birmingham) parishioners are blessed to have Msgr. John Zenz as their pastor. He is such a vital, spiritual, gifted man who lives and shares the Catholic faith with his wisdom, insights, humor and dedication. Msgr. Zenz is a kind, thoughtful, understanding, empathetic counselor, administrator and friend who expresses often and in many ways, his gratitude and appreciation for the many parish volunteers in the organizations, ministries and outreach programs that are the heart and soul of Holy Name. OK, what’s not to love about our remarkable pastor? Not much, but perhaps it’s his tendency to extend his (really inspirational) Sunday homilies past the “used by” time. But then, the homilies are more than worth a “time out” signal. God love him!
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
Fr. Mark Brauer is a true shepherd among his people, always including himself “in the fold” and always being open in every way: open-minded, open arms, open ears and an open heart. His gentle nature makes him approachable to all, and you can “feel” the guidance he gives through his example in everything he does. We see and feel it as he leads his fellow priests (of which we have an extremely talented “team” at Our Lady of Sorrows) in the workings of our very successful parish and school. He (and/or the other priests) attend every parish and school function showing not only their support, but also6 their enthusiasm for the event itself – whether it is faith formation, something social, or an athletic event. Fr. Mark, our parish priests, the music ministry and the myriad other ministries and people of our parish elicit gratitude from us every day.
Pam and George Wright
Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Farmington
Fr. Zbigniew Zomerfeld, your St. Mary Parish family in Port Huron just wants to say thank you for all that you do! For every Mass said, for every sacrament administered, we are grateful for you. We are grateful that you said “yes” to God’s call to the priesthood, to serve his people in such a complete and selfless way. That you said “yes” to his call when he sent you across an ocean away from your family to become part of ours. We are grateful for your humor and quiet compassion, for your integrity and willingness to stand up for all of the truths of the Church and for constantly serving your flock. For all of the ways that you are there for us, we are grateful! May God bless you always and keep you in his care. With love from your family in Christ.
The staff and parishioners of St. Mary Parish, Port Huron
Thanks from the sixth graders of St. Paul on the Lake Catholic School in Grosse Pointe Farms:
Fr. Joseph Kirkconnell changed my point of view on Christ. He made learning fun and I was excited to go to Mass. He was always getting involved with us students. Even if he left, I will always remember Fr. Joseph.
Thank you, Fr. Tom Slowinski, for all that you do! You are super funny and I love your homilies. You make going to church fun. I love it how you give the altar servers a pep talk before Mass, it really helps. You always make me smile when I am feeling sad. I would just like to say thank you again for being the funniest, coolest priest ever.
I really enjoy Fr. Tom Slowinski’s homilies. They are always very creative and we can relate to them. Also, I like that he is always very caring and helpful to you when you are altar serving.
Fr. Tom Slowinski, thank you for everything you’ve done for St. Paul. You’re funny and a great man. I love your stories in the homily. Thank you for everything you’ve done to help our church.
I really appreciate how Fr. Joseph Kirkconnell would come eat with us at lunch. I also liked how he would come and read to us in class.
I enjoy Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny because I feel like he is always teaching us new things about God. I feel blessed because God send Msgr. Halfpenny to St. Paul’s!
I enjoy when Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny talks about his own life experiences during the homily. I also appreciate when Msgr. Halfpenny comes to assemblies in the gym.
Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny, thank you for being an amazing priest. I love seeing you and feeling a joy of love when I am at Mass praying with you. I love when I shake your warm, toasty hand and look you right in the eye and say “Have a great day!” I love when you pray because it makes me feel when I am praying with God and you. Thank you for all that you do.
I love Fr. Tom Slowinski because he is a hilarious guy! He blessed a crucifix for me. He can be serious and funny. Fr. Tom has done numerous things for me and he always breaks the ice when you are nervous.
Thank you Fr. Tom Slowinski for always making me laugh at Mass. Your homilies make everyone laugh. Everyone appreciates that you came to St. Paul. Thank you for being your funny self.
My overall favorite priest at St. Paul must be Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny. I mean, he’s been here at St. Paul for many years and I’ve heard him say many Masses. When I was a kid I would go to Mass every week with my parents and see Monsignor. When I started at St. Paul, I would always recognize him when we went to Mass.
