Category Archives: News

Middle School Youth Group

Middle School youth group has an opportunity to attend a special session with Fr. Leo Patalinghug in Gaylord on Wednesday, September 20th from 9am until 2pm. He is the author of the book: Grace Before Meals and an awarding winning chef. St. Mary Middle School students and other middle school students around the Diocese will get together for a day of fun, laughter, discussion on our Faith and fellowship with one another. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mrs. Mary Plude at 547-6652 ext. 13.

Children’s Faith Formation, Grades 1-5

Faith formation for our parish children, Grades 1st through 5th , will begin on September 20th at 6pm. The class are for one hour each Wednesday. Registration forms are available through the religious education office or at the church entrances. It is important that are children continue their formation before, during and after they have received the Sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Communion. Parents and the parish need to work together to ensure that our children continue to grow and be nurtured in the Faith throughout their developmental years. Please contact Mrs. Mary Plude if you have any questions: 547-6652 ext. 13.

Update on the Sacrament Program for Children

Throughout the last few years the diocese has been reshaping the children’s sacrament program. For the last 15 years the children have been receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation and Holy Communion by the age of 7-8 years old using a 2 year program. Last spring was the last time this program was being used in our diocese. All parishes have converted to a 3 year program.
1st year: Will be the same, Faith formation classes.
2nd year: Faith formation classes plus sacramental classes for Reconciliation.
3rd year: Faith formation plus sacramental classes for Confirmation and Holy Communion. So this means that the children will be receiving Confirmation and Holy Communion at 3rd grade or above. The children who are beginning their formation at 4th grade and above will be included in a Rite of Christian Initiation program set for their age level and the sacraments they still need to receive. So what does this mean for the parish of St. Mary’s? We were one of the last ones to convert to this 3 year program, so this year there will be offered only Reconciliation to our 2nd year faith formation students. That means that this spring there will be no Confirmation or First Holy Communion for our children. The only children that will receive these 2 sacraments will be the children 4th grade and above who are in the RCIA program. They will be received into the church at the Easter Vigil this spring. We hope that this will bring about a greater understanding and love for the Mass, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist.

Northern Michigan Catholic Foundation St. Mary School Endowment & Parish Charity Funds

Many St. Mary parishioners experience feelings of great reward in making a variety of donations which benefit our parish and Catholic school. The Northern Michigan Catholic Foundation (NMCF), offers endowment-based options for those who want to consider a gift “that keeps on giving”. These include the St. Mary School Endowment Fund as well as the St. Mary Charity Fund. Donors can contribute to a specific fund which can benefit the St. Mary School tuition assistance program or the new St. Mary’s fund set up to provide a charitable helping hand to others for disaster relief, community outreach and more. These funds are professionally managed with investments that meet specific Catholic-based guidelines approved by the Bishop, and only interest and gains are paid out (twice annually) to our school or parish. The original donation remains intact to generate future gains for years to come. If you would like more information on these giving opportunities, you can contact Fr Peter or John Doskoch, NMCF board member, at (231) 675-7688.

The Northern Michigan Catholic Foundation is pleased to announce the latest annual results for the St Mary School Endowment Fund, fiscal year ending 6/30/2017. This fund provides support to families in need of tuition assistance for their children to attend our school. The fund held a balance of $104,714 on 7/1/2016, received contributions during the year totaling $11,971, and earned $11,794 in capital gains and interest over the past 12 months. $1961 was paid out, and the fund held a total of $126,518 as of 6/30/2017. The investment markets were very generous providing us with a 10.1% return during this period, and although we’d like to see this level of investment return every year, realistically we expect future returns to be more modest in keeping with the fund’s investment principal preservation with moderate growth goal. We’d be pleased to provide more information about the foundation and this fund (or the St Mary’s Charity Fund) if you are interested. Donations are always greatly appreciated, both in cash or securities, or perhaps as a legacy gift in your will or trust.

Walking Toward Eternity: Daring to Walk the Walk

Is it time for a change? Walking Toward Eternity is an inspiring series designed to help you live your faith more fully by developing and nurturing characteristics that are essential to the Christian life. Through daily prayer and meditation with Scripture, you will be drawn into an intimate and life-changing encounter with Christ. As you prayerfully reflect on God’s Word, you will begin to hear the subtle ways God is speaking to you, and you will be challenged to set aside those things in your life that keep you from growing closer to him. By putting the fruits of your study into practice, you will be able to make real changes in your life, changes that will make you more like the person God created you to be. Daring to Walk the Walk, the first series of Walking Toward Eternity, introduces seven key virtues and outlines practical steps for living them out in your life. This series will be offered beginning in October and will last for 8 weeks. We are looking to start several small groups who can meet on a weekly basis. Times can vary from daytime to evening sessions. Sign up is until September 24th so materials can be ordered. The cost will be $16 for the journal. We will also be able to offer a remote class for those who are traveling to the warmer climates this fall. Ask Mary in the religious office for this possibility.

