The Diocese of Marquette has announced that before he was installed as the Archbishop of Portland, Archbishop Alexander Sample finalized a number of clergy changes that will take effect in the Diocese of Marquette on July 1, 2013.
Father Michael K. Akowuah, 51, has been appointed parochial administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Ewen, Immaculate Conception Parish in Watersmeet and St. Ann Mission in Bergland. A native of Ghana, Fr. Akowuah has been in residence at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Escanaba since June 2011. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1989 and holds a master’s degree in biblical studies and a post-graduate degree in education. Fr. Akowuah has served as an associate pastor and a pastor of parishes, local manager of Catholic education units, management board chairman of a Catholic hospital, and seminary lecturer and academic dean, all in Ghana. He also provided summer help to a parish in New York. Fr. Akowuah will succeed Father Sebastian Ettolil who will be returning to his religious community in India.
Father William Ssozi, 49, has been appointed pastor of Resurrection Parish in Hancock and St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Dollar Bay. Father Ssozi, who is originally from Uganda in East Africa, has been an associate pastor at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette since November, 2011 and been assisting at St. Joseph Parish in Ishpeming since December, 2012. He was ordained to the priesthood on July 19, 1992. In his native country, Father Ssozi served as an associate pastor, a pastor in-charge of Catholic schools, and a teacher, chaplain and principal at senior secondary schools. While attending Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, where he earned a doctorate in education, he served as chaplain of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist and of a Catholic school in Ann Arbor, an intern at a Catholic high school in Ann Arbor and a weekend associate at a parish in Detroit.
Fr. Ssozi will succeed Father Brian Gerber, 31, who will take over as Director of Marygrove Retreat Center in Garden. Fr. Gerber has been serving as pastor of Resurrection Parish in Hancock and St. Francis of Assisi Mission in Dollar Bay for the past two years. Born in Ironwood but growing up in Bruce Crossing, Fr. Gerber was ordained a priest on June 6, 2008 by Bishop Alexander Sample at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. He first served as associate pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Garden, St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Cooks and St. Andrew Parish in Nahma for two years and then of Sacred Heart Parish in L’Anse, St. Ann Parish in Baraga and The Most Holy Name of Jesus/Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Assinins.
Father Gerber will take over from Father James Ziminski, 48, who has served at Marygrove Retreat Center for nearly nine years. Fr. Ziminski will become the pastor of All Saints Parish in Gladstone. A native of Menominee, Fr. Ziminski was ordained a priest on June 7, 1991 by Bishop Mark Schmitt at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. After his ordination, he served as associate pastor of St. Michael Parish in Marquette and sacramental minister to NMU Catholic Campus Ministry and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission in Palmer. He was also the parochial administrator of St. Ann Parish in Baraga and moderator of the pastoral team of The Most Holy Name of Jesus/Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Assinins and Zeba. He has held several diocesan posts, including director of vocations, continuing education for clergy, diaconate formation, campus ministry, and priest personnel. Fr. Ziminski will continue to serve as diocesan director for ongoing formation of priests, the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, the Missionary Childhood Association, and Catholic Relief Services.
Father Ronald Timock, 63, has served as the pastor of All Saints Parish in Gladstone for the last two years. He has been appointed pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Stephenson.
A native of Flint, Fr. Timock was ordained a priest on October 7, 1983 by Bishop Mark Schmitt at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. The Upper Peninsula parishes and missions he has served include St. Anthony, Gwinn; St. Joseph, Northland; St. Michael, Marquette; St. John the Baptist, Garden; St. Peter the Fisherman, Fayette; St. Cecilia, Hubbell; St. Francis of Assisi, Dollar Bay; St. Andrew, Nahma; St. Mary Magdalene, Cooks; St. Mary, Rockland; Sts. Peter and Paul, Greenland; St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette; and St. Christopher, Marquette. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Father Timock received several military awards including the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and then served three years in the U.S. Army as a priest in the early 1990s. He pursued special studies in Eastern Liturgy and was the first priest to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (in Latin) in the diocese since the end of the Second Vatican Council.
Fr. Timock will succeed Father Corey Litzner, 36, at the Stephenson parish. Fr. Litzner will also be relieved of his position as parochial administrator of Holy Redeemer Parish in Birch Creek (near Menominee) to assume the pastorate of Sacred Heart Parish in L’Anse, St. Ann Parish in Baraga and The Most Holy Name of Jesus/St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Assinins. A native of St. Ignace, Fr. Litzner was ordained a priest on June 11, 2004 by Bishop James Garland at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. He has served as associate pastor of St. Sebastian Parish in Bessemer, Immaculate Conception Parish in Wakefield, St. Catherine Mission in Marenisco, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Escanaba and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Wells. His first appointment as pastor came in 2008, when he was assigned to Precious Blood Parish in Stephenson. He later added the parochial administrator position in Birch Creek.