I really like Fr. Tom Slowinski for a ton of reasons! One of the biggest reasons is Fr. Tom is HILAROUS! He is religious, kind, and so funny. For example, he will tell jokes during his homily that make everyone laugh. All in all, Fr. Tom is awesome.
Thank you, Fr. Tom Slowinski for being such a great priest. You always make me laugh and smile. When you host Mass, it is always funny. I also enjoy your homilies.
Thank you, Fr. Tom Slowinski, for everything you’ve done for us. You always find a way to make me smile during Mass. You make the funniest jokes and make us feel special in the presence of God.
Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny is a huge part of this school! He is an amazing priest who inspires me every time I go to church. I would never be able to be that inspired by anyone else because he is so sweet and funny. Monsignor always makes sure God’s word is heard. When he does the homily, I don’t zone out or think of anything else. I only pay attention to him and what he has to say.
A priest I would like to thank is Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny. He taught me many things including how to be thankful to God in my life. He also makes me happy and excited to go to church. Monsignor has been a priest in my life for a very long time and also a part of my school life. When I see Monsignor, he makes me feel even closer to God. I am very thankful that he has taught me many good things about God.
Thank you, Fr. Joseph Kirkconnell, for making me smile. I loved serving with you. I hope you have fun at school! It was always great hearing you say Mass. I hope to see you again soon!
Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny has made such an impact on my life. He has brought me closer to Jesus and leads me to make good choices. He also has made me a more polite person. If you don’t use eye contact, he will remind you. Monsignor has also helped my family with personal problems, which I am grateful for. He also knows all of our names, which is amazing! When he does a homily, I feel connected to God. He also connects the homily to his life, which is really interesting to listen too. Monsignor is a really special person in my life!
Thank you, Fr. Tom Slowinski, for the funniest stories and the best homilies. I enjoy altar serving when you are hosting the Mass.
With heartfelt gratitude to Fr. John Riccardo of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, for his tireless and unending devotion to our parish. Blessings great and small.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Plymouth
We feel so very blessed to have Fr. Robert Bauer as our pastor at St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families Parish in Warren. Since Fr. Bob was assigned to our parish as pastor, he has “lit a spark” in me and my family to dig deeper into our faith, and not take for granted the gifts we receive daily from God as members of the Church founded by his Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Fr. Bauer is such a gifted homilist. He has such a unique way of tying the Scripture we just heard in the readings and the Gospel into our daily lives. Whether he is recalling lessons he learned from his childhood that we also learned from ours, or from parishioners he has pastored in his years as a priest, we find ourselves having one of those “now I get it” moments at the conclusion of his homilies. Because of Fr. Bauer, we now find ourselves reading Scripture with a deeper understanding of how we can use it to become brighter beacons of light in what often is a dark world. Thank you, Fr. Bob!
The Fedenis family
St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families Parish, Warren
I am grateful for my pastor, Fr. John Riccardo, for his tireless and creative work in our parish to help every person in our community to have a life-changing encounter with Jesus. His preaching, teaching and honesty have provided his children with ways to grow in our charisms as well as our love of God and neighbor. I’ve never been in a parish that is so alive! He is the best of fathers, and I thank God for him. God bless you, Fr. John.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Plymouth
Fr. Stephen Rooney has been at Our Lady on the River Parish in Marine City for three years, and he has been so good for our parish. He came under difficult circumstances. Fr. Rooney has brought his Irish brogue, his Irish wit and a wonderful sense of humor to all three campuses. His sermons contain personal experiences which make him much more human to us! We hope he stays for a long time!
Al and Pat VanDenBergh
Our Lady on the River Parish, Marine City
Though I am not his parishioner, I believe that Msgr. James A. Moloney, pastor of St. Anselm Parish, Dearborn Heights, is a living example of COMMITMENT. Despite age and ailments, Monsignor celebrates daily Mass seven days a week and I don’t think he ever takes a day off. He is great with the school children and relates very well with all ages. A typical grandpa and loving pastor, to say the least. We thank Monsignor for his dedication, humor and inspirational and informative homilies. I pray for more priests like him.
