Christmas Food Basket Distribution 2016

Food Baskets will be distributed on Saturday December 10th between 9 and 11 a.m. To accomplish this we rely on much needed help from all our parishioners. This is also a good opportunity for any student who wishes to obtain service points to do so.

food basketStarting Friday, December 9th:
10a.m. –12 noon set up regifting area
2p.m. – 4p.m. sort food for boxes
4p.m. – 6p.m. pack food boxes

Saturday December 10th
8a.m. – 9a.m. drop off turkeys (please bring them frozen) in gym at St. Stephen’s site
9a.m. – 11a.m. distribute food boxes (We help the recipients take their food baskets to their cars and always can use some help with this process.)

If you are interested in helping please just show up and we will put you to work. Any questions please call Barbara Brown at 810-385-6736.

Thanks to all of you who help make this project a success.

Synod ’16 Fuels AOD with Boldness, Unity, and Direction

Synod 2016 logo47 years ago many of us were not even born, or we were a heckuva lot younger. It was also a transition time in our universal Church since it was four years after the conclusion of the Vatican II Council in 1965. But 1969 was the last time our archdiocese came together in a special meeting, called a synod, to dialogue on paradigm-shift changes as to how the archdiocese was to better function in order to serve the needs of believers in our local church of Detroit.

The weekend of Nov. 18th – 20th, 2016 was an opportunity for nearly 360 people represented from all 222 parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit (AOD) to gather once again at another synod, almost fifty years later, which was the 11th overall in the AOD’s history, established back in 1833. To kick off the event synod members processed from the Westin Hotel in Detroit down the block to St. Aloysius Church for Mass where bishops, priests, and lay people recited an Oath of Fidelity, professed the Nicene Creed, and put their hand on the Book of the Gospels. Guided by the Holy Spirit and under the leadership of our shepherd, Archbishop Vigernon, a few hundred people, plus expert advisors and observers came together to intensely discuss and deliberate on four key topics: 1). Individuals, 2). Families, 3). Parishes, and 4). AOD Central Services (the day-to-day operations of the archdiocese in the downtown office). 46 propositions were laid out among the four topics. Then table discussions ensued to decide by a consensus which was the best proposition(s) for each table. Results were tallied, and then all would reconvene in the large ballroom to discuss the results of each proposition. Random spokespeople from some of the tables would share their insights in front of everyone which included the reasons why certain propositions were chosen over others.

Three people from our parish were represented. Dcn. Dennis Crimmins, Rebecca Sweet, and I (Fr. Jeff) were blessed to be involved in the three-day event. Though there was a pledge of confidentiality given at our tables, I am able to share some of the themes drawn out from our weekend as well as some points that Abp. Vigneron mentioned in his homilies and synod remarks to focus on the future of the AOD. There was a heavy emphasis on evangelization as well as on other themes like hospitality, communication, resources, overcoming racism, an encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ, Catholic Schools, among others. In one of his comments, the archbishop said, “the wounds of shame (e.g. communal or personal sin, like racism) can become the wounds of glory.” He asked the synod members to view the small group tables as a sign of the Eucharistic table. He went on to talk about changing the very DNA of how our local church functions. In addition, the archbishop spoke about evangelization being personal and mentioned that our participation in the work of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. He also wants us to be aware of and involved in the “movements” of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Third Order Franciscans), for example.

A few statistics have already been published in a three-part, “Synod 16 Edition” by the Michigan Catholic which gave us helpful feedback on some of the topics. In terms of individuals and families, Saturday’s session asked members to identify one of two specific projects for Archdiocesan Central Services to pursue. Out of forty-six tables who cast votes, 56.5% (26 votes) voted for the proposition that stated: “Envision and develop a plan for ongoing human and spiritual formation for all stages of life (e.g. children, youth, adults and seniors).” 43.5% (20 votes) were cast for the proposition, “Envision and develop processes for sacramental preparation, and for marriage preparation in particular, modeled after the practices and phases of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and focusing of conversion to a life of missionary discipleship, catechesis on the sacrament, small group dynamics, mentoring and ongoing formation.”

In terms of the topic on parishes, synod members were asked to come up with a proposition from each of the sub categories: Parish Culture, Parish Functions (Pray, Invite, Connect, Mentor, Send), and Parish Leadership. In Parish Culture, 48.9% (22.5 votes) agreed with the proposition, “Build a culture of personal encounter with Jesus that permeates every aspect of parish life and that leads to a loving encounter of our neighbor.” On the topic of Parish Functions, 26% (12 votes) went with the proposition, “Equip, empower, and support individuals and families in mission (e.g. evangelization, social and economic transformation, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy).” In Parish Leadership 39.2% (18 votes) supported the proposition, “Establish pastoral leadership teams as a normative practice, where team members develop shared responsibility ad accountability both to the vision of the archbishop and the mission of the parish. Extend the same team dynamics and practices to all parish and/or school staff.”

