Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 18, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

I have asked the seminarians, Dan, Josh, and Randy, and Sr. Amber Czeiszperger for an update on how they are doing.  This week I want to share from Dan and Randy.

From Dan LaCroix:

“The year at seminary has been going well. There are certainly challenges because of the coronavirus, but it has also presented some good opportunities. Since we aren’t able to have big events or do any ministry outside the seminary, we’ve done a lot of activities within the seminary. We’ve played lots of Ultimate Frisbee, board games, and card games. It’s also been good to have the support of my brother seminarians, to help me to grow in holiness and in discerning God’s will. In one of my classes, Introduction to Spirituality, we’ve been reading a lot from the saints about how to deepen our relationship with God. It’s beautiful and exciting to see the depth of the relationship God is calling each one of us to; God is with us as we are right now, but we will never exhaust the riches he has in store for us. Sacred Heart Seminary is switching to online classes for the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I will be going to Sacred Heart in Hudson for that time. I’m really looking forward to that, and I’m trying my best to finish my papers before then so I have time to do things at the parishes. Thank you for all your prayers for me at the seminary, and know that I am praying for you.”


From Randy Koenigsknecht:

“Hello Sacred Heart and St. Mary on the Lake parishioners. This week, Fr. Todd asked me to update all of you on how seminary has been going this year. I returned to seminary at the end of August, and although I have only been here for a little over a month, this year has already been great. This semester I have been taking a class on Dante’s Divine Comedy, a class on the relationship between woman and man and their uniqueness, a Spanish class, and an upper level philosophy class called metaphysics. While I enjoy all my classes, my favorite part of the semester so far has been working with the campus ministry team for the university. This year I am part of the team that plans and runs the retreats on campus for the college students. Being able to share the faith with these students and encourage them in their faith has been beautiful. Another great blessing has been being able to take more of a leadership role within the seminary this year. This year I am a senior, so I have the experience to be able to walk with the new guys and help them adjust to the way of life of the seminary. I can remember when I was new at the seminary and looking up to the older guys, so it is an odd feeling to be on the other side of that divide. My time living in the rectory in Hudson this summer was awesome, and I look forward to seeing all of you again sometime during break. Please continue to pray for me and know that I am praying for all of you.”


God Bless

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 11, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

This week (Mon-Fri), I will be gone on vacation to visit a brother in Buffalo, NY.  I will be going with my twin brother and one of my sisters.  She is expecting the 13th grandchild, so there will really be four of us making the trip!  It should be a great week filled with eating, hiking, and playing cards—some of my favorite activities!  During this week, I will be praying for you all at my morning Masses.

Every year, October is designated as Respect Life Month. During this month, we need to let our lives be marked by three things: 1. Thanksgiving for those who have cared for us and given us life, 2. Praying for the Culture of Life, and 3. Working to support life at all its stages.  The older I get the more I realize just how many people have cared for me and sacrificed on my behalf.  I want to thank especially some of the organizations that do so much to support life in our local area: the Alpha Omega Care center in Hillsdale, Catholic Charities, the Knights of Columbus, our food pantries, and our local Hospice centers.  I know this is an incomplete list, but thank you!  For all those who serve those most in need, often behind the scenes—Thank you!

I want to include here a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announcing the theme of this year’s Respect Life Month:

“As Catholics in the United States, we will soon mark our annual observance of October as Respect Life Month. It is a time to focus on God’s precious gift of human life and our responsibility to care for, protect, and defend the lives of our brothers and sisters.

This year’s theme, ‘Live the Gospel of Life,’ was inspired by the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, The Gospel of Life. Pope John Paul’s masterfully articulated defense of the right to life for children in their mothers’ wombs, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and the marginalized is more relevant today than ever before.

Last November, the U.S. bishops reaffirmed that ‘the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.’ While we noted not to ‘dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty,’ we renewed our commitment to protect the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to live.

