Faith Weavers of St. Mary is a faith community that started in a Roman Catholic parish, St. Mary’s University Parish in Mt. Pleasant Michigan. Bishop Allen J. Babcock, Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids, started the parish in 1959 to serve the students, faculty, administration and staff of Central Michigan University. In 1971 the parish was transferred to the Diocese of Saginaw. As a parish, we served the sacramental needs of our community along with educational and social justice activities.
Over the years the parish attracted people from outside the university community. It had a mixture of student members as well as non-students affiliated with Central Michigan University, Mid-Michigan Community College and the greater Mt. Pleasant community.
When Kenneth Untener became bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw in 1980 he encouraged the pastoral team at St. Mary’s to be a vanguard parish in implementing the changes brought about through the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The mission of St. Mary’s University Parish was expanded to provide a model for students on how a parish should function. Students would then have the knowledge and experience to be lay leaders in parishes they joined after leaving Central Michigan University. Non-student members of the parish worked with students to run the parish. The non-student parishioners saw their role as mentors to students as they matured into adult Christians.
Bishop Untener died in 2004 and the direction of the parish was dramatically changed with the appointment of a new pastor in the fall of 2006. The parish has become a student center with a different set of goals.
Many former parishioners, who joined other area parishes, wanted to maintain our faith community, to support one another in living our Christian beliefs, and to continue our work in helping students as they mature into adult Christians. We are not a separate church, but a faith community within the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. However, we are open to people of other faith traditions who want a community to support them in living out their Christian ideals. We are also ecumenical in cooperating with other churches to provide programs supporting the needs of our community.
We formed the nonprofit corporation, Faith Weavers of St. Mary, in the State of Michigan, to establish a legal structure for our faith community. The name Faith Weavers of St. Mary comes from the motto of St. Mary’s University Parish, “Weaving Faith into Life.” This motto expresses our desire to live as Disciples of Christ through the ordinary activities of daily life. We realize that we are Christians seven days a week and we must conduct our daily lives in harmony with Christ’s example of service to others. We included St. Mary as part of our name to remind us of our roots in St. Mary’s University Parish.