Parish Camping Weekend

A big thank you for those that made it out to the Parish Camping trip this past weekend at Leisure Lake, and a special thank you to Father Darrel for coming out to say mass and spending time with us! If you know of others who are interested in joining next year have them call the campground ASAP for a spot. As of today they were almost totally booked for this weekend next year.  Below you can see the the group picture along with a link below to a Google doc of pictures that a few of us took. If you have other pictures to add please do so!  Thanks again! 

Emily Simon 

2017 Parish Campout.JPG





A Blessed Trip! Haiti 2017

It seems hard to believe that it’s been nearly a month since we returned from Haiti!

There were 15 people who made this trip: Steve & I, Bill & Diane Thelen, Jordyn Thelen & Tawni Klein from St. Joseph’s Parish and Jenna Thelen from St. Mary’s of Westphalia.  We were also joined by Fr. Chris and members of St. Pius X of Grandville.  And we were very grateful to have Tom Shannon of Fowler and his fiancé, Jenay Barry.  Tom & Jenay took thousands of pictures and video to create mini-documentaries for the Apostolate for Family Consecration and EWTN.  We are trusting God to bless their hard work and amazing talent to bring about more awareness for the work of Sr. Luvia and the poor in Haiti.

The blessings of our trip were many.  We had a great group of people!  It was especially wonderful to watch the young ladies interact with the children!  We stayed at a convent run by Dominicans of the Presentation, a group of Columbian Sisters who took great care to provide for us!  They are beautiful women who run not only the home for visitors, but a medical clinic and school in Haiti.  The work they are doing is truly impressive!

One of our highlights was the visit to the new orphanage, which was purchased in the last couple of years through the generosity of our parishes and others who support Sr. Luvia.  Many of the nearly forty girls living there were victims of both the earthquake in 2010 and the hurricane of 2012!  They are so grateful for their new home and welcomed us with songs of thanksgiving and joy! 

Sr. Luvia was happy to show us the schools and homes run by her Religious Sisters and Brothers and those used by her priests and seminarians.  She also took time to make sure we experienced the beauty of Haiti, which is something we did not experience before, but truly appreciated.

Please know that Sr. Luvia is firm in her mission to educate the children; first in the Catholic faith, but also to provide a good education in all other subjects.  She believes that this will be the only way to change the future of Haiti.  Her next priority is to create a trade school.  It has been her experience that many of her students graduate from high school, yet lack a trade that will allow them to get a job.  Therefore they remain in poverty.  Sr. Luvia’s next dream is to buy or build a site that will make the trade school possible. 

All of us who made this trip would like to thank you for your prayers while we were gone.  If you wish to see pictures from our trip we will be posting more in the near future. 

In closing, we ask that you please pray for God’s guidance as St. Joseph’s Parish moves forward in our Haiti Outreach.  If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

Steve & Sandy Wolniakowski

Next Steps & Survey - Father Darrel Kempf

Dear Parishioners

These last few months I have enjoyed every minute of learning about this beautiful and amazing place.  God has truly been at work in your lives and I am very humbled by your response to Him. Just as God has provided us with signs of his love throughout history (see photo), I have found your hospitality and acceptance to be an incredible sign of the faith alive and in action.   I want to assure you that I am continually grateful for the gifts, support and love you have shared with me.   

This picture was taken May 1st, Feast of St. Joseph the Worker by anonymous village member


Thank you for taking the time to complete the Building & Grounds Survey.  I’d like to provide some clarity around next steps in our planning process.   We will review and analyze the survey responses this month.  During the summer, the Pastoral, Finance, School Board, Parish Staff and I will look at various options to address the needs brought forward.  

We will share the decisions made regarding the survey as we go along.  The desire is to address each need, however not all needs will be fully resolved through this process.    Given that we are a family, I ask for your patience. We do want results quickly; however, I want to take a cautious approach focused on long term needs. It is easy to make quick decisions; however, it is important that we take the time necessary to make the right decisions.  If there are concerns I ask that you please bring them directly to me. I am open to listening and discussing the needs of our parish.  In any parish with diversity of thought and passion for growth, it can be difficult to attain solutions that everyone is equally pleased with.  Please know that my first priority is our growth in holiness of life.  Obstacles to that will be discussed.  Obstacles that remain are for our benefit as a reminder to unite our sufferings to Christ; that we follow Christ alone who will aid us through this life to the resurrection.

I truly want us to thrive and make disciples of all peoples starting here in our small part of the world, Pewamo, Muir and Lyons.  Please pray for the leadership of the parish; that motivated by a zeal for souls we will set aside self-interest and vain desires only seeking to form disciples of the Lord.

To prepare our hearts for the way forward and as we ask the Lord to bless our decisions, our Parish leadership team will stay rooted in prayer.  I would like to encourage all of you to join in prayerful support through the recitation of the following passages: 1 Pt 2:20b-25, Ephesians:2-19-22, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, Matthew 28:18-20,  Haggai 2:9, Acts 2:42-47, Proverbs 16 1-9, Ephesians 4: 2-7, John 15:7-8.  