This past January, I shared with Pope Francis that the bishops of the United States had been criticized by some for identifying the protection of the unborn as a preeminent priority. The Holy Father expressed his support for our efforts observing that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter. Pope Francis also said that abortion is not primarily a Catholic or even a religious issue, it is first and foremost a human rights issue.

The Gospel of Life provides a blueprint for building a culture of life and civilization of love. The important work of transforming our culture begins by allowing the Gospel of Christ to touch and transform our own hearts and the decisions we make. May we strive to imitate Christ and follow in his footsteps, caring for the most vulnerable among us. Through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, may Our Lord grant us the grace to live courageously and faithfully his Gospel of life.”


God Bless,   Fr. Todd


COVID Update

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

This past week Michigan’s Supreme Court struck down the Governor’s Executive Orders as unconstitutional.  Since then Michigan’s Department of Health and Humans Services has issued orders that largely mirror the same orders that have been in place.  There are some questions about what impact all of this has on the guidelines we are following for attending Mass.  At this time there is no change from what we have been doing.  Our Diocesan Legal Counsel has asked us to continue following our current Covid-19 response plan.

The Diocese has made these guidelines as the best effort to both serve and protect our parishioners.  That is certainly what I want for both of our communities!  I know these guidelines/restrictions are a combination of being irritating, frustrating, and uncomfortable.  I think especially of the two guidelines that cause the greatest hardship at Mass- wearing a mask and not singing loudly while at Mass.  As we follow them please continue using them as opportunities for charity, little acts of sacrifice offered for each other.  Whenever they change, I will let everyone know!

This has impacted certain groups who still cannot serve in their ministries like our Choirs and our Altar Servers.  Again, I know how irritating these can be and I can’t wait to get you back!  Thank you for your patience.

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, October 4, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

As you are all well aware, we are now one month away from election day.  Over the last few months, I have been receiving many questions about the upcoming election.  All of them are motivated by a sincere desire to have the best for our country.  What makes those conversations difficult is that neither I as a pastor nor the Church can endorse any particular candidate.  As a help, though, I want to point us to two documents whose goal is to instruct us on the most critical issues in the upcoming election so we can make as informed a decision as possible on election day.

The first is from the Michigan Catholic Conference.  It examines conscience formation and provides questions and thoughts for consideration before voting.  This helpful guide addresses the following nine categories:

Human Life and Dignity

Religious Liberty

Preferential Option for the Poor

Children and Families


Health Care

Immigrants and Refugees

Restorative Justice

Care for Creation

For each category, it also offers the examples of saints who were examples of living them well.

The second is a document released by the United States Council of Catholic Bishops on what the formation of our consciences means.  I have included one small quote here:

“The Church equips its members to address political and social questions by helping them to develop a well-formed conscience. Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere “feeling” about what we should or should not do. Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil. Conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith. As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed. In all he says and does, man is obliged to follow faithfully what he knows to be just and right’ (no. 1778).”

The patron saint of politicians is St. Thomas More.  His final words were: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.”  That is our goal: to be faithful citizens in our country, but God’s first.  St. Thomas More, pray for us!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 27, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,

I will be gone for a few days this week on retreat (Mon-Wed).  Typically, this would have been our Convocation week when all the priests of the Diocese gather for a yearly meeting.  That was canceled due to the pandemic, but the speaker who was to keynote the Convocation will be leading this retreat.  On October 1st, we have a one-day gathering to go over the Bishop’s ongoing vision for the Diocese and honor the priests celebrating important anniversaries.  We will not have Mass at Sacred Heart or St. Mary’s on Thursday, October 1st.  Please pray for us this week!

Thank you to a few parishioners who have donated to have a new nativity set, which was delivered on Friday.  It will be a beautiful addition to our Christmas décor.  Your thoughtfulness and generosity is appreciated.

