Brooklyn, MI

Father Zachary Mabee is Officially the New Pastor at St. Joseph’s Shrine

Tracy Stengel

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Father Zach at his Installation Mass.Photo courtesy of the author.

The congregation of St. Joseph Shrine in Brooklyn, Michigan have been heartbroken since the unexpected death of their priest, the Very Reverend David Hudgins on January 3, 2022, from injuries sustained in a car accident. Father Dave was loved for his quick-witted humor, mega-watt smile, and devout faith.

As the parishioners heal from their loss, they now have a reason to celebrate. On Father’s Day, Father Zachary Mabee was officially named their new pastor in an Installation Mass performed by Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing and assisted by Father Bob Pienta.

Bishop Boyea began with a moment of silence to remember Father Dave, followed by praying the Hail Mary. Then, he asked Father Zach’s parents to please stand so they could be welcomed. Bishop Boyea pointed out it’s rare to have two sons that are priests and quipped, “They are looking to adopt some grandkids.”

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Bishop Earl Boyea at Fr. Zachary Mabel’s Installation Mass.Photo courtesy of the author.

After the homily, Bishop Boyea said, “Father Zach Mabee is someone I’m very, very proud of. He has excelled in all things.” Bishop Boyea reminded everyone Father Zach has a full-time job teaching philosophy at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and will be very busy with his additional duties serving as St. Joseph Shrine’s priest on the weekends. While Father Zach’s schedule is daunting, Bishop Boyea said, “He makes everything seem easy.”

Then, Bishop Boyea asked Father Zach to stand and said, “My dear friends, because I am aware of your pastoral needs and I am confident of his qualifications for the office of pastor, I now commend Father Mabee to you as your new pastor. What say you?”

The response was a thunderous applause.

Acknowledging Father Zach’s 6’9” height, Bishop Boyea said, “The deacon informed me you all look up to Father Zach.”

After Father Zach renewed his promises made at his ordination in 2015, he led the congregation in the Profession of Faith. Bishop Boyea witnessed Father Zach signing his Oath of Fidelity and said, “Congratulations.” The two men hugged, and the parishioners showed their support with a standing ovation.

At the end of mass, Father Zach thanked staff, volunteers, and church members. “It’s been such a joy, an honor, and a delight to be here with all of you and now be installed as you pastor. I rave about it to other people. You all have been wonderful. You’ve been so gracious, so kind, so welcoming. Thank you for letting me be with you and serve you here and administer to you.”

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Fr. Zachary Mabee at his Installation Mass.Photo courtesy of the author.

He wished all the fathers a happy Father’s Day. “I want to honor my own father who is here today. The exhortation that I received from the bishop was to be a loving father to the people. I got about as good an example as I could have and continue to, so thank you, Dad. I love you.”

Father Zach then gave a blessing to all the fathers.

If you missed Father Zachary Mabee’s Installation Mass, you can view it here. The celebration continued after mass with a catered luncheon at the Family Center. St. Joseph’s Shrine is located at 8743 US-12, Brooklyn, Michigan.

I am excited to welcome Father Zach to St. Joseph’s Shrine. May he shine his bright light through the parish and lead us to a deeper commitment to our faith.

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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI
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