SAGINAW — The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, announced this weekend that, after prayerful consideration and upon consultation with parish and diocesan staff, including the Priest Personnel Board, he has asked the Rev. Thomas McNamara, a senior priest of the Diocese of Saginaw, who served as vicar general until 2013, to provide pastoral assistance to St. Mary University Parish in Mt. Pleasant. Father McNamara is a familiar face in the Mt. Pleasant area, having served as pastor of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish (Mt. Pleasant) from 1991-99. Father McNamara will assume this new role immediately, while continuing his sacramental ministry at SS. Francis and Clare Parish in Birch Run.
“I am confident that Father McNamara’s priestly presence, his warm relationship with people in the area, as well as his kindness and wisdom will be of great benefit to the parishioners at St. Mary University Parish,” Bishop Cistone said.
In addition to the pastoral assistance of Father McNamara, Bishop Cistone has appointed the Rev. Thomas Held as the full-time sacramental minister for St. Mary University Parish and Casey Truelove as pastoral administrator pro tem. For the past three years, Father Held has served as the parochial vicar for Sacred Heart Parish (Mt. Pleasant). Truelove serves as Director of Student Outreach and he will take on greater administrative responsibilities for a period of time.
“These assignments will continue until next June, at which time I will appoint a priest as the new parochial administrator,” Bishop Cistone said. “I would hope to announce this appointment within the next several months. In the meantime, Father McNamara, Father Held, Casey, and all parish staff will continue to work closely together to serve the good people of St. Mary and maintain the wonderful outreach to students of Central Michigan University. The FOCUS ministry, which has been so successful, will continue this fall and many excellent faith-filled activities are being planned to warmly welcome the students as they begin the new fall semester. With the continued prayers and support of parishioners, the Good News of Jesus Christ will continue to be learned and lived in St. Mary Parish and the community will be strengthened with His grace.”
The change in parish leadership comes two weeks after Bishop Cistone shared the distressing news that Father Denis Heames had been involved in boundary violations in relation to his priestly conduct. Father Heames was placed on an administrative leave of absence and last week Bishop Cistone relieved him of his appointment as parochial administrator at St. Mary University Parish.
“I am grateful to the parish staff members who serve with dedication and enthusiasm,” Bishop Cistone said. “I am especially grateful for the members of St. Mary, who are so dedicated to and supportive of the mission of their wonderful parish. I appreciate their prayerful support and assure them of my own prayers for their faith community during this time of concern.”