This week ushers in October, a month dedicated particularly to the prayer of the Rosary.  The Rosary is one of the most iconic prayers of the Church, made up of the prayers we learn from our youngest days: the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Glory Be.  It is a prayer that walks us through the life of Jesus and invites us, and those we love, into His life.  One question that comes up, though, is that the Rosary can be difficult to pray because it seems too rout and/or distracted.  How then can we enter into this prayer?  I want to offer a few suggestions that I have found helpful.

Prayer is more about what God is doing than what I am experiencing during that time.  We all like to judge how good a prayer is by how it feels when we are praying.  The thing is, the efficacy of prayer cannot be judged by how it felt.  Some of the most profound times of prayer happen in times of dryness or desolation.  We may never know the fruit our prayers bear.  We bring ourselves, those we love, and all of our needs and leave them in His hands.

Bring a particular intention to each decade of the Rosary:

I have found it very helpful to focus my attention on each mystery if I can keep in mind a particular need or situation.  If the situation fits the nature of the mystery, all the better.  When I pray the 4th Sorrowful Mystery, Jesus carrying the cross, I often think of someone I know who is going through a very difficult time and needs to experience Jesus coming alongside them to help them bear their burden.  Or the 5th Joyful Mystery, the finding of Jesus in the Temple.  I like to think of someone I know who doesn’t know the Lord and that they might be able to encounter Him in their life.

The Rosary is a place:

One of the beautiful parts of the Rosary is that it gives us words when we have none.  Sometimes we run into things in life before which we feel powerless.  In those times when we don’t know what to do or say, the Rosary gives us the words.  More importantly, it brings us to a place of peace and rest before God.  I know of a grandpa mourning the loss of a grandchild who was stillborn and the helplessness he felt at his daughter and son-in-law’s grief.  The Rosary for him was a place where he could rest, lay down the hurt he felt, and realize anew that death no longer has the last word for the Christian.  That word belongs now to God in His victory over sin and death.

During October I encourage all of us to pray the Rosary, either part or all of it each day.  Mary, our Dear Mother, pray for us and help bring us right to the feet of Jesus.

We invite you to attend a special Rosary Prayer Service on  October 10th at 12:00 PM, Evergreen Golf Course, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.   All are welcome to attend.


God Bless!


Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 20, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

Praise God for these beautiful Fall Days!  I spent the whole day outside this past Monday working around the farm and fixing up a deer hut with my brother, Fr. Gary.  Quite often our uncle, Fr. Bill, also joins us for the day.  He works on whatever we have going and then we end the day with Evening Prayer before returning to our parishes.  He always came over to the farm on his day off when I was growing up, so it is a joy to be able to spend them together now.

This fall at Sacred Heart School we will be having Friday Rosary walks with the 5th/6th graders throughout Hudson as long as the weather holds.  If you have any prayer intentions that you would like included, please let us know.

Our readings these last few weekends have revolved around mercy and forgiveness.  Forgiveness, as freeing as it is, is hard!  I want to include five recommendations for helping us forgive from this article:

