CSA 2018

Your Gifts Make a Difference

CSA gifts allow people to grow with Christ throughout our Archdiocese. Our gifts ensure others also know the Lord through the ministries, programs, and services the CSA funds in the six counties of our Archdiocese.

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Through the Parish Empowerment Fund (PEF)

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St. Jude Food Pantry

A CSA-funded Parish Empowerment Fund grant helps ensure as many as 30 families a week have the basic necessities so many of us take for granted. They receive food, clothing, and personal items from the St. Jude Food Pantry, allowing the parish “to remain a strong Catholic presence and a beacon of hope on the east side of Detroit,” says Lynn McEachin, director.

The Parish Empowerment Fund encourages parishes, or groups of parishes, to initiate or enhance evangelization efforts in their neighborhoods. Last year, more than $600,000 in Parish Empowerment Fund grants were available to vicariates and parishes like St. Jude, which has been a recipient for 15 years.

“There is a need for food pantries such as ours to help those who otherwise may go without,” Lynn says. While the St. Jude Food Pantry serves some families regularly, others seek assistance only during the holidays. At Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, they receive all the ingredients needed to make a special meal at home, including turkey, ham, or chicken. “These families tell us they can make it through most weeks, but the holidays put an extra pinch in their budget,” she adds.

The Parish Empowerment Fund also provides tuition assistance to lay people for training and certification in all aspects of pastoral ministry through the Institute for Ministry Sacred Heart Major Seminary. These scholarships are awarded to practicing Roman Catholics who are volunteers or paid staff members in urban, suburban, and rural parishes that meet established criteria.

Catholic High School League

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Mary Laney, Divine Child's girls basketball head coach

Mary Laney is thankful for CSA gifts, which support the Catholic High School League, as they allow her to focus on coaching Dearborn Divine Child’s girls’ basketball team and guiding her athletes to have a humble spirit and be gracious in victory and in defeat. “We pray prior to practices and competitions,” Mary says. “We take time to reflect and think, to grow with Christ.”

Established in 1926, the Catholic High School League focuses on teaching young men and women Catholic values through 19 sports, molding them into disciples of Christ. It is the largest Catholic sports league in the United States, with 27 private high schools and more than 9,000 student-athletes throughout southeast Michigan. 

Sports allow teenagers to work together toward a common goal and, in the Catholic High School League, do so in a faith-based environment, Mary says. “I don’t think people realize the value of the life lessons you get from athletics and how character building they are. I was fortunate enough to have coaches with strong moral character who taught me.”

Mary incorporates Christian service opportunities into the basketball season, ensuring athletes learn how to be role models for others. “How can we serve others?” she asks herself and her team. “It’s not all about us.”

In addition to the Catholic High School League, the CSA funds training for Catholic school teachers in health and safety programs as well as provides schools with important equipment, such as portable defibrillators. 

Through the Permanent Diaconate

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Dcn. Casnovsky's ordination

Deacon Dave Casnovsky first felt the stirrings of a vocation as a 12-year-old farm boy, but many years would pass before he discerned the Lord was calling him to serve as a permanent deacon. “Every now and then, at different times, it would just come back to me,” he says. With the support of his wife, Patsy, and his family, he spent five years in diaconate formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and was ordained to the permanent diaconate in October 2017.

The CSA supports men studying for the permanent diaconate and funds the work of the archdiocesan Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life and the Permanent Deacon Formation Team, which coordinate diaconal ministry and formation. Single or married men over the age of 35, who have demonstrated faith, service, and leadership in their parish communities, are eligible to be ordained as deacons. They must share in the contemporary Church’s mission and seek to grow in understanding, as well as in holiness.

The Archdiocese of Detroit is blessed to have 220 of these holy men who play an important role in the life of the Church. They are assigned to parishes or at hospitals and colleges as chaplains. 

Deacon Dave now serves at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, where he assists the celebrant at Mass by proclaiming the Gospel and preaching homilies, and performs various other ministries. “The key that I see in my ministry is not only growing with Christ through an ongoing process of conversion, but taking that joy and that peace to the world, spreading the good news, and personalizing Jesus for others.”

Black Catholic Ministries

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Mass of the Sacred Heart at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

When Archbishop Vigneron commissioned Keir Ward to compose a Gospel-style Mass, the renowned Detroit musician turned to prayer — and the composition flowed. “This is the Holy Spirit at work,” he sensed.

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Mass of the Sacred Heart debuted at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in January during the Mass for Peace, with Keir playing the organ as he does at Sacred Heart Parish in Detroit. “As it was happening, all I could say was, ‘To God be the glory.’”

A CSA-funded Black Catholic Ministries effort to bring the people and parishes of the Archdiocese together, Mass of the Sacred Heart will soon be published and available to dioceses across the country. In the meantime, Keir is working with music ministers to share his work locally. “The Archbishop explained to me that black Catholic worship is a gift to our Church, and that we are to use all our gifts that we have,” he says. “I was just glad to be a part of it.”

Established in 1971, the Office of Black Catholic Ministries was the first of its kind in North America. It focuses on evangelization and the certification of lay ministers, provides worship, education, and community services, and also serves as a resource for archdiocesan offices. The office is vital to ensuring the Archdiocese meets the needs of African American Catholics.

