Roman Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo
|Diocese of Kalamazoo|
|Territory||Counties of Allegan, Barry, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, and Branch|
|Area||5,337 sq mi (13,820 km2)|
• 3 High Schools
• 2 Middle Schools
• 17 Elementary Schools• (2 Stand-alone Preschools)
|Established||December 19, 1970 (47 years ago)|
|Cathedral||Cathedral of Saint Augustine|
|Patron saint||St. Augustine of Hippo|
|Bishop||Paul Joseph Bradley|
|Vicar General||Msgr. Michael Hazard|
|Emeritus Bishops||James Albert Murray|
The Diocese of Kalamazoo (Latin: Dioecesis Kalamazuensis) is a Roman Catholic diocese in the southwestern portion of the State of Michigan. The Diocese of Kalamazoo encompasses Allegan, Van Buren, Berrien, Cass, Saint Joseph, Kalamazoo, Branch, Calhoun, and Barry Counties. The Diocese consists of 46 parishes, 13 missions, 75 priests, and 36 deacons. The Diocese operates 3 high schools, 2 middle schools and 17 grade schools, serving more than 3,000 students throughout the same. There are also two parish run preschools. It currently has 13 seminarians in formation to be priests from the local area and from Columbia and Nigeria.
The territory comprising the Diocese was originally part of the Archdiocese of Detroit. It was later became part of the Diocese of Grand Rapids from which it was created. On December 19, 1970, the Diocese of Kalamazoo was erected by Pope Paul VI and the parish of St. Augustine designated as the cathedral church of the new diocese. The Diocese was officially inaugurated on July 21, 1971, when Paul Vincent Donovan was consecrated and installed as the first bishop. From the erection of the diocese until its closure in 1992 the Diocese of Kalamazoo hosted Nazareth College.
"After Kalamazoo was organized and chartered in 1829, it took three years before the first Catholic mass was said in the home of Dennis Talbot, who was the first Catholic to settle in this region. He hardly settled in an area that tolerated religious diversity. Early accounts of the first churches in Kalamazoo that chronicled the growth of the city didn't even mention Catholics. This is understandable, given the area's first settlers. Hailing from New England and New York, they brought with them all the Puritan ethic of the east coast. Add to the mix the Hollanders, a group of Dutch agriculturists who had fled the motherland's liberal parent church, and one can easily see why "Papists" weren't exactly welcomed with open arms.
Kalamazoo was considered a "mission" in 1843, and jurisdiction for serving the area was given to the founder of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. As early as 1844, the framework for a new church was built. However, there was some question about the title to the land on which it rested, so the project did not have the approval of the bishop of the area. Then a windstorm (reportedly with a degree of human help) blew down the framework, so that building was never completed.
By 1852, however, a church had been erected. It was a 30 by 60 foot structure that stood on West Kalamazoo Avenue west of Park Street. In 1856, the Rev. Anthony Isidoro Label was assigned to the "mission" at Kalamazoo, which now contained 47 Catholic families. He built a pastoral residence, then began work on a new church in the same area. Fr. Label had more members of the congregation than money. He turned to a rich farmer in his flock, Patrick Bunbury, for help. Bunbury mortgaged his farm with a promise from the good father that the money would be repaid. After the church was built, Bunbury, of course, expected his money returned. A less than unbiased report in Harper's Weekly describes the mayhem that ensued. Bunbury was not aware that all church properties became the possession of the bishop. Bishop Borgess refused to repay him. In desperation, Bunbury sued the bishop for his money. The bishop, in turn, threatened Bunbury with excommunication for his action, and the poor, faithful and faith-filled farmer was torn between financial ruin and the very real threat, to him, of damnation and separation from his faith. He capitulated and withdrew the suit. The second church was completed in 1869. Its twin spires stood as a landmark on the city's skyline for nearly a century.
In 1883, the first of two pastors was appointed who would change the opinion of Catholics and the face of Kalamazoo as a city. His name was Fr. Frank A. O'Brien. Under his leadership, the Walter home on Portage Street was purchased for use as a hospital. It was named Borgess Hospital after the current bishop. Then he built the LeFevre Institute west of the church as a new parochial school. Three years later he welcomed 11 Sisters of St. Joseph from Watertown, New York to establish that congregation in the city. They would locate their headquarters at Nazareth on Gull Road. There they founded two private Catholic prep schools, Nazareth Academy for girls and Barbour Hall for boys. The nuns also staffed the hospital, which had outgrown its space on Portage Street (despite several additions) and added a new building on Gull Road in 1917. In spite of opposition to these "catholic" hospitals, they were instrumental in providing health care for Catholics as well as others, especially during the flu epidemic of 1918. Fr. O'Brien also was a prime mover in developing other institutions within the area to meet the demands of the growing Catholic population. Under his aegis, St. Joseph's and St. Michael's Polish Parish (later to become St. Mary's Church) were established, as well as the St. Agnes Foundling Home and the St. Anthony's Home for the Feeble Minded.
