Rev. Michael Patrick Palmer, C.S.C., is the fourth of seven sons of Warren and Victoria Palmer of Berkley, Mich. He entered formation with the Congregation in 2007 and professed First Vows on July 28, 2012.
Prior to his Ordination as a transitional deacon, Fr. Michael served as a religious education teacher at St. Adalbert Parish, South Bend, Ind. (2010-2011); as hospital chaplain and Catholic Charities volunteer in Colorado Springs, Colo. (2011-2012); and as a novice in residence at St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, Texas (2012). From 2012 to 2013, he served as a volunteer at the LOGAN Center in South Bend, Ind., then as a RCIA team member at Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend, Ind. (2013-2014). During his pastoral year, he served as asst. hall director and campus ministry team member at the University of Portland (2014-2015). In 2015, Fr. Michael entered chaplain training at the U.S. Army Chaplain School in Fort Jackson, S.C., then served in marriage preparation at Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend, Ind. (2015-2016). Fr. Michael earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2011, and earned his M.Div. from the same in 2016.
As he prepared for Ordination day, Michael reflected on the charism of Holy Cross and how his understanding of it has changed since he entered the Congregation:
"In our Constitutions, we speak of 'crossing borders of every sort' and embracing the hope of the Cross wherever it is found. When I first entered Holy Cross, I had no idea just how far-reaching it was. I didn't even know Bangladesh was a real country! I was content to think of the Congregation as confined to the South Bend area.
But, once I had been in formation for a few years and began to meet brothers and priests from México, Chile, France, East Africa - and, yes, Bangladesh - I was awed at the great mission that Holy Cross had embraced to serve God's people.
Simply put, every human being who has ever drawn breath has also known the Cross. Suffering, oppression, and despair doesn't care about language or borders or race; thankfully for us, neither does the hope of Christ.
This charism became real for me when I joined the Army Chaplain Corps nearly three years ago - following a Holy Cross tradition that began in the Civil War.
Our call to follow the Cross across all borders certainly rings true in the military, where men and women often have no one to turn to in the midst of suffering. The shadow of the Cross looms large. If God wills it, I hope to go into active duty and bring the Sacraments to our brothers and sisters, no matter where they are."
Fr. Michael served his diaconate year at Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend, Ind.
Fr. Michael's first Mass as a priest took place April 23, 2017, at Christ the King Catholic Church, South Bend, Ind. He will also celebrate Mass at his home parish, followed by a reception, at National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak, Mich., at 10:45 a.m. on May 21, 2017.
Rev. Ryan Joseph Pietrocarlo, C.S.C., is the older of two children of Joe and Karen Pietrocarlo of East Rochester, N.Y. He served his diaconate at St. Adalbert/St. Casimir Parishes in South Bend, Ind., and will continue his ministry there.
"What attracted me to Holy Cross in the beginning still attracts me today - and that is the diversity of ways to serve the Church. I am excited to see how the Holy Spirit will guide me throughout my life to serve His people. I love entering people's lives and walking with them on their journeys of faith. To help people come to Jesus Christ and the fullness of life that He gives us. I know my greatest challenge will be facing those resistant to that call or those who have experienced great difficulty, making them question that truth. It is then that the message of the Cross as our only hope can prove most powerful.
But I am humbled by God who has called me. I look forward to serving His people and His Church as a priest, and being able to celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The priority of my life will be to administer the Sacraments and share in the great conviction that the fullness of our faith and our lives can be found in them."
Prior to his diaconate year, Fr. Ryan served as a volunteer at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. (August 2007-May 2008); as a chemistry tutor for First Year of Studies, Notre Dame, Ind. (August 2008-December 2009); as catechist at Christ the King Parish in South Bend, Ind. (August 2010-May 2011); as a volunteer at André House, Phoenix (June 2011-July 2011); as chaplain at Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs, Colo. (August 2011-July 2012); then in music ministry and as catechist at Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Woodland Park, Colo. From August 2012 to May 2013, Fr. Ryan volunteered at Stone Soup Community in South Bend, Ind., then served in marriage preparation at Christ the King Parish, South Bend, Ind. (August 2013-May 2014). Fr. Ryan served his pastoral year at Nuestra Madre Santíssima de La Luz Parish, Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon, México (July 2014-June 2015), then served in adult faith formation at St. Adalbert/St. Casimir Parishes, South Bend, Ind. (August 2015-May 2016).
Fr. Ryan earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., in 2011 and received his M.Div. from the same in 2016. He entered formation with Holy Cross as an Old Collegian in 2007. He made his First Profession of Vows on July 28, 2012.
Fr. Ryan celebrated his first Mass as a priest on April 23, 2017, at St. Adalbert Catholic Church, South Bend, Ind., followed by a reception at St. Adalbert Catholic School. Fr. Ryan also celebrated Mass at the Morissey Hall Chapel on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind., that evening.