Sacred Heart Major Seminary and Vocations

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David Pellican studying at Sacred Heart Major Seminary

It was during a quiet moment in front of the Eucharist that David Pellican had a clear sense that God was calling him to the priesthood. “He wasn’t telling me to be his priest, but he was asking, ‘Will you do this for me?’ I couldn’t say no to him,” he recalls. 

After speaking with his pastor at Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit, David attended a discernment overnight and then a weekend at Sacred Heart Major Seminary offered through the Office of Priestly Vocations. “At that weekend, I could finally say, ‘Yeah, I could see myself being here as a seminarian,’” he says.

Thanks to gifts to the Catholic Services Appeal, the Office of Priestly Vocations provides many opportunities for men to better understand how the Lord is calling them. Besides discernment overnights and weekends at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, the office hosts discernment days for junior high students, regional “Cultivating the Call” gatherings, and Evening Prayer and a vocation dinner with Archbishop Vigneron. It also provides outreach to parishes and schools and vocations literature, brochures, and prayer cards.

After six years ago of formation, David is now two years from being ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit. He is grateful that CSA donors have supported him in his discernment and his studies, allowing the seminary to “open the door to a deeper relationship with Christ.”

Mass for Shut-ins

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Bev Ohlrich at her home, watching the Mass for Shut-ins

Bev Ohlrich began watching the Mass for Shut-ins in 1987, the year she spent in a body cast following back surgery. “It gave me hope that I was going to get out of that bed, and out of that cast,” she says. “I promised that if I was able to recover fully, I would do something with that gift.” 

And she has: For nearly 20 years, Bev has served as a lector for the televised Mass, helping bring the Word of God to as many as a million Catholics who are unable to fulfill their Sunday obligation at their home parish because of illness, infirmity, or advanced age. The Archdiocese began broadcasting the Mass for Shut-ins on the radio in 1921 and on television in 1949, and thanks to the CSA, it is currently aired each Sunday on the Catholic Television Network of Detroit (CTND) and Detroit’s WJBK-Fox 2.

Joining together in prayer with the larger communion of faith here helps those who are isolated feel connected to our local Church. “They don’t feel so alone,” says Bev, a member of St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families Parish in Warren. “It puts a smile on their face.”

As a longtime volunteer at a local nursing home, she finds residents enjoy seeing priests they know and familiar faces like hers on the Mass for Shut-ins, and are thrilled to connect with other viewers. At her parish, she is often surprised to learn fellow parishioners watch the Mass for Shut-ins before coming to Mass. “It gives you another viewpoint, seeing the Mass again,” she says. “They listen to the readings, and so when they go to church, they get more out of it.”

Right of Christian Initiation for Adults

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Steve Hill teaching RCIA at St. Patrick Church in White Lake

Since Steve Hill married his wife, Christina Chill-Hill, at St. Patrick Church in White Lake 19 years ago, he has attended Mass regularly, volunteered at parish activities, and helped raise their children in the faith. But this Easter Vigil, he will fully join his family at Mass for the first time after receiving the sacraments and being brought into communion with the Catholic Church. “If I turn around after I’m done taking the Eucharist and see my son and my daughter smiling at me, that’s going to make it all worthwhile,” he says.

Steve prepared to become a member of the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). After classes, he would sit down with his wife, who was also his sponsor, and share all he had learned.

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Because of the CSA, the yearlong RCIA program is offered at no cost to catechumens, who seek entry into the Church through baptism, and candidates, baptized Christians who wish to become Catholic. This Easter, 837 people entered the Church in the Archdiocese: 313 catechumens, 360 candidates (Christians baptized in another denomination) for full communion, and 164 Catholic candidates (Catholics who were baptized but not confirmed).

Scott Weickel, an RCIA catechist at St. Patrick and a beneficiary of the CSA-funded RCIA many years ago, feels a special calling to bringing others to the faith through the program and sharing his own journey to Catholicism. “Once I came to understand the beauty and the truth that the Church has, I just had to share it,” he says.

He cannot recall an Easter vigil when he did not cry. “For me, working with a group of people every year who make that journey and come to that point where they’re making their sacraments is exciting,” he says. “It takes me back every time to that first time I received the Eucharist in the Church.”

Youth and Hispanic Ministry

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Youth Ministry at Holy Redeemer

Through praise and worship, southwest Detroit teens are being introduced to Christ at Most Holy Redeemer Parish’s youth ministry program. “Once they have some encounter with God, they want to keep going for more and more,” says Horacio Bautista, one of the parish’s youth group leaders. “It’s like a little root gets planted in them, then starts growing as they keep progressing in their faith.”

CSA gifts ensure parish youth ministers have the resources they need to foster the spiritual and personal growth of our youth, empowering the future of our Church to become disciples of Jesus Christ and actively witness their faith. Holy Redeemer leaders also look to CSA-funded Hispanic Ministries to further connect their teens with their faith and community through conferences and retreats.

“It’s definitely a great feeling knowing that people care about the ministries,” Horacio says. “When they donate to the CSA, they also apply their prayers to the ministries in the Archdiocese, and prayer is powerful.”