Bishop Hebda named Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark

Yesterday I tweeted about it and today it is official! Bishop Bernard Hebda has been named Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark. We'll miss Bishop Hebda in the Diocese of Gaylord and I know many will continue to pray for him in his new diocese.

Here's the official announcement from the Diocese of Gaylord...

His Holiness Pope Francis has named the Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda, shepherd of the Diocese of Gaylord for the past four years, the Coadjutor Archbishop for the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. The Vatican made the announcement on the September 24, 2013 and it was shared in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The appointment is effective immediately. As coadjutor, Archbishop Hebda will assist the current Metropolitan Archbishop John J. Myers in the administration of the archdiocese and will automatically succeed Archbishop Myers upon his retirement, transfer or death.

"Today's news that the Holy Father has named me the Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark brings with it the sadness of having to leave the Diocese of Gaylord," Archbishop Hebda penned in a letter upon being informed of the appointment. "I have come to consider this local Church my home and will find it difficult to leave so many faith-filled parishes, schools and friends. Anything that I know about being a bishop I learned from you—and for that I will be always thankful."

Archbishop Hebda said he has been blessed here, finding the Church of Gaylord a wonderful diocese with "gifted clergy, generous deacons, dedicated Religious women, stellar schools, a tradition of prayerful liturgy, a rich history of cultivating lay leadership, and an exemplary commitment to Christian charity and social justice. What wasn't to love? I would have been happy to spend the rest of my days here laboring in the vineyard at your side," he added.

Read more at the Dicocese of Gaylord

I was able to hear Bishop Hebda preach a few times and always took something away from it. Thanks Be to God for the time we had with Bishop Hebda and many blessings on his new journey!

St. Bernard, Pray for Us!

Parish Road Trip: St. Joseph Bohemian Settlement in Maple City, Michigan

I have to admit that visiting St. Joseph's wasn't much of a road trip. St. Joseph's Bohemian Settlement is located a few miles outside of Maple City, Michigan on County Road 669. It is a true country parish surrounded by farmland and currently there is a yak farm next door and a llama farm across the road. I've been able to attend Mass here a few times and this particular Mass had a special visitor, Bishop Hebda. My oldest son was one of the altar servers and he was both excited and nervous once he heard the news.

I was trying to find some info out about the history and found a link at with some information including the following...

St. Joseph's was constructed in 1884 by Bohemian settlers in Cleveland Township, Leelanau County and is significant as the only church associated with a Bohemian community known as the Bohemian Settlement. Additionally, it is one of only a few surviving Catholic mission churches associated with Father Ignatius Mrak, an early Catholic missionary. Finally, the church was and still is the only church building in the relatively unpopulated, rural township. St. Joseph served its Bohemian Catholic congregation until 1970 when the parish was merged with a neighboring one and regular services in this building discontinued.

Here's a few photos that, for the most part, turned out...

Mass on May 7th at 7:00 PM

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

Still looking good!

The Beautiful Altar

A closer look at the Altar

Mass with Bishop Hebda and Father Libby

View from the Balcony

After Mass

Historical Marker

Thanks for viewing! As a bonus picture one of the men who helps take care of St. Joseph's took the picture below after Mass of Bishop Hebda, Father Libby, and the altar servers (my son is in the front on the left). A special thank you to him for taking this picture!

Bishop Hebda, Father Libby, and the Altar Servers after Mass

Bishop Hebda named to Executive Board of Caritas Internationalis by Pope Benedict XVI

Just saw this article in my email alerts titled Vatican strengthens oversight of Caritas Internationalis and it has some news about our own Bishop Hebda...

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A Vatican decree established new statutes and norms for Caritas Internationalis, giving Vatican offices, including the Secretariat of State, greater authority over the work of the Vatican-based umbrella group of Catholic aid agencies.

The decree strengthens the roles Vatican offices and the pope play in working with the charity confederation, including naming and approving new board members and approving its texts, contracts with foreign governments and financial transactions.

It also creates a special "support commission" of legal, technical and organizational experts named by the pope to help the organization follow the new norms as well as canon law and the laws of Vatican City State concerning the procurement and distribution of aid, and employment of workers.

At least three members of Caritas' executive board will be papal appointees, and Pope Benedict XVI named U.S. Bishop Bernard A. Hebda of Gaylord, Mich., as one of them.

The general decree -- signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, and approved by Pope Benedict XVI -- was published by the Vatican May 2 and went into effect the same day. At the same time, the new statutes and internal rules of the federation were published on the Caritas website.

You can read the entire article using the link below.

Read Vatican strengthens oversight of Caritas Internationalis at Catholic News Service

Dinner to Benefit the Carmelite Monastery Chapel Renovation

On Friday, May 11th, a benefit titled "Everyone Can Help Build Something Beautiful For God" will take place to help with the renovation of the Carmelite Monastery Chapel. The evening will begin with Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Hebda in the Monastery Chapel at 5:00 pm. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails will follow at the Traverse City Golf & Country Club beginning at 6:00 pm. Dinner will be at 7:00 pm, followed by dessert and an auction at 8:00 pm.

