Fr. George Palliparambil, PIME
Fr. George is the new Regional Superior of PIME in the United States. He has been the Mission Center Director in Detroit for the past two years. Born in India, he served as a missionary in Cameroon for ten years.
His Motto: “My personal conviction and my motto is to ‘wash the feet of one another.’ My ideal and my desire is ‘to be given up for you.’ Every Eucharist that I celebrate and every time I say those consecratory prayers, I try to convince myself that my missionary vocation is ‘to be given up’ for others. Every priest, every missionary, every lay person in the family, every Christian needs ‘to be given up’ for the other. Every time we participate in the Eucharistic celebration, we need to become more and more aware of our call – what God expects from each one of us as His children.”
Fr. Dino Vanin, PIME
Fr. Dino Vanin is the PIME U.S Regional Treasurer and a Councilor for the Region. He also assists Fr. Giulio Schiavi, PIME, Pastor of San Francesco Italian Parish in Clinton Twp. MI. Both here, at the Regional House, and at San Francesco, he makes himself available for counseling, spiritual direction, reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as for talks, conferences and retreats.
Date of ordination: June 10, 1972
Mission “home”: Thailand
Childhood memory: “From the earliest age, I inhaled the fragrance of freshly cut wood along with candle soot and incense. Every time my Mom wanted to embarrass me, she would tell her friends that even as young as 5 or 6, I was stealing rags and some discarded garments to say my “dry masses” in the attic.”
Path to the priesthood: “Eventually, looking back over the span of my life, I finally realized that God is pretty smart. He let me think that I enjoyed a decent control over my life when, in reality, He was arranging events and people in such a way that I found myself on the eve of ordination to the Catholic missionary priesthood, without having once said a clear, firm “YES” to Him. In 1957 I entered the PIME pre-high school seminary in Treviso. Subsequently, I wound up in other PIME seminaries: in Lodi first, then in Monza, even in Marino, near Rome, if only for a year. In 1968 God flew me, the guy who still hates changes and traveling, to Oakland, NJ along with other 5 classmates to enter the first year of theology at Darlington Seminary, NJ, even though we could not speak English at all!”
Fr. Giancarlo Ghezzi, PIME
Fr. Giancarlo is the pastor of All Saints Parish in southwest Detroit. He was recently elected as Vice Regional Superior for the U.S. region of PIME.
Favorite meal: “Polenta e stufato,” a typical dish of Milano made of cornmeal porridge served with beef stew.
What he misses most: “Arakan Valley, my first mission in the Philippines. I miss the people and Jango, my horse, my faithful companion in many visits to the villages in the mountains of Mindanao.”
On hearing the call: “There two distinct moments that marked my vocation story. The first was at a Sunday Mass in my home parish when one of the priest announced that he would leave the parish to go to Zambia, as a missionary. For years my home Diocese of Milan [Italy] had been sending diocesan priests to the missions in the Diocese of Kariba; Fr. Joseph wanted to be one of them. The announcement came as a shock, and from that moment of I started reading about Africa and missions and I could see myself as a missionary in Africa.
The second episode that marked my story was at the Thanksgiving Mass of a newly ordained PIME Missionary. During the homily a wild thought crossed my mind: ‘Now there is a vacancy in the PIME Seminary, you must fill it.’ The first episode marked the beginning of my vocation discernment, the second was the confirmation that God was calling me to join PIME.”
Challenges in missionary life: “Language was certainly a challenge, but not as difficult as adapting to a new culture. I loved Filipino generosity and hospitality but I had a hard time in reconciling with their sense of resignation; ‘bahala na’ — come what may.”
Advice to the discerning: “Many times I have experienced God’s presence in my life and I can say that God is faithful, He keeps his promises. Do not be afraid to say ‘Yes!’”
Fr. Phil Mayfield, PIME
Fr. Phil is the Rector of the PIME House in Detroit. Ordained in 1978, he served in the missions of Papua New Guinea for 18 years. When he’s not at “home” making sure things are running smoothly for his brother priests, he can be found offering spiritual direction or serving at a variety of local parishes.
Fr. George Berendt, PIME
Fr. George is a native Detroiter who spends much of his time ministering in local hospitals. He served as a missionary to the people of Japan for ten years.
Hobbies: “I like to grow vegetables and flowers in containers in our garden. My favorite flower is the sunflower.”
Favorite food: I like ‘miso ramen.’ It a Japanese soup and noodle dish that has miso in it for flavor.
Vocation discernment tips: I guess I would ask a potential candidate is how willing are you to live in a culture and country that is distant from family and friends and so many things that you are familiar with. Can you feel comfortable living in a place that is unlike the place you grew up in, can you learn a foreign language, can you eat different foods and maybe even have to live a life that is a lot more simple and basic than the life you know here in the USA?
Favorite Scripture: Any part of the Bible that shows us how forgiving, caring God is towards us.
