Hi Parish Family!
Who is the priest who celebrates Mass every week? Where is from? What does he like to do?
I thought, “If I don’t know anything about him after living here for a year, maybe someone else doesn’t know him either.”
From reading his bio on the parish website and sitting down with him, I learned he grew up in southeast Grand Rapids where his mother still resides along with his sister, Cathy and her family.
Fr. Dave volunteered in and around his church growing up including participating in Mass as an altar server, mowing the grass, and lots of volunteering around the parish. His first job was on the maintenance staff of St. Stephen
Growing up in southeast Grand Rapids was a normal, simple, middle-class experience filled with driveway basketball, open field golfing, and playing catch.
Vacations were occasional and included attending the Cherry Festival with family who resided in Traverse City as well as visiting a cottage on Lake Michigan with friends.
Fr. Dave studied education at the University of Michigan and completed his student-teaching in Ann Arbor.
As a teacher, Fr. Dave took advantage of the summer vacations and travelled around to different music concerts and especially to Nashville several years in a row for a summer country music festival.
He always had a vocation to the priesthood in the back of his mind growing up, but it wasn’t until his time serving in campus ministry with his students that he more seriously considered it.
Fr. Dave studied at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago and absolutely loved his time there. The campus is situated on 900 acres and includes a retreat center, hosts many visitors, and a big lake.
A lake that is supposed to be relaxing and peaceful for most and allows for canoeing and kayaking was only enjoyed once by Fr. Dave.
“Early on in my first year there,” says Fr. Dave, “I took a canoe out on the water and in maneuvering around or trying to get back to dock, I capsized the canoe and because the lake is mostly mud on the bottom, got pretty stuck. It took about an hour to get out of the lake and return the canoe and that was the last time I tried that.”
So, maybe don’t invite Fr. Dave out to canoe with you on Spring Lake.
His other more enjoyable memories from seminary include playing in and coaching for the basketball tournament, winning about half the time.
Now, if sports ever return to normal, he enjoys refereeing basketball games and coaching track and cross country, if he’s available.
Fr. Dave lives alone and is responsible for feeding himself so he gets by with simple meals like cereal and milk every morning for breakfast. He does eat out at our local restaurants like Ted’s and Two Tony’s but he doesn’t drink alcohol so don’t ask to get a drink with him at Stan’s. He said he does enjoy being invited to parishioners’ houses for dinner so if anyone would like to spend time with him, extend the invitation!
He takes off from official duties as Pastor on Mondays so he can grocery shop, clean his residence, or go visit his family in Grand Rapids.
The hardest thing about being pastor?
“Balancing all the responsibilities without shortchanging anyone,” he says. “I would love to celebrate more with parishioners and the school,
but the business part of it requires making sure the nitty gritty details are taken care also.”
I look forward to inviting Fr. Dave over for dinner soon, knowing my wild and chaotic children will be thoroughly entertaining for him.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share with me and I hope some of you learned something about the priest that you see every week at Mass.
Love and prayers to you all,
Greetings to my new parish family!
My name is Megan Tobin and we are still relatively new to West Michigan. Kurt is my husband and together we have 3 adorable and chaotic young children – Elizabeth (4.5), Patrick (3), and Margaret (19 months). We also have a dog named Tucker who goes with us any time dogs are allowed (and sometimes even when we are not sure dogs are allowed). For example, I called ahead to The Village Baker to make sure he could sit with me on the patio while I work on this post.
We moved to Spring Lake in February 2019 at the tail-end of the week the polar vortex hit with12 inches of snow, from Indianapolis where we had to shovel six inches of snow off the driveway for the moving truck. Four months ago, we moved out of the house we were renting and five houses down the street, all during the beginning of the mandatory stay home order. Yes, all with three young kids and a dog. No, I am never moving again.
When Dave Heinert discovered that I majored in Journalism along with Anthropology at Miami University, he mistakenly thought that I’m a terrific writer with lots of thoughts to share. Yes, I did study those subjects and yes I learned a lot during classes, my summer internship at the Catholic Telegraph in Cincinnati and during my free lancing opportunities in Indianapolis but I’m so rusty at writing that I hope you have low expectations for me. I intend on growing as a writer and exceeding your expectations but for the first few blog posts, take it easy on me, will ya?
I graduated from Miami University in December of 2013, married my college sweetheart (Miami Mergers!) in June of 2014 and gave birth to my first child in October 2015. I really did look for writing jobs in Indianapolis, but the best fit I found was at The Celtic Cross Catholic Giftshop in Indianapolis. If I had had free childcare, I would have gone back part-time after giving birth. It was a blessed and joyful experience.
We lived in an idyllic and comfortable house and neighborhood on the northeast side of Indy with two growing suburbs all around us. It was a tough decision to leave our lives there but it has been a beautiful opportunity for growth in all areas of our lives. The biggest blessing of the move – Kurt’s parents literally down the street from us and able to be in our kids’ lives ten-fold.
My husband and I both are in a place in our lives now that we can begin immersing ourselves more fully in the Catholic community here in Spring Lake.
We decided to move our oldest from West Michigan Academy of Art and Academics to St. Mary’s not because there was anything “wrong” with WMAA but because we want to be more connected with our parish family and the Catholic community. Elizabeth will be in the Pre-K afternoon program Monday through Thursday and Patrick will be in the 3’s program Tuesday and Thursday.
Having only Maggie with me 2 days of the week is going to feel so weird and I am trying to fully enjoy the time we are all together now, I know we will never have this time again.
With all of this in mind, to say I am excited to work on the blog for St. Mary’s is an understatement. I hope a few people read along with me. I look forward to serving in this capacity and I hope I get the opportunity to meet you in person soon.
Prayers and blessings,
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