Ave Maria University Seeking Volunteer Football Scouts

Do you enjoy high school football? Would you like to help young Catholic men have an opportunity to attend an authentic Catholic university and play football? If so… Ave Maria University (AMU) could use your help! AMU is developing a scout network in Michigan to help identify Catholic football players from all schools (public / private / Catholic) in this area. Generous scholarships are available. For more details, please contact Dr. Gary Jackson, Michigan Scout Coordinator, at or 734-516-9615.

Surviving Divorce–Helping you find peace, power, and passion after your divorce.

Surviving Divorce was created to bring hope and healing to those who have experienced the pain and loneliness of a broken marriage. It is for the newly separated and divorced and those still struggling with issues many years later. It will help them find answers to their questions, restore hope, and begin authentic healing. Developed and hosted by Rose Sweet, Surviving Divorce features experts Dr. Ray Guarendi, Ph.D., Fr. Donald Calloway, M.I.C., Fr. Steve Porter, S.T.I., Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J., and Christopher West. It also includes personal testimonies of Catholic men and women who have experienced the breakdown of their families. They courageously share their stories with heart, humor, and wisdom. As they witness to their pain and the healing power of Christ in their lives, participants will laugh, cry, and identify with their journeys from heartache to healing. Dates/Times/Location:
Cooney Conference Center/Diocesan Center
611 W. North Street, Gaylord
Every Tuesday, 6-7 p.m. for 12 weeks Starting Sept. 12, 2017
Registration: Miriam Stoloque-Handrich ( 989-732-5432 $20 total
For More Information:
Miriam Stoloque-Handrich   (
or Michael Vickory  (mike@michaelvickory)

Surviving Divorce will help you:
• Work through the emotional upheaval of separation and divorce.
• Find personal healing and hope.
• Discover a deeper understanding of God’s love for you.
• Gain Wisdom and comfort from experts and others who share your experiences.
• Navigate new concerns like custody, court hearings and finances.

Volunteers Needed–Youth Groups, Health Ministry, Music and Servers

Eucharistic Ministers, Altar Servers and Lectors
We are looking for additional servers for each of the Masses.  Even if you are here seasonally, we can use the extra help.  Training takes about an hour depending on experience with the duties.  Please contact the Parish Office to set up a training session.

There is a need for more cantors, choir members and instruments to fill out our 3 choirs at the weekend Masses. The choirs meet on Tuesday evenings at 6pm in the choir loft for practice.

Blood Pressure Screening
Did you know there is a way to serve our parish as a health care professional?  Blood pressure checks are offered after all of the Masses the first full weekend of each month.  Volunteers are always welcome, and needed, and it is a wonderful way to share your skills with your fellow parishioners.  If you are interested in this ministry, please contact Tricia Drenth, 231-622-1683.

Faith Formation/Youth Ministry Teachers
We are looking to staff our children’s faith formation program, middle school and high school youth groups.  If you enjoy working with youth, we need your help to continue to build the faith in our young people.  Those who are 18 years or older are needed to help fill out our staff.  We meet once a week for 1-1.5 hours, depending on the program.  The Youth Ministry will include some weekend time for community service projects and youth events in the diocese.  Even if you are unable to commit full time, we could still use teachers once or twice a month. Please pray if you are being called to  help our parish in this ministry.

Join Fr. Peter Wigton on Pilgrimage to Fatima, Santiago and Lourdes

October 16-25, 2017

Come visit the Marian Shrines during the Centennial Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima!  This 10 day pilgrimage includes roundtrip airfare (from Detroit); Daily Mass; professional Catholic tour manager. Highlights include: Fatima Shrine, Coimbra, Santiago de Compostela, Burgos, Lourdes and more.  The cost is $3,699.  Space is limited.  Call Corporate Travel, 313-565-8888, ext 121; or visit us online at for more details & reservations.

Brochures are at the Church Entrances

Fatima Lourdes brochure

Hand Hygiene

The Health Ministry Committee has discussed the importance of reducing the risks of infection and promoting tips for staying healthy.  We have suggestions for your consideration:
1) If you have symptoms of respiratory illness or flu, we encourage you to stay home and recover.  You do not want to be responsible for spreading your illness.
2) Many of our parishioners are at risk for contagious conditions.  If you are concerned about the hand shake spreading unwanted germs that is understandable.  You do not need to shake hands or feel apologetic about not shaking hands, a warm smile and your words of “peace be with you” is all you need to do.
3) If you have symptoms of potentially contagious conditions, receive the Eucharist at Communion and bow at the Precious Blood as you return to your seat.