Bucket list: I would like to visit Spain and especially the city of Barcelona and Gaudi’s church of the Holy Family. I would like to see the aurora borealis.
Inspired by: Dorothy Day; people who are members of the Sojourners.
His vocation was encouraged by: My grandma encouraged me to think about the priesthood. She wanted me to be a priest here in the diocese of Detroit but after I met some PIME priests I began to think more about the missionary priesthood.
Fr. Ken Mazur, PIME
Fr. Ken Mazur, a native Detroiter, was the Regional Superior of PIME in the U.S. from 2005 to 2015. He had been in Japan for 13 years before being asked to return to the States to serve here.
Formed, not “called”: “Ever since I was a child, I thought I wanted to become a priest. As I grew, I was confirmed in that, but I never really felt a “call.” It was more of a growing feeling that this is “right.” I have talked to others in religious life, and many of them share this as their “call.”
Biggest challenge in missionary life: Learning Japanese.
Hobbies: “Sports. Sports. And some sports. Mostly watching them, although when I was younger, I also participated, more than I do now.
I used to love to travel and visit different places. In fact, I think that somehow that contributed to me becoming a foreign missionary. My position requires me to travel now, so I enjoy it less. Did I mention sports?”
Favorite Scripture: Psalm 46, verse 10: “Be still and know that I am God.” This typifies my way of connecting with God, of prayer. In silence, acknowledging God’s presence and how I gain strength in my faith.
Fr. Ravi Marneni, PIME
Fr. Ravi is the pastor of St. Francis d’Assisi – St. Hedwig Parish in Southwest Detroit. Ordained in 2003, he was born in Nalgonda, India.
Fr. Giulio Schiavi, PIME
Fr. Giulio is the pastor of San Francesco Italian Parish in Clinton Township, Michigan. Ordained in 1963, he has served in the missions of Bangladesh (from 1963 to 1980) and Papua New Guinea (from 1980 to 1986 and from 1990 to 1995.)
Fr. Giorgio Ferrara, PIME
Fr. Giorgio Ferrara serves at St. Ann’s Church in Harlem, New York. Born in Milan, he spent 17 years as a missionary in Japan.
What he misses about Japan: Japanese efficiency, crowded trains, cherry blossoms and noodles. But not sushi.
In his spare time: He loves cleaning. “Give me a room stuffed with dirty, dusty, unused old things you want to get rid of and I will be happy to help you!”
Favorite foods: Father’s eclectic tastes include a love for noodles, cheese, ham, minestrone soup, Japanese Nabeyaki, Korean Kimuchi and his newfound delight, Detroit Coney Dogs.
Childhood memory: “One morning I was helping my mom to remake the beds when she stopped, and pointing at a priest who was praying the breviary on the church’s porch, she told me ‘Wouldn’t you like to become like him?'”
Advice for the discerner: “Make sure that your relationship with Jesus is a strong one. Have desires of great things in your heart. Dream about your future. Make room for Jesus in your daily life. Read and read and read the Gospel.”
On his trip wish list: Fr. Giorgio has traveled a great deal but would still like to visit “China, Vietnam, Iceland, and Alaska.”
What he thinks of Americans: “I like the openess of heart and mind you have [and] your welcoming [attitude to] newcomers…your good public spirit and the respect you have for the things that belong to others or to the country. I [have]met many Americans who are easygoing and enjoyable.”
Favorite Parable: That of the poor widow who gave all she had to the Temple treasure.
Loves: The Virgin Mary and the Holy Rosary; little St.Therese, and St. John Mary Vianney.
Fr. Vijay Marneni, PIME
Fr. Vijay works with Fr. Giorgio at St. Ann’s Parish in Harlem. A cousin to Fr. Ravi, he was ordained in 2004.
Fr. Fabrizio Meroni, PIME
Fr. Fabrizio was assigned to the U.S. Region in 2013; he is currently teaching at the Catholic University of America in Washington. He obtained his Doctorate of Theology in Rome. Fr. Fabrizio spent many years in Brazil as a professor and in a variety of administrative positions including that of director of the Center for Culture and Christian Formation and Coordinator of University Pastoral Ministry for the Archdiocese of Belém do Pará.
Fr. Rinaldo “Ronnie” Boccali, PIME
Fr. Ronnie hails from Zurich, Switzerland. A convert from the National Evangelical Church, he was ordained in 1960. Fr. Boccali taught at PIME’s seminary in Newark, Ohio for 26 years. There he taught German (his native tongue) Latin, Religion and Photography and served as Dean of Students and Vice Rector. Besides teaching, Fr. Boccali also provided spiritual direction, assisted by his studies at the Dominican School of Spirituality in Chicago, and provided the sacraments at nearby Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish. Since 2003 he has served as retired priest-in-residence at St. Leonard Parish in Heath, Ohio.