Wish while I was growing up we would have had a pastor like Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski, who takes the time to explain the Gospel to our children. Every Monday at St. Barbara/St. Cunegunda we have our REP classes and after class teachers and children go to Mass. Fr. Zbigniew has the children come to up to the altar so that he can discuss the readings and the Gospel. He explains the Gospel so that they can understand. He also makes the consecration of the host special for them so that they have respect for the body and blood of Jesus.
The children love him and look forward to Mass and talking with Fr. Zbigniew. He is awesome with the children. Fr. Zbigniew is also always available for our seniors; any time one of them is in the hospital he stops whatever he is doing and rushes to the hospital to anoint them. We also have anointing at our novena Mass every third Tuesday of the month. Fr. Zbigniew takes the time to be there for everyone to help them whenever he can. Fr. Zbigniew is a dedicated, devoted pastor and we appreciate him very much. May God Bless him always with good health.
St. Barbara Parish, Dearborn, and St. Cunegunda Parish, Detroit
Thank you, Fr. Ron Victor, for the many times you helped and encouraged us to grow close to Our Lord and saying, “Yes, Lord.” Also helping us create and build an environment of faith and love to nurture and grow with all of God’s children. Also discovering our spiritual needs as an adult with joy and growing in a deep, unique relationship with God and each other in all our families. Amen, yes Fr. Ron, we thank you each day and night for faith, understanding and a deep, unique relationship with God and each other.
Martha, Marilyn and Elizabeth
St. Isidore Parish, Macomb
From the high school students at Gabriel Richard High School in Riverview:
I am so thankful for my priest at my parish. My parish is St. Mary, Our Lady of the Annunciation. In eighth grade, I wrote one of my essays about him because he is truly one of my role models. His name is Fr. James Rafferty. His homilies are my favorite part of the whole Mass because they are truly inspirational. This is why I am thankful.
Words cannot explain how thankful I am to have Fr. Bob McCabe as my pastor at St. Pius X Parish in Southgate. I was in the second grade when a new priest was welcomed into our parish, and little did I know that he would also become a friend. He instantly became part of the family like he was the puzzle piece that was missing. It did not take long for everyone to realize how much of an impact he would make in the community. From taking pictures to making the most amazing homilies, Fr. McCabe is my favorite priest to go to on a Sunday Mass.
To begin with, I, along with the entire St. Pius family, truly appreciate all the pictures Fr. McCabe takes throughout the days. At any special event, I will always see Fr. McCabe in the corner snapping shots. Additionally, he will take the time to put all those pictures of students in a slideshow to show everyone at the end of the school year which is always an enjoyable sight. Lastly, Fr. McCabe has the ability to strengthen my faith during masses on the Sabbath by making homilies that are relatable to my life. Many people have the belief that mass is boring, but my pastor does not have that effect. Fr. McCabe always has the perfect homily planned for the Mass that invigorates the entire room to take the extra step when it comes to your faith.
My name is Alexa Camilleri, and I belong to St. Joseph Parish in Trenton. My priest’s name is Fr. Bradley Forintos. Fr. Brad is very funny and helps me grow spiritually in the Church; he also makes Mass enjoyable because he applies his fun personality into his homily and the way he reads the Gospel. He is helpful, giving, and willing to answer questions anyone may have about the parish. I look forward to seeing him at Mass, and he makes me want to attend mass every Sunday. In conclusion, Fr. Brad from St. Joe’s in Trenton is an excellent priest and I am very thankful to have him as a priest.
Why am I thankful for my priest? I am thankful for my priest because he is the best priest ever. Fr. Tony Richter is the pastor of Christ the Good Shepherd in Lincoln Park. He would give anything for the Church and the people that attend it. Fr. Tony makes everybody smile especially the kids. He comes to our Teen Forum events and deals with the crazy people in it.
Some things that Fr. Tony does are: he gives high fives to all the kids — including me — he “makes” the donuts for Coffee and Donuts, and he hosts dinner at his house for the Teen Forum. Fr. Tony gives high fives to all of the children in our parish. They all wait for him to come down the aisle to receive one. There is an ongoing joke in our church that Fr. Tony stays up all night and makes donuts for Coffee and Donuts. Every year the Teen Forum has a personal Mass with Fr. Tony were we can ask questions about the Mass, etc. After this we all go back to Fr. Tony’s house for dinner. In conclusion, Fr. Tony is the best priest ever because of his kind heart, and loving spirit.