  • 1. Beg for the Grace: To forgive our enemies, to pray for them and to love them goes far beyond our fallen human nature. We desperately need God’s overflowing and abundant graces. Saint Augustine says that we are all beggars before God. Therefore, we should beg for the grace to forgive when we are put to the test. God will not deny us this petition and important grace!
  • 2. Forgive Immediately: When we are offended, often the devil works on us right away, fostering in our minds thoughts of revenge. Such ugly and vindictive thoughts can easily surface:  “Get even!”  “Teach him a lesson.”  “Give him his own medicine.”  “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.” Finally, “Do not let him get away with it this time.”  In a certain sense we might feel, as a Protestant preacher once put it succinctly: “We desire to forgive, but only after we see him squirm like a worm in hot ashes, at least for a while.” All of these thoughts and feelings are diametrically opposed to the teaching of our merciful Savior, and we must resist them and reject them as soon as we become aware of them.  Therefore, if we respond to God’s grace of mercy and forgive immediately, there is a very good chance that the victory is ours. In sum, be quick to reject vindictive thoughts and even more rapid to forgive!
  • 3. Humility: Another efficacious spiritual weapon that we have in our armory is that of humility. How?  In this way!  If forgiveness proves laborious and near impossible, then call to mind your worst sin or your most embarrassing sin and the fact that God forgave you of this as soon as you begged for His mercy and forgiveness.  Most likely, the offense that was leveled against you is minimal in comparison with your most grave or embarrassing sin. This can prove a very powerful tool to open up your heart in mercy and forgiveness!
  • 4. Mercy is a Two-Way Street: Next, remember that receiving God’s mercy is not a dead-end street, but rather a two-way street!  Meaning? Jesus said: “Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful… and forgive…” Therefore, if we want to experience God’s infinite mercy in our lives, we must extend our hand in forgiveness towards those who have offended us.  The Our Father teaches us the same lesson: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” 
  • 5. Jesus Bleeding on the Cross for You: Possibly the most convincing motivational force to compel us to forgive those who offend us is the serene but serious contemplation of Jesus hanging on the cross, shedding every drop of His most Precious Blood to save all of humanity, but in particular my own immortal soul.  After being hurt and maybe not willing to forgive, lift up your eyes to contemplate Jesus as He hangs from the cross.


God Bless!

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 13, 2020

Dear St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart,

We are excited to announce that we will be starting our own Bible Study Group: College-Student edition!  Anyone who is in college, has just graduated, or is of college age is welcome to attend.

Our Bible Study group will be a 6-week session with the last session being a Q&A with Father Todd. In the five-week session, our group will explore a relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church. It will start on September 17th in the Sacred Heart Church basement from 6:30-7:30 pm. Dinner will be provided!

If you have any questions, feel free to call or text Cecilia Mende at 517 581 2516.

I know many of our college students (like Cecilia) are finding themselves unexpectedly home going to college online.  This can be a great opportunity to have some good fellowship during this strange year!

I happened to open up my reflection from New Year’s Day this year.  I had forgotten about it but I was struck by how helpful I found it now—much more than even on that day!  I want to share it here:

“There is a story from my sister that I love.  She has six children—when this story happened, I think she may have only had five.  Anyway, they had gathered up to pray the Rosary as a family. You always imagine how a prayer time is going to go ahead of time: it will be serene, beautiful, peaceful, etc.  This was not that kind of prayer time—it wasn’t going well.  One kid was spending most of the time in the corner, my brother-in-law was having a hard time staying awake, and there were general disagreements breaking out.  Overall, the prayer time was falling into beautiful chaos.  The image she had of what that prayer time was going to look like was breaking into pieces before her eyes.  As a parent this is equal parts frustrating and discouraging.

At this point she said to her husband that they should just stop.  He said no, let’s keep on going and finish.  At that moment she looked over and saw the Mary light.  They have a simple Mary light that you can plug in and it will light up that they use during their family prayer times.  Here is the interesting thing.  They have an outlet in their living room where only one half of it works.  It hadn’t worked before and hasn’t worked since, but the Mary light was plugged into the non-working outlet and was lit up.  It was like Mary was saying to them that she was there with them even amidst the chaos.  This is referred to now as the Miracle of the Mary light.

Life can often be like that.  We have an image of how it is or should go and that image can fall into pieces before our eyes.  We need to be reminded that we are never alone and that God is there with us, Mary is there with us.  When life falls to pieces, He is there to help draw them all together and bring some good out of them.

We begin today the New Year, 2020.  As the year begins, it is so easy to have an image of what the New Year will be like, how it will go, etc.  We need to surrender that to the Lord and then say Yes ahead of time to what will be.  I can guarantee ahead of time that there will be moments like my sister’s prayer time where it simply is going wrong and breaking apart.  In those times, realize you are not alone and that Mary is right there with us as the best of Moms, picking up the pieces and bringing them and us before God that He might bring good out of them.”