It was also mentioned by Abp. Vigneron and Cardinal Maida about how well we all wish Bp. Byrnes (now Abp. Byrnes) in his new endeavor to serve the people on the island of Guam in the south Pacific knowing the major leadership role he played in preparing us for this synod over the past two years. To sum it up, Abp. Vigneron reiterated the call for all of us to be a band of joyful missionary disciples! The archbishop did say that once all of the feedback has been compiled, and he has reflected on what has been shared, he will have a document published, what he called, an “account” that will be made public to the people of the archdiocese by Pentecost (June 3rd, 2017) to set a new course of direction for the AOD.

It was truly a blessing to see people collaborate well at their small tables knowing that every voice was heard. There was also a sense of bold confidence, unity and direction that came out of this weekend, which I am very excited about… something to look forward to in the coming months and years… Stay tuned, keep praying to the Holy Spirit, and discover how you can make your mark in becoming a joyful missionary disciple in our Church. In conclusion, the archbishop said, “the synod is God’s gift.” It was a gift, and I’m quite confident it will be a gift that will keep on giving for the next 50 years +/-. There is much to be thankful for, especially for the gift of synod 2016. Happy Thanksgiving!

Guided and Inspired by The Holy Spirit,
Fr. Jeff

Watch The Face of Mercy This Sunday Afternoon!

Jim Caviezel

Actor, Jim Caviezel

On Sunday, Dec. 4th, 2016 the Old Town Church Tour and Open House will take place from 1 – 3pm which will be an opportunity for us to visit and see the unique and historic architecture of 11 beautiful churches in the Port Huron area. Trolley Transportation will start at Our Savior Lutheran. The address is 1029 6th St.

But also on that same afternoon, another event will take place right in your own homes. A Knights of Columbus – produced documentary, The Face of Mercy, will be televised. This documentary has been chosen for distribution on ABC TV affiliated stations (WXYZ – channel 7 in our area) through a partnership with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC). It will air on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4th, 2016 at 2pm. The narrator of the show will be Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in The Passion of The Christ and who has recently played a large role in the show, Person of Interest. Testimonies from the film, The Face of Mercy, will be given by Immaculee Ilibagiza, Det. Stephen A. McDonald, Eric Mahl, Fr. Don Calloway, Jennifer Trapuzzano, and Frater Matthew Desme. This is very timely considering that the “Year of Mercy” in our Church concluded on Nov. 20th. For more information go to

This is a win-win situation as both events will be a blessing to experience. Enjoy!

In The Merciful Jesus,
Fr. Jeff

Advent Reconciliation Services

Each year, during the seasons of Advent and Lent, our Blue Water Vicariate schedules three different communal penance services (with individual confession of sins and absolution). These services are intended to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation to as many people as possible.

Services for this Advent are as follows:

Thursday, December 15th, 2016 at St. Stephen Church in Port Huron, MI at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 17th, 2016 at Holy Cross Church in Marine City, MI at 1 p.m.
Please note: there will not be individual confessions at St. Stephen, MI this day.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 at St. Augustine Church in Richmond, MI at 7 p.m.

Paper Ornament Sale to Provide Meals 2016

St Vincent De Paul logoThe Society of St. Vincent dePaul
invites you to purchase a Paper Ornament
after the Masses on
Saturday, December 17, 2016 and
Sunday, December 18, 2016.

St Vincent De Paul ornamentThis simple act of charity will help the
Blue Water Community Food Depot
provide meals for those within our own community.

Your $1.00 donation will provide six meals for our hungry neighbors.

Together we will make a difference in the lives of many!

Thank you for sharing in the Christmas Spirit
of giving right here in our own community!

The League of Catholic Women

The League of Catholic Women invite you to our annual Christmas Luncheon on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at noon at the Black River Country Club in Port Huron Twp. Menu choices are Chicken Alfredo with garlic bread or White Fish with garlic mashed potatoes. Tossed salad, California-blend vegetables, beverage and cheesecake for dessert are included at a cost of $21. Reservations are due by December 5th, 2016 at 810-941-8613 or by mail to H. Casper 3924 Tamarack Dr. Port Huron, 48060. Remember to bring your pajama donation or to give it to a league board member.