If you were to walk through St. Pius School in Southgate any day of the school week, there is a big possibility you would see Fr. Bob McCabe walking through the hallway. He is most likely smiling and talking to the children, or taking photographs of the students for his yearly end of the year slideshow. Fr. Bob will welcome anyone of any age into St Pius. Not only to be their priest, but to be their friend.
Fr. Bob came to St. Pius in 2008, when I began kindergarten. He strives to be a role model for the children and adults in the parish. His homilies include personal stories and modern-day examples to help the parishioners get a better understanding of the readings. During school Masses he encourages student involvement in many ways, and many students get excited for Mass.
You can always count on Fr. Bob to say what it is you need to hear, both in prayer or a conversation. He strives to instill faith in everyone, as young as the school’s 3-year-old preschoolers. Fr. Bob works to create a faithful, positive environment in all he does. I am thankful to have grown up in a church with a caring priest like him to help me learn about my faith. You can count on him to say a prayer, take a picture for his slideshows, or just give you a high five. And of course, all of it will be done with a smile.
I have been to several Masses and have met many priests but no one can compare to Fr. Joe Mallia (previously at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park.) I attended Cabrini for seven years, therefore I grew up listening to Fr. Joe. Even before I was old enough to go to Cabrini School, my father and I would go to weekly Mass together and listen to Fr. Joe. I am thankful for him because he spoke to us in a way that was very easy to understand but without making us feel dull. For me, his homilies always seemed like a motivational speech to get up and do better. He never made church seem like a chore, he always made the church feel like a safe place to go to just think and put all of your worries in God’s hands. Fr. Joe is a very approachable priest. Every Thursday we would have a school Mass. After Mass, when we were all settled back in our classrooms, he would take his time and come around to every classroom to ask how everyone was or what we understood from the readings of the day. Having him stop by my classroom always made my day a little better and not just because it was take a quick pause from school work. Sadly, this year he was transferred to a new parish and I hope they treat him as well as we did. He will always be one of the many reasons that I enjoy going to Mass so much.
I am writing on behalf of Fr. Brad Forintos. I am a member of St. Joseph Parish in Trenton. I also attended St. Joseph School during grade school. Our priest is very special to all of us. During school, he would come and eat lunch with the students. He is always a friendly face to be seen walking through the halls. During Mass, he has wonderful homilies. My brother and I have been altar servers with him for eight years. If something needs to be done around the school or church, he is the one that you can always talk to. He is always in a positive, happy mood, and he is always there for each and every one of the parishioners at our Church. One of my favorite memories of him is at our annual Christmas concert. Even in the crowded gymnasium, Fr. Brad can always be seen singing along in the audience. He helps us to grasp a deeper understanding of our faith, regardless of our age.
As a student at Gabriel Richard Catholic High School in Riverview, I am thankful for the various priests that come to our school to celebrate Mass with us on Tuesdays. Fr. Bob McCabe is one priest that comes to us from St. Pius X Parish in Southgate and is someone that I am fortunate to have known. I attended that school for more than eight years while he was the pastor there. Fr. Bob leads our church with a vision and he makes sure it is God’s vision and not his own. He always puts church members before himself and is always compassionate and grateful. Fr. Bob never complains even when his work weeks can be quite long. His days off and vacation days will sometimes be interrupted by crises or deaths, however he knows this is part of his job. He is very supportive of our school and is not unusual to see him attending various sporting events, festivals, fundraisers and concerts. Fr. Bob’s smile would light up the church and was always very warm and inviting and would always make you feel at ease. These are just a few reasons why we are so blessed to have him.
I attend St. Roch Parish in Flat Rock. My priest is Fr. Ray Lewandowski. I am thankful that he is my priest because he is very nice. He is funny and keeps me interested in learning about God. He is always patient and willing to listen to any questions anyone has. This is why I am thankful to have him as my priest.
There’s a man named Fr. Bob McCabe. Most people know him as Fr. Bob at St. Pius X Parish. He has been my priest since I was a little girl. I looked up to him while I was growing up at St. Pius Catholic School until now since I am at Gabriel Richard Catholic School, but he still comes here to say Mass since my school doesn’t have a parish. Personally, I am thankful that Fr. Bob says Mass at Gabriel Richard so I can continue to admire him.
