Archbishop Vigneron to ordain three transitional deacons Saturday at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

DETROIT — On Saturday, June 8, the Archdiocese of Detroit will welcome three new priests to the fold, as Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron is set to ordain Deacons John McKenzie, Derik Peterman and Adam Nowak. 

The three transitional deacons have spent years in spiritual, human and theological formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Upon their ordination, the three will begin serving at parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The ordination Mass, which begins at 10 a.m., will take place at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It will be broadcast live on the Catholic Television Network of Detroit (CTND) and on the Archdiocese of Detroit and Sacred Heart Major Seminary Facebook pages.

The Mass will be rebroadcast on CTND at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 16; 4 p.m. Monday, June 17; 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18; and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 19.

Deacon Derik Peterman

Age: 28
Parents: Bill and Debbie Peterman
Education: Churchill High School in Livonia; Michigan State University in East Lansing (Physics); Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit
Home parish: St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy in Westland
First assignment: Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Farmington
Hobbies: Pole vaulting, track & field, biking, Michigan State sports, and reading

Masses of Thanksgiving

  • Sunday, June 9, at 10 a.m. at St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy Parish, Westland
  • Sunday, June 16, at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church and Student Center, East Lansing
  • Sunday, June 23, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Edward on the Lake Parish, Lakeport
  • Monday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at St. Edward on the Lake Parish, Lakeport (Extraordinary Form)

What were you doing before you entered the seminary?

Before seminary I was at Michigan State University: studying physics, competing on the track team, and was very much involved with the Catholic Church near campus. It was during my senior year that I applied to seminary and entered in the fall after I graduated.

When did you first start to think about the priesthood?

The first I remember thinking of the priesthood was in fifth grade. After that, it never left my mind. But toward the end of high school, I began to doubt my Catholic faith and looked elsewhere. I went to college following what I was good at and hoping that would lead me to a career. At college, now away from home and responsible for my own decisions, I fell away from the practice of faith all together. A friend invited me to a Bible study, and the Word of God reignited my faith. I began to learn more about Jesus and Christianity in that Bible study, but I knew there was more. The desire to find what was missing in my life is what got me back to Mass. As I got more involved with the student parish in East Lansing, two priests were a great help to me. Fr. Joe Krupp invited me to a priesthood discernment group, and Fr. Anthony Strauss guided me through the process of discernment. But it was the grace of God breaking through my fears during a time of prayer that enabled me to respond and actually say “yes” to His call to the priesthood.

What pastoral learning experiences made the greatest impact on you?

One semester of seminary I was serving at the juvenile detention facility in Detroit. As I was speaking to a group of teens one evening, I was struck to realize that one of the young women there did not know that Jesus was a real person who has risen from the dead. That experience taught me to never take for granted the power of the simple Gospel message.

What excites you the most about becoming a priest?

I am excited to be “all-in” as a priest — to devote my whole self to ministry and to fulfill the work God has been preparing me for. Most of all, I am excited to live that out in my offering of the Mass.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the Church today? What do you see as the solution to that challenge?

I think the greatest challenge facing the Church today is that of identity. Priests have forgotten that they are celibate fathers and servants, men have failed to be leaders and fathers, many others do not know that they are children of God, and the Church as a whole has lost some of its Catholic identity. The solution is to be faithful to who we are as Catholics and the vocation to which God has called each of us.

What saint has been your greatest inspiration and why?

There are a number of saints to whom I owe many thanks for their prayers. But St. Agnes has had the greatest impact on me. More than once she and her intercession have helped me to persevere in my vocation, even in what might have been miraculous ways. Recently, the example of her martyrdom and continued prayers have inspired me to live my faith and my vocation more boldly.

How do you hope to answer the call of the New Evangelization in your priestly ministry?

I hope to answer the call of the New Evangelization by being as present as possible in both the parish and the surrounding community, encouraging repentance and belief in the good news of Jesus, and by forming young people to be missionaries in the Church of today.

Deacon Adam Nowak

Age: 27
Parents: Alan and Shelly Nowak
Education: St. Pius X, Southgate; Christ the Good Shepherd, Lincoln Park; Erving Elementary, Woodhaven; Brownstown Middle School, Brownstown; Patrick Henry Middle School, Woodhaven; Woodhaven High School, Woodhaven; University of Detroit Mercy (Psychology and Religious Studies, Certificate in Catholic Studies, 2013); Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit (Bachelor of Philosophy, 2015; Master of Divinity, Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, 2019)
Home parish: St. Cyprian Parish, Riverview
First assignment: St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park
Hobbies: Traveling, kayaking, biking and reading

Masses of Thanksgiving

  • Sunday, June 9, at 11 a.m. at St. Cyprian Parish, Riverview'
  • Saturday, June 15, at 4 p.m. at St. Stephen Church of Holy Trinity Parish, Port Huron
  • Sunday, June 16, at 11 a.m. at St. Jospeh Church of Holy Trinity Parish, Port Huron

What were you doing before you entered the seminary?