Murder raised its ugly head at St. Augustine's in 1923. A Fr. Charles Dillon, assistant rector at St. Augustine's, killed the rector, Fr. Henry O'Neill at their supper table. Fr. Dillon claimed that Fr. O'Neill had never treated him well and had told him to pack his bags and leave on several occasions. On the evening of April 12, during dinner, the same ultimatum was given, and Fr. Dillon went to his room, got a gun and the articles of extreme unction (the sacrament for the dying), returned to the dining room and shot Fr. O'Neill four times...once in the stomach, just above the heart, in his temple and through a lung. He then threw the articles of extreme unction to the other priest seated at the table, and called the police and confessed. Fr. O'Neill's only defense during the attack was to hurl a saltcellar at Fr. Dillon.
In June 1923, the second of St. Augustine's dynamic pastors was appointed to replace Fr. O'Neill. His name was Fr. John Hackett. He intended to remain in Kalamazoo for two years, but stayed for 30. Under his leadership, St. Augustine High School was built in 1926. A grade school was later added to this building. Fr. Hackett then moved the physical plant of the parish from West Kalamazoo Avenue to its present location on West Michigan Avenue. There was built the current St. Augustine's Church (later cathedral), which was dedicated in December 1951. If prejudice against Catholics no longer exists in Kalamazoo, it is because of Fr. Hackett. He was determined to have as much contact with the community as possible in order to dispel the fear and ignorance of Catholics. He succeeded. In 1936 on the 25th anniversary of his ordination, Protestants joined with Catholics in a series of "silver jubilee" gatherings and religious services held in his honor.
St. Augustine Church was officially named St. Augustine Cathedral in July 1971, and Rev. Paul V. Donovan was ordained as the first Bishop of the Kalamazoo Diocese."
Bishops of Kalamazoo
- Paul Vincent Donovan (1971-1994)
- Alfred John Markiewicz (1995-1997)
- James Albert Murray (1998-2009)
- Paul J. Bradley (2009–present)
Other priest of this diocese who became bishop
Coat of Arms
These arms are displayed on a red field to bespeak the Native Americans that inhabited and continue to live in the region that is now the Diocese of Kalamazoo. On this field is placed a silver (white) wavy bend (a bar that runs from upper left to lower right) that is the heraldic representation of water. This bend is strewn with a seme (a scattering of no specific number) of blue annulets to represent bubbles. This symbol represents the English equivalent of the Native American name Kalamazoo, which means “boiling pot,” and is used to describe the Kalamazoo River because of the bubbles in the water.
Below the wavy bend is a silver peace pipe, decorated with gold feathers, which was called a “calumet” by the French explorers that came to the region. This symbol of lasting and enduring peace is an object of profound veneration in the Native American culture because it is the supreme proof of hospitality, respecting the peace between parties that could not be broken without incurring the wrath of the gods. The totality of Peace, that is Christ, signified by this symbol, comes to those who believe in him as the Redeemer of the World.
Above the bend is an open book (silver, edged in gold) that displays in red the words Tolle Lege. This charge honors St. Augustine of Hippo, titular of the Cathedral Church in Kalamazoo. The story is related that, as a repentant, St. Augustine meditating on the Sacred Scriptures under a tree heard a little child say “Take and Read” (Tolle Lege). Then opening the text to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, Augustine read “let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Rom. 13:13). Considering that he had heard the Voice of God, Augustine took up the religious profession, to the great joy of his mother, St. Monica, eventually becoming the Bishop of Hippo in northern Africa.