As a member of St. Anastasia Parish in Troy for many years, I’ve been blessed with the spiritual guidance and wonderful personalities of five pastors. Every time one was transferred to another parish, I thought we would never get another as great as the one leaving. Each time I was proven wrong, and this time was no different. For the past two years, we have been blessed with Fr. Steve Wertanen as our pastor, and I can honestly say the same thing. He is always ready for a handshake and/or smile.
We do not have a school connected with the parish, but Fr. Steve has made it a point to make every child of any age feel truly special to him. He has a wonderful way of making them feel comfortable, welcome and important. Making the children feel that way makes the parents and members of the parish feel that way also.
His homilies often include wonderful stories about his dear pets. He is warm and approachable. He impressed me especially during the past Lenten season. He strongly encouraged parishioners to receive the sacrament of penance. He even staged a mock confession so people wouldn’t feel so intimidated by confessing. He also opened up a 12-hour day so people could receive the sacrament regardless of their schedules. I know that made many people feel more at ease about receiving such an important sacrament.
This is the type of priest Fr. Steve is. He truly cares about the people he serves. He will always receive my respect, gratitude and prayers. May God continue to bless him.
St. Anastasia Parish, Troy
Msgr. John Zenz has persisted for many, many years in his prayer life and his vocation to the priesthood. He is faithful and brings us the holy sacraments.
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
Thank you to the many priests who answered the call to help us achieve heaven. I think of them as doctors for our souls. Fr. Fujawa baptized me at St. Michael’s. Fr. Netzel came to our home with a basket of food when we fell on hard times. Fr. Madea and Fr. Tucci were our priests at St. Anne when we had Mass every morning before class in grade school. Fr. Bowers married us in 1978 at St. Irene. Fr. Brock officiated funeral Mass for my father at St. Anne. Fr. Plawecki was an all-around wonderful priest when I lived in Erie and attended St. Joseph. Fr. Kalaj came all the way from Albania to come a priest against all odds; he was also at St. Joseph. Fr. Crotty was a charismatic priest and did healing Masses and St. Anthony. Fr. Hurley hosted and assisted Fr. Crotty. Fr. Gawronski is a humorous man with beautiful homilies at St. Mary Parish in Monroe. Fr. Vileo, we enjoyed his sermons about the Catholic faith at St. Michael in Monroe. Fr. Hartman always knew you by name and honored birthdays and anniversaries after Mass. Easter vigil overwhelmed with many RCIA candidates at St. Roch in Flat Rock. Fr. Cybulski married my brother and his lovely lady Riza and officiated funeral Masses for my brother this year at St. Joseph in Erie. Fr. Burgard, Fr. Bob, Fr. Louie and Fr. John at St. Mary’s are always ready to do whatever it takes to get to know us and teach us Bible study and are holy examples especially for our youth.
Our priests are so valuable and care for our spiritual wellbeing. They are not gods, yet they share our joys and burdens, and for that I am thankful. God bless all our priests, deacons, religious, laypeople and pastors.
Fr. Stan Pachla, pastor of St Veronica Parish in Eastpointe, is truly making a difference in the lives of many. He is very pastoral, knows his parishioners, and reaches out to see that their needs are met. Fr. Stan is also a great shepherd to our Gianna House ministry, which is located in the former St. Veronica Convent. He welcomed us so warmly into this space a few years back, and is so very supportive giving advice and encouragement. He keeps parishioners informed of our ministry through bulletin articles and brings over items they donate into the special box he keeps in the church vestibule for Gianna House donations. Fr. Stan personally lends a hand in many ways, serves on our board, and is present at many of our functions. A greater gift we could not have for our ministry than father’s loving, faithful support.
Sr. Theresa Mayrand, OP
Gianna House interim director, Eastpointe
Fr. David Cybulski has initiated many ways for our parish to grow spiritually, i.e., first Friday Mass, monthly parishioners’ testimonials, healing services on the 13th of each month, Our Lady of Fatima devotions, increased reconciliation opportunities (going so far as having an area for reconciliation at our parish festival, and a street ministry). Fr. David has enthusiastically embraced “Unleash the Gospel” with his homilies and his Sunday letters to parishioners. We are truly blessed to have Fr. David as our pastor.
