Grand Rapids Diocese News

NEWS RELEASE
November 19, 2018

During their Fall General Assembly the U.S. Bishops approved “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love” – A pastoral letter against racism.

The letter asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Because we all bear the image of God, racism is, above all, a moral and theological problem that manifests itself institutionally and systematically. Only a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, will compel change and reform in our institutions and society. It is imperative to confront racism’s root causes and the injustice it produces. The love of God binds us together. This same love should overflow into our relationships with all people. The conversions needed to overcome racism require a deep encounter with the living God in the person of Christ who can heal all division.

This pastoral letter is not the first time the U.S. Bishops have spoken collectively on race issues in the United States; their last pastoral letter on the topic was written in 1979 and entitled“Brothers and Sisters to Us: A Pastoral Letter on Racism in Our Day.” 

You can read the full text of “Open Wide Our Hearts” here.

Educational and parish resources to accompany the letter are also available.

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NEWS RELEASE
November 7, 2018
Contact:
Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications
Phone: 616-551-5629 | 616-307-3474 cell
Email: alaumeyer@dioceseofgrandrapids.org

Amid the clergy sexual abuse scandal, Bishop Walkowiak has received letters from the faithful asking about the welfare of our diocesan seminarians and whether the men currently in formation for the Diocese of Grand Rapids are safe.

Bishop Walkowiak has full confidence in our two seminaries: Saint John Vianney College Seminary at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. He personally spoke with our diocesan seminarians at their convocation in August and told them that they should immediately inform the rectors or our vocations directors of any improper conduct. He emphasized that they would not face any reprisals for coming forward.

Bishop Walkowiak met with the seminarians at Mundelein Seminary on Thursday, Oct. 25 and they all seemed to be in good spirits. He called the rector of Saint John Vianney College Seminary the following day, Oct. 26, and asked about our seminarians. He was assured that they are all doing well.

The rectors of both seminaries have released letters regarding their protocols for keeping seminarians who are on their campuses safe.

Letter from Very Reverend Michael Becker, rector, Saint John Vianney College Seminary.

Letter from Very Reverend John Kartje, rector, Mundelein Seminary.

Additional Resources

Catholic Spirit article, “How do I know my son is safe in the seminary?” referenced in Very Reverend Michael Becker’s letter.

All of this information has been published to the diocesan website. Please share this widely.

NEWS RELEASE
November 2, 2018
Contact:
Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications
Phone: 616-551-5629 | 616-307-3474 cell
Email: alaumeyer@dioceseofgrandrapids.org

Ten men to take first formal step toward becoming permanent deacons

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —  Ten men will be admitted as candidates for the permanent diaconate on Sunday, November 4. This is the first class of permanent deacons for the diocese in 15 years. This rite will take place at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Walkowiak at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, 2510 Richmond St. NW, Grand Rapids, at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The public is invited to this Mass.

During the celebration, Bishop Walkowiak will instruct the men that they are now entering into an important phase of formation where their aptitude and readiness for Holy Orders will be examined. They will then be called forward by name and promise to continue to prepare themselves in mind and spirit for service to the Church.

The men being accepted into the rite of candidacy, and their wives are: Jon and Beth Bowen, St. Joseph Parish, Weare; Dan and Patricia Esch, St. Jude Parish, Grand Rapids; Michael and Fran Hollern, Holy Family Parish, Caledonia; Thu and Hong Le, Our Lady of La-Vang Parish, Wyoming; Donato and Maria Perez, Shrine of St. Francis and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Grand Rapids; Brian and Carmen Piecuch, St. Francis de Sales Parish, Holland; Tom and Cindy Roberts, St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Grand Rapids; José and Carmen Saucedo, St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Wyoming; Greg and Cheryl Sokolowski, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, Belmont; John and Suzette Teeples, Holy Redeemer Parish, Jenison.

The rite of candidacy follows a year-long period of discernment. The men still have three more years of formation until their ordination focusing on the spiritual and human aspects of ministry as well as intellectual and pastoral training.

Deacons are one of three major orders of the sacrament of holy orders, the others are priests and bishops. Deacons may officiate at baptisms, weddings and funerals, read the Gospel and preach at Mass, and help with the canonical process for marriage and baptism, but one of their greatest priorities is service to the poor and marginalized.

The next class of deacons is currently being formed. The deadline for applications is March 2019. Click here to learn more.

The Diocese of Grand Rapids serves more than 191,000 Catholics, 80 parishes and 31 schools in an 11-county area of West Michigan. For additional information visit our website www.dioceseofgrandrapids.org. Connect with the diocese on Facebook(Diocese of Grand Rapids), Twitter (@GRDiocese), and Instagram (@GRDiocese).

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October 30, 2018

Bulletin Announcement – National Vocation Awareness Week (Long Form)

This week, Nov. 4-10, the Church in the United States celebrates National Vocation Awareness Week, a special time for parishes to foster a culture of vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life through prayer and education, and to renew our prayers and support for those considering one of these vocations.

Pope Francis, in his message for the 2018 World Day of Vocations, emphasized that it is at the loving initiative of God, and by his personal encounter with each of us, that one is called. God knows each of us better than we know ourselves and recognizes in each of us the sum of our talents and strengths. This means that the vocation to which God is calling each of us is the path that will not only bring us the most happiness, but also will enable us to achieve eternal friendship with Him.

Encourage a young person in your life this week to ask the question, “To what vocation in life is God calling me?” and invite them to listen for the voice of Christ in prayer. Visit dioceseofgrandrapids.org and grpriests.org to learn more.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 2, 2017

Contact:
Annalise Laumeyer, director of communications
Phone: 616-551-5629 | 616-307-3474 cell
Email: alaumeyer@dioceseofgrandrapids.org

The Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Office of Communications relays the following statement from
Bishop David J. Walkowiak in response to the deadly shooting in Las Vegas:

“Along with the faithful of the Diocese of Grand Rapids I wish to offer my deepest condolences to everyone affected by the shooting at the country music festival in Las Vegas last evening. We pray for the victims and their families, the wounded, those who were a witness to this terrible tragedy, and the first responders who have been working to save lives.

We cannot comprehend the motive behind this attack which now stands as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. All we can do is turn to our Lord in prayer during this difficult time and ask God to console the grieving and support the suffering.

During this Respect Life Month, we continue our work in realizing the inherent dignity of all men and women. Every life is precious.”

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