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Bishop Issues Decree Renaming Manistee Parish


Episcopus Gaylordensis
Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia
Renaming of the Parish
Catholic Community of Manistee to Divine Mercy

The Divine Mercy has long been the characteristic that draws us to God, and for which humans most long. The horrors of the 20th Century gave rise to a renewed understanding of the tremendous need that we have for God’s love as a response to our suffering. In the midst of the great upheavals of modern society, and the rising tide of secularism and indifference, God raised up St. Faustina Kowalska and gave to her the charism of Divine Mercy (no. 3 Homily for the Canonization of Sr Mary Faustina Kowalska, April 30, 2000). In this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, a gift of our Holy Father Pope Francis not only to the Catholic Church, but to the whole world, it is fitting that this devotion be honored within the Diocese of Gaylord by giving this title to a Parish. It is my sincere hope and desire that, in this way, the Catholic Community of Manistee (comprised of the Guardian Angels, St. Joseph and St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Shrine Churches) can be a beacon of mercy and hope to the people of Northern Michigan and that from the shores of the River Manistee there may burst forth an evangelizing force of Mercy and of Love.

St. John Paul II in his second Encyclical letter admirably expressed the contemporary state of humanity as follows:

The truth, revealed in Christ, about God the "Father of mercies," (2 Cor. 1:3) enables us to "see" Him as particularly close to man especially when man is suffering, when he is under threat at the very heart of his existence and dignity. And this is why, in the situation of the Church and the world today, many individuals and groups guided by a lively sense of faith are turning, I would say almost spontaneously, to the mercy of God. They are certainly being moved to do this by Christ Himself, who through His Spirit works within human hearts. (Rich in Mercy 2.)

Pope Benedict XVI reminds us of the way that God’s mercy is the heart of our faith, the basis of our joy and of our actions in life:

The Spirit of Jesus Christ is the power of forgiveness. He is the power of Divine Mercy. He makes it possible to start all over again - ever anew. The friendship of Jesus Christ is the friendship of the One who makes us people who forgive, the One who also forgives us, raises us ceaselessly from our weakness and in this very way educates us, instils in us an awareness of the inner duty of love, of the duty to respond with our faithfulness to his trust. The Lord took his wounds with him to eternity. He is a wounded God; he let himself be injured through his love for us. His wounds are a sign for us that he understands and allows himself to be wounded out of love for us. These wounds of his: how tangible they are to us in the history of our time! Indeed, time and again he allows himself to be wounded for our sake. What certainty of his mercy, what consolation do his wounds mean for us! And what security they give us regarding his identity: "My Lord and my God!". And what a duty they are for us, the duty to allow ourselves in turn to be wounded for him! God's mercy accompanies us daily. To be able to perceive his mercy it suffices to have a heart that is alert. We are excessively inclined to notice only the daily effort that has been imposed upon us as children of Adam. If, however, we open our hearts, then as well as immersing ourselves in them we can be constantly aware of how good God is to us; how he thinks of us precisely in little things, thus helping us to achieve important ones. (Mass of Thanksgiving in Remembrance of the Pope’s 80th Birthday, 15 April 2007.)

God is so loving and kind that his mercy and forgiveness go far beyond anything that we could dare to hope. When Pope Francis took possession of the Lateran Basilica, which providentially was on Divine Mercy Sunday, he had the following message:

This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us. (Papal Mass for the Possession of the Chair of the Bishop of Rome, 7 April 2013.)

Having received from Reverend Richard Schaeffer, your Administrator, the acts of the meetings of the Pastoral and Finance Councils, and knowing that after prayer and consultation, the decision has been made to rename the parish Divine Mercy, according to the norm of Canon 1218, and the faculty granted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. 329/99/L) I hereby declare that the Parish currently known as the Catholic Community of Manistee shall be known as Divine Mercy Parish starting the weekend of November 27, 2016, the First Sunday of Advent and beginning of the new Liturgical Year. The three churches which comprise the Parish shall retain their names.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding. 

I direct that this decree be given to the pastoral leadership of the parish, and that its contents, especially the dispositive part of this decree, be communicated to parishioners at all of the Masses the weekend of Saturday October 29-Sunday October 30, 2016. I further direct that this decree be published on the website of the Diocese of Gaylord ( which will be presumed to be the official notification of this action.

Given at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Gaylord on this 22nd day of October, in the year of our Lord, 2016, the memorial of St. John Paul II.

+Steven J Raica
Bishop of Gaylord


Fr Matthew Wigton


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