Duncan Stroik Carmelite Monastery

New Chapel Design by Duncan Stroik
Photo courtesy of Kankakee Latin Mass Community

Architect Duncan Stroik will showcase the renovation design at the dinner. Tickets are a $100 donation per person and can be reserved by emailing or by calling 231-645-8276. Email or pick up a brochure at the Monastery to learn more. Donations of all sizes are needed and will be prayerfully appreciated.

Confirmation and First Communion

Our oldest son Luke was confirmed last night and received his First Communion. We're very proud of him and are very blessed to have him become a "Soldier of Christ". The Mass was beautiful with an awesome homily by Bishop Hebda. Luke was also selected to carry up the gifts during Mass. It was a special night for our family. Afterwards Bishop Hebda told Luke that he had made a wonderful choice for his sponsor. Thanks Be to God! St. Nicholas, Pray for Us!

Its not easiest to take pictures in the church, but here's a few I managed to grab!

Before Mass

With Father Libby and Bishop Hebda

With Father Libby, his sponsor Jake, and Bishop Hebda

With Father Libby, his Godparents Aunt Sue and Uncle Al, and Bishop Hebda

With Our Lady and his sponsor Jake

With Our Lady

A special thanks to all of our family and friends that attended! Please keep Luke in your prayers!

Bishop Hebda's 2011 Christmas Message

One of the Advent traditions for our children is placing a piece of straw in a manger when they do extra work, help one of their siblings, or give up something they really want or want to do. As the kids get older we have more and more straw each year and they get more excited about it.

In Bishop Hebda's Christmas Message he talks about a similar tradition...

Each year as Christmas approached, the Sisters would construct a nativity scene out of whatever discarded items they could find and this always included an empty box placed where we would normally put the manger. All during Advent, when no one else was looking, the individual Sisters would put a single piece of straw in the box, representing some act of charity that they had accomplished that day. By the time that the community gathered for Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, the box would inevitably be overflowing with straw signifying the anonymous works of charity that the Sisters had embraced to prepare for the coming of the Christ child.

I’ve often tried to emulate the Sisters’ Advent practice, but more often than not have found my manger lacking in straw. When I mentioned this to the Sisters, they suggested that I broaden the project, inserting a straw not only for each act of charity, but also for each instance of gratitude.

I might have to join the kids next year during Advent as we prepare for Christmas. As we celebrate the Christmas Season it's important to look back with gratitude on the many blessings of the past year and carry that into the new year. Merry Christmas!

Read Bishop Hebda's Christmas Message at The Diocese of Gaylord

Bishop Hebda's 2011 Easter Message

Love our Bishop! Keep Bishop Hebda in your prayers! I saw this on the Diocese of Gaylord website and wanted to share it here.

The following is taken from the Diocese of Gaylord Website.

Bishop Hebda's 2011 Easter Message

I have had the undeserved privilege of celebrating Easter in some of the most famous and important sites in Christendom (St. Peter’s in Rome, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, St. Basil’s in Red Square, St. Patrick’s in New York City, to mention but a few) and in some of the most picturesque spots in the world (in a Baroque Abbey nestled in the Swiss Alps and in a medieval monastery blocked from the world by a parade of cedars, right out of Under the Tuscan Sun).

Yet none of those Easters can compare with the Easter of 2005, spent with my family keeping vigil in a cramped hospital room in Pittsburgh. My Mom was battling for her life, having suffered a severe stroke which prompted a craniotomy on Holy Thursday as the rest of us gathered in the hospital chapel to commemorate Jesus’ Last Supper and, of course, to pray for a successful surgery.

That Good Friday we experienced the reading of the Passion differently, having spent the day in an intensive care unit in which death lingered around every corner. Holy Saturday crept in and we devoured with renewed interest the readings of the Easter Vigil, which promised new and everlasting life to all who choose to follow Christ, and on Easter morning, three generations of Hebdas gathered for Mass around a makeshift altar in that hospital room, joining in song with the Church throughout the world and throughout the ages: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! It was a message that sustained us and gave us hope. Six years later, my Mom has no recollection of that Easter morning but it will always be the one that I remember most.

While two thousand years have passed since that Sunday morning when the faithful women went to take spices to Jesus’ tomb and found that he had risen, the world continues to thirst for Easter hope. In spite of spring snowstorms and economic doldrums , health concerns and budget cuts, that empty tomb in Jerusalem continues to proclaim to the world that nothing—absolutely nothing--is stronger than God's love.

The message is found credible, however, only to the extent that it is seen to have changed the lives of those of us who claim to believe. A life transformed by joy, radiating forgiveness and unwavering compassion, speaks to the essence of Easter much more eloquently than even the most beautiful bonnet or the most intricately decorated egg.

In this year in which the Diocese of Gaylord marks its 40th anniversary, please join me in praying that we might use well the 50 days of the Easter Season to renew our commitment to "know Christ and the power of His Resurrection." Through lives that strive to imitate Jesus’ love and his humble and joy-filled service, may we become credible beacons of hope as we proclaim throughout this portion of the Lord’s vineyard: "Christ is Risen! He is truly Risen!"