Choirs of St. Joseph

By: Sr. Gloria

The Feast of St. Cecelia, patroness of musicians, is on November 22 each year. The Choirs of St. Joseph recognize singers, in increments of five year membership, on the Sunday closest to that date. It’s lovely that that Sunday usually is the Feast of Christ the King, closing a liturgical year.

This year we honored the following:

5 years: Tyler Wessel

20 years: Ginny Donnellon
30 years: Laurie Oldford, Kittie Stommel
45 years – charter members of the St. Joseph Chorale
       Michael Crimmins, Mitzi Crimmins, Florence Mayer,
       Fran Warsalla, Linda Wyllie, Richard Collins,
       Barbara Collins
, accompanist
       Sr. Gloria Korhonen, director

It is a privilege for all of us to share our talents in the creative art of music, for art helps us transcend the ordinary, calling us to greater vision and insights. This includes the assembly, especially as we join in singing during our worship together. Sing to the Lord a new song…..

ADVENT has just begun. Fr. Sal posted on Facebook: “Advent is not simply about the historical birth of Christ and his coming in judgment. It’s about Jesus coming into our lives here and now.”

“COME, LORD JESUS” is not a cry of desperation, but an assured shout of cosmic hope.” Richard Rohr

ADVENT – A TIME OF HOLY WAITING from an Adrian Dominican letter

Knights of Columbus News – December 4, 2016

K of C logoKnights of Columbus
Msgr. E.J. McCormick Council 521

Congratulations to the following October Knights and Family of the Month

Knight of the Month: Michael Bliss for chairing the Knights of Columbus MI tootsie roll drive for the past 20 Years . Thank You Past Grand Knight Mike! For all that you do!

Family of the Month: Bill and Bonnie Gilber for all of their work for the Holy Trinity Parish Chicken Dinner fundraiser. Great Job Bill and Bonnie!

Religious Formation News – November 27, 2016

Peace be with you!

Our official “Holy Year of Mercy” came to an end on Christ the King Sunday! We were going to end this Holy Year with a wonderful presentation by Deacon Dennis on God’s Mercy but we forgot that he would be away at the Synod! Deacon Dennis plans to offer his talk on December 18th, 2016 instead. Mark your calendars and plan to attend!! (More information to come).

While the official year has ended, we know that our mercy and merciful deeds should never come to an end. After all that is how Jesus taught us to live!

This past year knowing that I could not do ALL of the Corporal Works of Mercy well I concentrated on “Bury the Dead” as my main work! I hope that my attendance at someone’s funeral or wake service, a sympathy card sent or phone call made help to ease the suffering of those experiencing the passing of a loved one! It really did not take that much extra time…just a little more thoughtfulness and action on my part.

This year I have decided to make the Corporal Work of Mercy to “Visit the imprisoned” my main focus! I hope to do it well. I have never participated in the Christian Services annual drive for donations of Christmas cards and stamps to give to prisoners to send their families. This year I will.

Our very own Fr. Joe Gagnon offers Mass once a month at the county jail. I hope to attend or participate in some way with this. Deacon John Connors is planning some kind of interaction with the “young wayward men” at Huron House during their rehabilitation. Maybe I can help there? Visiting the men and women imprisoned by their drug/alcohol addiction at Sacred Heart Rehab center (with Deacon Dennis) may be a way for me to fulfill this mercy goal! Or maybe it will just to provide extra prayer and resources/help packets to any of these that will make a difference?

Anyway I’m excited to start my new Mercy endeavor! I’ll let you know in a year how I did. (I also plan to continue this year’s mercy to the deceased as best I can).

Why don’t you join me!! Pick a Corporal or Spiritual Work of Mercy to do well this year then let me know how you did!!

Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the Hungry, Give drink to the Thirsty, Shelter the Homeless, Clothe the Naked, Visit the Sick, Visit the Imprisoned, Bury the Dead.

Spiritual Works of Mercy: Instruct the ignorant, Correct sinners, Advise the doubtful, Show patience, Forgive others, Comfort the afflicted, Pray for the Living and the Dead.

And plan now to attend “The name of God is Mercy” presented by Deacon Dennis Crimmins on December 18th, 2016 from 4 to 6 p.m. in St. Stephen Church!!

God bless your Advent!
Karen Clor – DRE 810-985-9069 or moc.o1524720075ohay@1524720075erneh1524720075petst1524720075s1524720075