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New Coordinators of Family Life/Respect Life Ministry


Bishop Bernard A. Hebda is pleased to announce the Diocese has reestablished a Family Life/Respect Life office and that Marie Hahnenberg and Seth Peters have joined the diocesan staff to coordinate that ministry. The two will work part-time within the Diocesan Secretariat for Faith Development, collaborating with the Secretariat’s Director, Dannie Brzezinski, and with other members of the Diocesan Staff to assist leadership and laity in their ministry to families and to promote a culture of life in our diocese.

Hahnenberg and Peters have worked together before; as students at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids (Class of 2003), they had partnered to start a Christian Fellowship Bible Study on campus, aimed at helping their peers grow in their relationship to Christ and His Church. More recently, they have collaborated to extend Catholic ministry to young adults throughout Northern Michigan.

Hahnenberg.jpgMarie Hahnenberg graduated from St. Mary School in Lake Leelanau in 1998 and brings great enthusiasm as well as national experience from working in the pro-life movement in the Washington, D.C area. After returning to the Diocese of Gaylord, she served as Development Director for St. Mary School for nearly two years before accepting a position as Catechetical Leader at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord this fall. Hahnenberg also serves on the Diocesan Vocations Awareness Committee, particularly working with women who are discerning their vocation and leads the Mystical Rose Daughters of Faith group for girls in 7th-12th grades.

Hahnenberg has been educated in the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, a form of Natural Family Planning, and is a member of the Respect Life Board of Directors in Traverse City. She has a great interest in Blessed John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” and received training through the Theology of the Body Institute, sharing that gift with various groups.

“I am excited for this great opportunity to help educate others on the dignity of the human person and help build the culture of life in Northern Michigan,” Hahnenberg said.

Peters2.jpgSeth Peters has been eager to serve the Diocese of Gaylord since he moved here from Grand Rapids with his family in 2010. He and his wife Amy were married at St. Mary Cathedral in 2008. Amy is in her third year of teaching at All Saints Catholic School in Alpena and Seth began teaching Religion to 1st-8th graders this fall. They have two young children, Rita-Marie (age 3) and Blaise (age 1).

“We have been involved with marriage prep since we moved,” said Peters, “and we feel called to witness to engaged couples the joy of authentically living for Christ as two in one flesh.” Already experienced with the symptom-thermal method of Natural Family Planning, they were trained by the Diocese of Gaylord this past summer as instructors in the Family of Americas ovulation method of fertility awareness.

Peters shares the commitment to Christ’s call to respect the dignity of all human life and has served in two cities as Vigil Coordinator for 40 Days for Life campaigns of prayer & fasting for an end to abortion. He has also ministered to adults with mental illness and youth with autism in his career, as well as volunteering with hospice.

Hahnenberg and Peters have begun contacting the parishes throughout the diocese to introduce themselves, receive input and offer their support. Additionally, they are also reviewing the diocesan pre-marriage programs. They may be reached by calling the diocesan offices at 989.732.5147 and via email to or .


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