top of page

History of St. Michael Parish


It began in 1942 in the most modest of circumstances, a parish situated in an old dormitory on a lightly wooded lot on the north side of Marquette. Formation of the new parish had been announced on Easter Sunday by Bishop Francis J. Magner. A few days later, on April 12, 1942, Monsignor Joseph L. Zryd, the founding pastor, and 200 energetic men met in the unused wooden dormitory to begin planning for opening the new parish. Considerable remodeling was needed on the leaky four-story structure, built in 1900 when Northern Normal College was just one year old. The "dormitory property" had been acquired back in 1919 by a Marquette native, the Most Reverend Joseph G. Pinten. He turned it over to the diocese on two conditions: that the new parish be named after St. Michael, the protector of the Church, and that parishioners build a school to be staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet.


In May 1942, the parish committee and contractor Franz Menze set to work on renovating the building. Despite wartime shortages, the work was done and first Masses were celebrated in St. Michael Church on September 6, 1942, with the solemn dedication coming on October 4.


On September 15, the school in the same building opened its doors to 90 pupils, initially only in Kindergarten through third grade. As school enrollment soared to 367 by 1948, the parish organized to build a modern school. Bolstered by a $50,000 bequest from Mrs. Catherine Bonifas of Escanaba, a committee of 50 parishioners contacted virtually every member of theparish to raise the balance needed for the $231,000 project. The completed school opened in September 1949 and was dedicated by Bishop Thomas L. Noa, with a dedication sermon by Father Joseph J. Dunleavy, then Assistant and later the fifth pastor of the parish.


Under the leadership of Father Patrick W. Frankard, the parish committed itself to constructing a new place of worship. Construction began in the summer of 1962 and was completed by Palm Sunday, April 5, 1963. The convent now provided accomodations for nine sisters, while the new rectory was built to house three priests, meeting rooms and parish offices. A Newman Center (now Catholic Campus Ministry) was added to serve Northern Michigan students. A multi-purpose room (Monsignor Joseph J. Dunleavy Hall) was constructed creating space for a host of parish activities as well as school dining and recreation.


In 1987 the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet left the parish and the convent was converted to serve as a parish center and as officers for the growing Religious Education Program. At the same time, the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, who maintain a motherhoue in the Marquette area, began to serve in the education ministry of the parish.


In 1991, the parish school fully consolidated with Bishop Baraga School to form the Father Marquette Catholic Central School System, offering a total kindergarten through eighth grade Catholic education with an enrollment of about 300 students. The St. Michael building houses grades five through eight.


In the mid 1990's, St. Michael's became a "tithing" parish. A portion of the monthly ordinary parish income is placed into the St. Michael Christian Service Fund. These funds are distributed by the Pastoral Council to situations of need, as part of parish outreach to the community and world beyond. This tithe is an expression of the parish's gratitude to God for all the blessings God constantly pours out upon this community.


As St. Michael's has witnessed remarkable changes in the world at large since those difficult days at the beginning of World War II, so too has the parish undergone major transformations. Some of the change has been beyond the control of this now populous parish, but much growth has come about precisely because of the determined commitment of laiety, religious and priests to God's Word. With the dawn of the Third Millennium, the parish community has renewed their commitment to making Jesus Christ the center of its life and rededicated to it's mission of helping to build the Kingdom of God by living and sharing the Good News of the Gospel.

Anchor 2

History of Priests Serving at St. Michael Parish




Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph L. Zryd


Rev. Robert J. Cordy


Rev. Patrick W. Frankard


Rt. Rev. Msgr. Arnold L. Casanova


Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph J. Dunleavy


Rev. Lawrence T. Gauthier (co-pastor)


Rev. Vincent L. Ouellette


Rev. Paul J. Nomellini


Rev. John J. Shiverski


Rev. Msgr. John E.(Jed) Patrick


Rev. Larry VanDamme


Rev. Gregory P. Heikkala

Associate Pastors 


Very Rev. Oliver J. O'Callaghan

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Joseph J. Dunleavy

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Chisholm

Rt. Rev. Msgr. David P. Spelgatti

Rev. Joseph A. Kichak

Rev. Robert J. Smith

Rev. Robert A. Haas

Rev. Donald P. Hartman

Rev. Stephen L. Mayrand

Rev. Henry L. Mercier

Rev. Terrence F. Donnelly

Rev. Donald E. LaLonde

Rev. Charles J. Strelick

Rev. Jerome L. Larsen

Rev. Anthony J. Polakowski

Rev. Norbert P. LaCosse

Rev. James L. Menapace

Rev. Norbert B. Landreville

Rev. John J. Chrobak

Rev. James Pepin

Rev. Terry G. Villaire

Rev. Msgr. John E.(Jed) Patrick

Rev. Glen G. Weber

Rev. Joseph D. Carne

Rev. Michael T. Vichich

Rev. George C. Gustafson

Rev. Ronald K. Timock

Rev. Erick E. Olson

Rev. Dino Silvestrini

Rev. Rick L. Courier

Rev. Richard Craig

Rev. Pawel Mecwel

Rev. Jeffrey Kurtz

Rev. James Ziminski

Rev. Jeff Johnson

Rev. Fran Degroot

Rev. Mariusz Makowski

Rev. Timothy Hruska

Rev. Shaun Erno

Rev. Benjamin Hasse

Rev. Nicholas Thompson

Rev. Mike Chenier

Rev. Brandon Oman

Rev. Dustin Larson

bottom of page