Prior to entering seminary, I was a student at the University of Detroit Mercy. I was also working part time in the admissions office of the university and as the youth minister at my home parish.

When did you first start to think about the priesthood?

Growing up, I never considered becoming a priest, partly because I did not have a relationship with Jesus. In high school I joined a youth group and got to know and love Jesus and His Church. In my freshman year of college, I was praying, asking God what He wanted me to do with my life, and I heard Him speak in the silence of my heart, “Be my priest.” It took many years of prayer and discernment, but I knew in the end that I’d never be truly happy unless I answered God’s call.

What pastoral learning experiences made the greatest impact on you?

Perhaps the greatest learning experiences I had in seminary were mission trips. I was able to go on mission twice to Ecuador with youth from the Archdiocese of Detroit, once to Tanzania, and another time to Ethiopia. Seeing real missionary dioceses has taught me what it means to be a joyful missionary disciple in Detroit.

What excites you the most about becoming a priest?

Along with celebrating Mass and hearing confessions, I’m looking forward to accompany people on their journey in Christ and seeing how the Holy Spirit is working in their lives.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the Church today? What do you see as the solution to that challenge?

The greatest challenge facing the Church today is the clergy sexual abuse scandal and the loss of the faith and trust of the people. As a new priest, I hope to be an instrument of hope, healing and reconciliation.

What saint has been your greatest inspiration and why?

I’ve always been inspired by St. John the Baptist, whose birthday I share. I pray that, like St. John, I will always preach the good news of Jesus Christ with great humility.

How do you hope to answer the call of the New Evangelization in your priestly ministry?

I hope to be an authentic witness to Jesus Christ, led by the Holy Spirit to set the whole world ablaze!

Deacon John McKenzie

Age: 38
Parents: Larry T. McKenzie (deceased) and Cynthia A. Greenlee
Education: McCluer High in St. Louis, Mo.; attended the Academia Balthasar in Rome and Conception Abbey Seminary College for undergrad studies; Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and Colleggio Sant’Anselmo (Benedictine Formation) in Rome; Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit.
Home parish: Our Lady of Grace in Redford (merged with St. Sabina Parish); St. Louise de Marillac in Warren
First assignment: National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak

Masses of Thanksgiving

  • Sunday, June 9, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Louise de Marillac, Warren
  • Masses of Thanksgiving at various places in Italy from June 12-20 (pilgrimage to Italy with Corporate Travel)
  • Sunday, June 23, at 11 a.m. at Corpus Christi Parish, Detroit
  • Saturday, June 29, at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Refuge Parish, Orchard Lake
  • Sunday, June 30, at 9:45 a.m. with the Oakland County Latin Mass Society, West Bloomfield
  • Monday, June 24, at noon at SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish, Sterling Heights

What were you doing before you entered the seminary?

I was a Benedictine monk in a town called Norcia, Italy.

When did you first start to think about the priesthood?

I begin to think about the priesthood sometime after I began to study at college. The call was intrinsically connected to my re-finding of my Catholic faith.

What pastoral learning experiences made the greatest impact on you?

Living and working at my various assignments here in the Archdiocese of Detroit. That is to say, St. Louise de Marillac Catholic Church, Corpus Christi Catholic Church and Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church.

What excites you the most about becoming a priest?

Celebrating the sacraments in the name of Christ Jesus and his Church for the sake of his people!

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing the Church today? What do you see as the solution to that challenge?

Greatest challenge: A call to step outside the box and find new ways to reach so many people who have lost the faith, never have practiced the faith, or who are seeking a faith. In order to reach people where they are, we must be willing to go where they are! Solution: “Be not afraid.” —St. Pope John Paul II

What saint has been your greatest inspiration and why?

St. Gregory the Great! He was indeed a true man of the Church and universal in his understanding that the Gospel is for every people and nation!

How do you hope to answer the call of the New Evangelization in your priestly ministry? 

Pray, pray, pray and discern the needs of the people, then go from there! I don’t have all the answers. We find what we need to do by means of prayer and understanding the needs of the Church.


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