St. Joseph Parish, Erie
Monroe County, especially the city of Monroe, are truly blessed with priests who take their state in life very devoutly and responsibly. Although I have not met all the priests in the county, from what I view, read about and have contact with, my humblest thank you and sincerity for all that you do! I am a lifelong parishioner of St. Mary Parish in Monroe. I’m 95 years old.
St. Mary Parish, Monroe
Fr. Michael Cremin, SAC, of St. Vincent Pallotti Parish in Wyandotte is by far the greatest priest I’ve ever known. Each Sunday at his Masses he makes everyone feel as if they are so welcome and when he speaks, his sermons are so interesting and a joy to listen to.
When my wife passed, my father-in-law flew in from Seattle to attend his daughter’s funeral. He said it was the most beautiful funeral he’d ever been to and all because of Fr. Michael. My brother-in-law is not a religious person and does not attend church, but after the funeral Mass he said that Fr. Mike makes you want to become Catholic! What a beautiful compliment! That proves what a terrific pastor Fr. Mike truly is. God bless you always, Fr. Michael; we all love you!
St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Wyandotte
I grew up in Michigan and will always be attached to it. Though now I live about a mile from it in Ohio. Fr. Landry was pastor of Our Lady of La Salette grade school in the 1950s. He also taught my high school CCD class with a twinkle in his eyes and a small Bible in his hand. Catholic laypeople weren’t encouraged to read the Bible then. We had a May crowning of Our Lady on the front lawn of the school. First, I had to walk a mile to buy light blue thread for the skirt my mother sewed for me to wear. Midnight Mass was unforgettable with the church lit only by candles as we children processed through it singing. On my first confession, I had a small list of sins written down so I wouldn’t forget them! Who forgets that? Fr. Kenna was the down-to-earth pastor of St. Anthony Church near Temperance. He was so right when I was married there and he commented that marriage was good for companionship. It seemed a strange thing to say but I realized its truth years later when my husband died. I can’t imagine life without these two holy men of God.
When I hear Msgr. John Zenz, the Holy Spirit moves from the ears into my mind, heart and body. The homily reminds me that I am a spiritual being of God’s kingdom — not just any human on the cycle of birth walking to death. The homily Msgr. Zenz shares is organized with Scripture, thought, story, idea of current life and then words to ponder. I always feel it relates personally without fear of being too minor for mature minds and too advanced for youth. Our entire family is able to tune in and connect to the path of God’s will in this present world. Thank you, Msgr. Zenz, for the unconditional love and good news in Masses.
The Agnello family
Holy Name Parish, Birmingham
We are blessed to have Fr. Stephen Rooney and Fr. David Bechill at our parish. My third grade catechism class enjoys talking with them, and I am a better teacher because of their input. As a nurse at the local hospital, I see them at times when we have worked tirelessly to save a life, and they come in and give the sacrament of the sick, (any time, day or night) which oftentimes helps more than anything we can do. They also meet with grieving families at a time when the family is seeking comfort. Sometimes they visit with patients; you wouldn’t believe the difference in the patient’s state of mind that day. We are so very appreciative of Fr. Rooney and Fr. Bechill at River District Hospital. I just want to say thanks for everything they do.
Our Lady on the River Parish, Marine City
We are so blessed at Our Lady on the River Parish in Marine City to have Fr. Stephen Rooney as our pastor. Father is what every priest should strive to be. Fr. Rooney is truthful, holy, devout, religious, humble, kind, helpful and sincere. This is what makes Fr. Rooney so special.
Our Lady on the River Parish, Marine City
Our priest is Fr. David Parsch at Resurrection of the Lord Parish in Standish. We came to a crossroad in our own spiritual journey, while lifelong believers, and began attending Resurrection of the Lord. From day one, we have been blessed by Father’s heart and his care for all people. His homiletical skills in proclaiming the Word of God are excellent. We find ourselves very enriched by friendship with him and having him as our priest. He is so real and approachable yet always challenges us to become all that God sees us as being. We love, respect and appreciate him deeply.
Devin and Yvette Chisholm
Resurrection of the Lord Parish, Standish