Even now, we can continue to pray this prayer of surrender.  Above all, let us remember we are never alone!

God Bless,   Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, September 6, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s,

This past week I was able to visit my twin brother’s parish school in Howell.  I went into the classrooms and pretended to be him to great effect—a blast as usual!

Last week I talked about how our faith should be known, seen, and lived in our lives.  A beautiful way the Church has reflected on this calling is through the image of the family as a domestic Church.  I want to provide here part of an article that describes what that means:

“Our families are meant to be ‘little churches’: places where we practice our faith earnestly, we pray together, we make meals a priority, we forgive and celebrate together.  Is it just me, or are some of us saying, ‘Yeah, right…’?

We know the reality of family life: tussles to get everyone out the door in the morning. A shouting match with a teenager. Deep hurts with siblings that go back decades. Exhaustion from sleepless nights due to a baby’s needs or a toddler’s nightmares. Is this a ‘little church’?

Yes, it is. With all its troubles, heartaches, mistakes and mishaps, our family is our little church, our domestic church. It helps to remember that – as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta was fond of saying – God does not call us to be successful: He calls us to be faithful. We are not called to be perfect parents or perfect kids, perfect siblings or spouses. We are called to try to live out our faith in the mundane parts of our life (Time to clean the bathrooms!), in the harsh reality of our life (We need to put Dad in a nursing home), in the daily conflicts and crises (Our teen is lying to us; what do we do?).

It helps to think about the Holy Family. Maybe that seems a bit, well, ridiculous: after all, Jesus is perfect, Mary had no original sin to deal with, and Joseph was a saint! How is my family supposed to be like that?  Hear me out. Even though the Holy Family was holy, that doesn’t mean they didn’t face challenges. Imagine the gossip when it was discovered that Mary was pregnant before she and Joseph wed. That was literally a sin punishable by death; Mary could have been stoned. Surely there was talk – and not all of it nice.  …

At some point, Joseph died. Mary lost her spouse, Jesus his foster father. It may have happened when they were a younger family, or when Jesus was an adult. Either way, we know this pain.  Some of us know what it’s like to watch a child go through something terrible: a horrible illness, an addiction, an unplanned pregnancy. Imagine Mary’s pain watching her Son be tortured and killed.

Yet through all of this, the Holy Family was holy. They were faithful. They kept their promise to God: to serve Him, to love Him, to share His promise with others. When we were baptized, we made this same promise (or our parents made it for us.) We make it every time we pray the Creed: ‘I believe!’ We make that promise when we faithfully attend Mass.

We also get the grace necessary to keep this promise. God doesn’t give us the task of being a domestic church, and not give us any help. No, we have grace: God’s very life in us. We can’t be holy on our own; we need God’s grace. But once we have that gift of grace, and we use it, we run with it: we can be holy! We can transform our lives, our families, our homes. That doesn’t mean we will be perfect, or even successful, but we will be faithful.”

Let us strive to make our homes and families these little churches!  God is there with us!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 30, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s

I am very excited for the beginning of our new school year.  Please keep our students and staff in your prayers.  I know many of our parishioners work in schools- know of our prayers for you during this pandemic.  Thank you, Anne and all the staff, for your hard work preparing for this upcoming year so we can open confidently and safely.

One of the blessings of having a Catholic School is that the faith is at the heart of everything we do.  The challenge is looking for ways to measure how the faith is being integrated into the day.  A simple tool is this: the faith should be known, seen, and lived.  That same measuring tool is equally applicable in our families and individual lives.

Known– I remember as I drew near to ordination after eight years in Seminary it was stressed to us over and over again that our formation needed to continue after we left formal studies.  We would need to be intentional about continuing to learn we so we could both know and express the richness of our faith.  That has been a great challenge for me to keep in mind.  Even though I am priest I don’t know the entirety of the faith and I never will.  This is the truth of any relationship- there is always more to know.  We all want to love and follow the Lord more closely.  The better that you know someone the deeper your relationship grows.  Even as our kids get ready to return to school may it be a reminder for each of us to keep on learning ourselves.