Central Deanery (13 parishes) Dean: Very Reverend Lawrence Farrell
St. Augustine Cathedral, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, St. Mary, Kalamazoo, St. Monica, Kalamazoo, St. Thomas More, Kalamazoo, St. Catherine of Siena, Portage, St. Ambrose, Parchment, St. Ann, Gull Lake, St. John Bosco, Mattawan, St. Margaret Mary, Marcellus, St. Mary, Paw Paw, St. Jude, Gobles, St. Martin, Vicksburg
Lakeshore Deanery (13 parishes) Dean: Very Reverend William Jacobs
St. Peter, Douglas, St. Basil, South Haven, Sacred Heart, Bangor, (St. Cyril, Grand Junction), Immaculate Conception, Hartford, San Felipe, Fennville, St. Joseph, Watervliet, St. Joseph, St. Joseph, SS John & Bernard, Benton Harbor, Our Lady Queen of Peace, Bridgman, St. Gabriel, Berrien Springs, St. Mary of the Assumption, Three Oaks, St. Agnes, Sawyer, St. Mary of the Lake, New Buffalo
Southeast Deanery (9 parishes) Dean: Very Reverend German Perez-Diaz
St. Charles, Coldwater, Our Lady of Fatima, Union City, St. Barbara, Colon, Holy Angels, Sturgis, St. Joseph, White Pigeon, Immaculate Conception, Three Rivers, St. Clare, Centreville, St. Edward, Mendon
Southwest Deanery (8 parishes) Dean: Very Reverend Joseph McCormick
Holy Family, Decatur, Sacred Heart, Silver Creek, Holy Maternity, Dowagiac, St. Ann, Cassopolis, Our Lady of the Lake, Edwardsburg, St. Mary, Niles, St. Mark, Niles, St. Anthony, Buchanan
Northern Deanery (7 parishes) Dean: Very Reverend Christian Johnston
St. Mary Visitation, New Salem, St. Stanislaus, Dorr, St. Therese, Wayland, SS Cyril & Methodius, Gun Lake, Blessed Sacrament, Allegan, Sacred Heart, Watson, St. Margaret, Otsego
Eastern Deanery (9 parishes) Dean: Very Reverend Mark Vyverman
St. Jerome, Battle Creek, St. Joseph, Battle Creek, St. Philip, Battle Creek, St. Rose, Hastings, St. Cyril, Nashville, St. Ambrose, Delton, Our Lady of Great Oak, Lacey, St. Mary, Marshall St. John, Albion
Renew faith, build communion and inspire hope.
Our sacred purpose as the Diocese of Kalamazoo is joyfully to live our Catholic faith, which is rooted in Jesus Christ and the Teachings of His Church, so as to welcome all, speak the Truth in love, and lead all people in our nine counties into the promise of Eternal Life.
Strengthening the Domestic Church Developing Multicultural Leadership Advancing Catholic Schools
Commitment to Christ and His Church -
Guided by the Holy Spirit and embracing the love of the Father through Jesus Christ, we will faithfully follow the Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and generously serve the needs of others.
Collaboration and Consultation -
We will proactively seek wisdom and counsel on all major initiatives impacting the life and ministry of our diocese from appropriate consultative groups.
Good Ordering -
We will model discipleship, professionalism, generosity of spirit and pastoral care as we steward our spiritual and temporal gifts.
Our decisions, actions, and ministries will be rooted in prayer and joyfully carried out with competence, care and confidence in God’s promise of salvation. 
|name||location||2014-15 enrollment||web page|
|Hackett Catholic Central High School||Kalamazoo||274||School Webpage|
|Lake Michigan Catholic High School||St. Joseph||139||School Webpage|
|St. Philip Catholic Central High School||Battle Creek||145||School Webpage|
|Middle and Elementary Schools|
|Immaculate Conception||Three Rivers||33||School Webpage|
|Lake Michigan Catholic Elementary||St. Joseph||287||School Webpage|
|Lake Michigan Catholic Middle||St. Joseph||83||School Webpage|
|St. Augustine Cathedral School||Kalamazoo||340||School Webpage|
|St. Basil School||South Haven||69||School Webpage|
|St. Charles Borromeo School||Coldwater||136||School Webpage|
|St. Joseph Elementary||Battle Creek||225||School Webpage|
|St. Joseph Middle||Battle Creek||110||School Webpage|
|St. Margaret School||Otsego||84||School Webpage|
|St. Mary of the Lake School||New Buffalo||183||School Webpage|
|St. Mary School||Niles||49||School Webpage|
|St. Mary School||Paw Paw||78||School Webpage|
|St. Mary's Assumption||Bronson||82||School Webpage|
|St. Mary's Visitiation||Byron Center||76||School Webpage|
|St. Monica Elementary||Kalamazoo||334||School Webpage|
|St. Rose of Lima||Hastings||66||School Webpage|
|St. Stanislaus School||Dorr||73||School Webpage|
|St. Therese School||Wayland||46||School Webpage|
Total Enrollment 2,855 
- Catholic Church by country
- Catholic Church hierarchy
- List of the Catholic dioceses of the United States
- "Diocese of Kalamazoo". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. David M. Cheney. Retrieved 21 January 2015.
- Peppel, Fred (July 2005). "St. Augustine's: In Spite of Everything". Kalamazoo Public Library.
- "Coat of Arms". Diocese of Kalamazoo. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Six Deaneries" (PDF). Diocese of Kalamazoo. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Vision" (PDF). Diocese of Kalamazoo. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
- "Office of Schools Annual Report 2014-2015" (PDF). Diocese of Kalamazoo. Retrieved February 24, 2016.