In Christ

Father Darrel Kempf

Pastor of St. Joseph's Parish

Haiti Mission Trip

Plans are currently underway to visit Sr. Luvia and her various missions in Haiti from June 20th - 27th. If you are interested in joining us on this trip, please contact Sandy Wolniakowski at 989-593-2479 

Check out this very recent photo of students from the school Sr. Luvia and her sisters run. 



We Still Do

Looking back at the We Still Do event which took place at St. Joseph's on January 21st with Teresa Tomeo and her husband Deacon Dom, we were blown away by all the couples that signed up and shared their night with us. 

This event was audio recorded and you can listen by clicking the button below. 


Marriage ministries from St. Mary's in Westphalia, Most Holy Trinity in Fowler and St. Joseph's here in Pewamo spent many hours of planing and praying for the this event: 

what a blessed group pf people 

This night was full of marriage stories that touched on hard times, marriages on the brink of divorce and intimate moments of love. 

Teresa and Dom have an amazing story themselves, here they are sharing that with us 


With so much happening in the life of the modern family, it's hard for couples to get out and focus on each other, and keeping God at the center. This night was planned for those couples in mind and we know they left more encouraged to live out God's plan for their marriages. 

Tithing at St. Joe's

Electronic Giving (EFT transfers) is coming to St. Joseph's Parish.

It is our hope to have online giving set up by the beginning of 2017, making it easy for you to set up a reoccurring tithe that fit's with your giving abilities. Please bear with us as we get this new endeavor completed. 


The Bible says in Matthew 6:24 that the top competitor for our commitment to God is money. Giving allows us to show that God is more important to us than material things. Not having cash or check on hand doesn’t have to hold you back from giving, you can be obedient by giving online. There is no organization with more potential to change the world than the local parish.

Giving Draws Us Closer to God

When you invest in what matters to God, you strengthen your relationship with Him.

Giving Grows Our Character

Giving helps us to better reflect the character of God. He has given us everything — not even withholding his own Son! God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son.

Giving Expresses Love For People

Our giving makes it possible for people to hear the Good News of God’s love for them. It also helps us provide, through our Ministry partners, critical care to the poor and those in need.


How We Give

 The four P’s

Growing in generosity means being intentional about our giving. Planning our giving means that we intentionally set aside money from our budget to give away. An efficient way to plan our giving is to give electronically.

Making giving a priority means giving it first place in our budgets. Growing in generosity requires that we don’t give leftovers. We give our “first fruits” back to God.

In planning our gifts, we pick a percentage to give away, keeping in mind the biblical standard of the tithe or giving ten percent back to God. Identify a percentage of your income to give away.

Our goal over time is to increase the percentage of our income that we give away. As God blesses us financially we recognize that we have been blessed to be a blessing.

Where your treasure is, there will your heart also be.
— Matthew 6:21



Sr. Luvia Haiti Update

Written by Sandy Wolniakowski

Many of you have been wondering how Sr. Luvia is doing following the hurricane.   Our information is limited, but we were able to talk to her the Thursday following the hurricane and Sr. Luvia reported that the orphanage and the children were safe at that time.  The school was spared as well.  However, the Brothers in Jacmel were hit hard.  They lost their house, their school and all of their materials.

The country school in Miragoane was also fine, but the roads and bridges would not allow Sr. Luvia to travel to these locations. Bridges have been washed out and streets were flooded.  Sr. Luvia said there were no gardens or animals left.  The lack of food and clean water were also a problem. As we know from news reports, flooding increased sanitation problems and cholera is now an epidemic that is threatening their well being. As friends and supporters of Sr. Luvia and her mission in Haiti, it can be very difficult to feel so unable to help.  However, we can NEVER underestimate the power of our prayers and the power of our God, who hears the cry of the poor.  We ask that you continue to keep Sr. Luvia and all of the people of Haiti in your prayers.  St. Joseph's will also be accepting donations on her behalf and will make another money wire in the near future.

To know that she has friends in Pewamo who are praying for her is worth more to Sr. Luvia than you can possibly understand, and on her behalf I thank you for that. 


If your wondering how to help, there is a way. St. Joseph's Parish has an account established for Sr. Luvia that is ALWAYS able to receive donations on her behalf and that money wires are made when there are sufficient funds to do so. Please write checks out to St. Joseph's Parish and the money will go directly to the Haiti Mission.  


Please contact the parish office at 989-593-3440 to speak with Sandy or Dan about helping. 




Tony Wolniakowski becomes Brother Kolbe

On August 6th, the Feast of the Transfiguration, Tony Wolniakowski

made his first profession of vows with the Saint Meinrad Archabbey.

This is an important step to Brother Kolbe becoming a Benedictine monk.

In three years, God willing, he will take his final profession of vows and

then continue his seminary studies with the hope of becoming a priest in five to

six years.


Brother Kolbe is very grateful for the support he has received from his St. Joseph Parish family.

On August 16th he will be home for a short visit and hopes to see many of you then!

Thank you for your continued prayers! 


To see the photos from the First Profession, click on the button below.