Assisting Fr. Litzner will be Father Martin Flynn, 46, who has been appointed associate pastor of the parishes in L’Anse, Baraga and Assinins. Fr. Flynn was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 14, 2012 by Bishop Alexander Sample at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. He began his six-month appointment as associate pastor of Holy Spirit Parish and Resurrection Parish in Menominee in January. Fr. Flynn was born in Marshall, Mich. but has lived in the Upper Peninsula most of his life, having resided in Gulliver, Steuben and the Manistique area. Before becoming a seminarian, he worked for Timber Products and managed rental properties.
Father John Longbucco, 52, will leave his three-year pastorate at the parishes of L’Anse, Baraga and Assinins to become the pastor of Holy Family Parish in Gladstone (Flat Rock).
Fr. Longbucco returned to the diocese in 2009 after serving as a full-time chaplain in the U.S. Army since November 2002. In 2006 Chaplain/Captain Longbucco received the Army’s Distinguished Service Award from the Military Chaplains Association. Born in Jackson, Mich., Fr. Longbucco was ordained a priest on June 1, 1990 by Bishop Mark Schmitt at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. He has served the following parishes and missions: St. Mary & St. Joseph in Iron Mountain, St. Jude in White Pine, St. Ann in Bergland, St. Francis Xavier in Brimley, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha in Bay Mills, Holy Family in Barbeau, Holy Family in Ontonagon and St. Mary in Rockland.
Father Jose Joseph Maramattam, 59, will leave his five-year pastorate of Holy Family Parish in Gladstone to become the pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Sault Ste. Marie. A native of India, Fr. Maramattam was ordained a priest on February 2, 1980 for the Diocese of Kanjirapally in Kerala. While in India, he served as an assistant pastor of two parishes and then a pastor of eight parishes. After coming to the Diocese of Marquette in 2005, he served as associate pastor of St. Anne Parish in Escanaba, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Bark River and St. John Neumann Parish in Hermansville and Spalding.
Fr. Maramattam will succeed the current pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Father Piotr Zaczynski, who will return to his home diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.
Father Michael Ocran, 55, has been appointed parochial administrator of Holy Redeemer Parish in Birch Creek (near Menominee). He will succeed Fr. Corey Litzner. Fr. Ocran was ordained to the priesthood on July 20, 1986 for the Archdiocese of Cape Coast in his native country of Ghana. He holds a licentiate in sacred theology from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. While in Ghana, he served as a parish pastor, cathedral administrator, seminary formator, member of an archdiocesan translation committee and presbyteral council, chairman of a local council of churches, and vicar forane of two deaneries. Fr. Ocran has been in residence at Precious Blood Parish in Stephenson since December 2011 and currently serves as a consultant to the Marquette Diocesan Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
Father Gregory Heikkala, 49, has been appointed parochial administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Ishpeming, in addition to his continued responsibilities as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Ishpeming, Sacred Heart Parish in Champion and St. Augustine Parish in Republic and as diocesan director of vocations. The pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Ishpeming, Father James Challancin, passed away in February of this year. Fr. Heikkala was born in Marquette and ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1991 at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette by Bishop Mark Schmitt. His first assignment was as associate pastor of All Saints Parish in Gladstone. He went on to serve as pastor of St. Rita Parish in Trenary, St. Therese Mission in AuTrain, and Sacred Heart Parish in L’Anse. He was also a member of the pastoral team of The Most Holy Name of Jesus – Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Assinins and Zeba, sacramental minister to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission in Palmer and chaplain of NMU Catholic Campus Ministry in Marquette.
Assisting Fr. Heikkala at St. Joseph Parish in Ishpeming and St. Augustine Parish in Republic will be Father Daniel Moll, 34, who has been appointed sacramental minister at both parishes. Fr. Moll will also serve as Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese of Marquette. Both positions are effective July 8.
Fr. Moll is returning to the diocese after earning his licentiate in canon law at Santa Croce Universityin Rome. He will assume the diocesan canon law responsibilities currently handled by Monsignor Ronald Browne, who will be returning to the Archdiocese of Detroit in July. Originally from the Saginaw area, Fr. Moll entered the seminary after graduating from Michigan Tech University with an associate degree in chemical engineering technology and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Bishop Alexander Sample ordained him to the priesthood on November 29, 2007 at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. Fr. Moll has served as an associate pastor at St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish in Iron Mountain, Guardian Angels Parish in Crystal Falls and St. Rose Parish in Channing.