Bishop Hebda's 2010 Christmas Message

As Christmas approaches here's a Christmas Message from Bishop Bernard Hebda. Bishop Hebda recently completed his first year as bishop and will be leading Catholics in Northern Michigan as we celebrate the Diocese of Gaylord's 40th Anniversary in 2011. The actual anniversary day is July 20, 2011. Here's a sample of Bishop Hebda's message...

For 18 Christmases, I had the opportunity to join thousands of Romans who wander the streets of their city during the 12 days of Christmas to visit the elaborate nativity scenes that would be erected in each Church. Following the Neapolitan tradition, the nativity scene would normally include not only the stable so familiar to us in the United States, with a smattering of shepherds, angels and kings, but also representatives of everyday Italian life -- the baker, the butcher, the mayor, the barkeep, and perhaps even a few soccer players -- all centered around the newborn king greeting the world from the simplicity of His manger. The message could not be any clearer: while there may have been no room in Bethlehem's inns, the Messiah makes sure that there's always room for everyone at His threshold.

During this Christmas season, let us be thankful for this wonderful shepherd who leads us with courage and grace. Thanks be to God for Bishop Hebda!

Read Bishop's Christmas message: Are we more like the innkeepers or the Lord? in the Charlevoix Courier

Bishop Hebda one of "Four to Watch"

Found this article naming four "up-and-coming" bishops and it included our own Bishop Bernard Hebda. It's part two of Rocco Palmo's Q&A for Michael Sean Winters of NCR's Distinctly Catholic. Here's a excerpt from the article...

Bernard Hebda, 51, bishop of Gaylord: The paper-trail is unusually distinguished, even for an American bishop -- Harvard BA, JD from Columbia Law, JCL from the Gregorian, for 13 years a top-flight Vatican canonist as the #3 official at the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.

Ask the folks back in Pittsburgh, though, and you’re more likely to hear stories of Bernie Hebda doing the “Electric Slide” at parish festivals on return trips to his hometown.

Over the course of his reign, B16’s shown a distinct liking for the Steel City, naming three more of its native sons to head dioceses (for a grand total of seven), sending the native-born former ordinary to the nation’s capital, bringing the energetic, pastorally savvy Bishop David Zubik home in Donald Wuerl’s footsteps... and above all, in Dan DiNardo, giving the Burgh its first-ever native-son to reach the brass ring and don the cardinal’s red hat.

The trend’s been wise -- if you’re rebuilding a bench, Steeler Country’s a great place to start; Eastern enough to boast a strong Catholic ethos, but Midwestern enough to be devoid of the ecclesiastical grandeur that’s only expedited the faith’s epic fall along much of the Amtrak/I-95 corridor. Moreover, Pennsylvania’s western edge prides itself on its down-home sensibility -- and like DiNardo before him, Hebda’s yearning to trade St Peter's for PNC Park became so well-known that, one night a couple years back, a friend in the Canadian hinterlands called with word that “Bernie wants out,” even if the "news" was never a pontifical secret.

It's not hard to see why we are so blessed to have Bishop Hebda in the Diocese of Gaylord.

On a related note, if you're in the Petoskey area tonight, head on over to the Marian Center where Bishop Hebda will be celebrating mass on the Feast of the Archangels. A reception will follow.

Read For the Future, Four to Watch at Whispers in the Loggia

Bishop Hebda delays funds to CCHD pending review

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) does many great things, but it's nice to see Bishop Bernard Hebda join other U.S. Bishops in calling them out.

Bishop Bernard Hebda of Gaylord, Michigan has decided to delay sending funds to CCHD from the 2010 collection while the organization is under review, LifeSiteNews has learned.

Candace Neff, communications director for the Gaylord diocese, emphasized that the bishop has not “discontinued” the collection for CCHD. “A tremendous amount of very important work is accomplished through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development,” she said

“After consulting with a number of advisors Bishop Hebda has decided that for this year (2010), while CCHD’s systems are under review, a donation will not automatically be sent to CCHD from funds donated through the Diocese of Gaylord’s Catholic Services Appeal Campaign,” she said.

Another step in the right direction for our diocese and Catholics everywhere!

Read Michigan Bishop Withholds CCHD Funds at

Oridination to the Priesthood on Saturday, June 12th

Saturday, June 12, Deacon Sylvestre Obwaka and Deacon Gerald Okoli will be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Gaylord by Bishop Hebda at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Also from the Diocese website:

On the eve of the ordination, Bishop Bernard A. Hebda will preside at Vespers for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The service, offered in thanksgiving to Almighty God for the generous response of Deacons Sylvestre and Gerald to the call to serve as a Priest of Jesus Christ in the Diocese of Gaylord and to pray for an increase in vocations, will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 11 at St. Mary Cathedral.

Read more about our two newest priests here.

I hope I can make it!

My Nephews with Bishop Hebda

Here's a picture of my oldest nephews with Bishop Hebda before serving a Holy Hour for vocations at St. Philip Neri in Empire. My sister-in-law said the boys were very honored to serve with Bishop Hebda. I would say they were very excited too!