Seen– The faith should not only be taught but it needs to be evident.  At Sacred Heart the school is decorated with beautiful art and we have images of Jesus, Mary, and the Saints throughout the school.  Our lives and our homes should exhibit who we are without us ever having to say anything.  I know a man whose introduction to faith came from seeing a crucifix and asking himself the question- “Who is that man on that cross?”  That simple question opened the door to seeking out who Jesus was and coming to know Him.  We never know the impact of even the simplest signs of our faith.

Lived– Are we practicing what we preach?  For all of us it is the reminder that an important part of each of our lives is the example of the faith lived out that we provide.  What is the example I am providing to those who see me day in and day out be it in the classroom, at the grocery store, at work, or at home?  It is one thing to talk about prayer and have religious images but do the people around me actually see me praying?  I know a woman who saw her dad take time to kneel down and pray by the front door before he went off to work each day.  For her it was an invaluable lesson of the faith lived out.  It is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. When it comes to our faith it is just as true.

This coming year may we strive to have the faith be known, seen, and lived in us!

God Bless,

Fr. Todd


Fr. Todd Bulletin, August 23, 2020

Dear Sacred Heart and St. Mary’s on the Lake,

It was a real blessing to be able to celebrate the Confirmation Mass last week.  Like any gift we receive, we need to keep on striving to put it into practice.  Preparing for that Mass was a great help for me to think about how I am (or am not!) living in the grace of my Confirmation.  In the Acts of the Apostles we see that first great infilling of the Spirit at Pentecost, and then we see it repeated time and again as the Apostles run into obstacles and come back to the Lord to be filled with more.  For them and for us, we have this reminder to make sure we have this threefold pattern in our lives: to ask, receive, and act, and all with boldness.

We need to ask with boldness.  God is not small, so we need to train ourselves to not ask for small things.  No, we need to ask with boldness for that which we need.  Elisha the prophet, when he was being commissioned to take over for Elijah, asked for a “double-portion” of his Spirit. That is a bold prayer, and it is a prayer that God answered.  Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that those who ask receive, those who seek find, and to those who knock, the door is opened.  When we come before the Lord with our needs—perhaps confronting obstacles that seem insurmountable—may we always ask boldly!

The second step after having asked boldly is to receive boldly.  This means being open to the way that God responds.  Too often we approach prayer with a preconceived notion of how God needs to answer, and if the answer doesn’t fit that mold then we tend to dismiss it.  Part of receiving boldly, then, is to be open enough to accept something that we might be tempted to dismiss in other situations.  Be open to the way God speaks—be it a sense of His presence, an image that comes to mind that brings peace and/or direction, a person who comes into our life at just the right time.  St. Paul, before his conversion, was persecuting Christians.  When he was blinded after encountering Jesus, he was sent to Damascus.  He was met there by a Christian named Ananias.  Ananias received a message from the Lord in prayer to meet this great persecutor of the Church.  He received it boldly, and because of him we have St. Paul.

The last step is to act boldly after we have asked and received.  This might be the hardest step—acting boldly and taking a step of faith.  I think of the Apostles, who dropped their nets and followed Jesus, leaving behind everything to follow Him.  Boldness!  I think of Mary, who said yes to the Angel Gabriel’s message and made haste to go and be with her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child.  Boldness!  I think of Mother Teresa, who went into Calcutta.  Boldness!  I think of the parishioners who built St. Mary’s on the Lake and Sacred Heart for themselves and future generations.  Boldness!

May all of us learn to continually ask, receive, and act.  And may we do all of them with the great boldness that flows from the confidence we have in Jesus and His promise to send us the Holy Spirit.


God Bless,

Fr. Todd