Local kidney donor found on Facebook

Dale Riggle from St. Johns was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old. By the time he was 35, he needed a new kidney, so he took to Facebook to find a match.

On January 13 Dale wrote:
Time to celebrate! There are good people in this world. John Thelen, a stranger to me, has decided to give me a wonderful gift. He has heard my call for help and with a huge heart he has extended my life by offering me his kidney. Me and my family are forever grateful! It takes a great person to do this. I can’t wait for the opportunity to extend my life and spend it with my love ones. Thank you very much, John; this is unbelievable you are so kind the world needs more people like you. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers wile we go through surgery.

John Thelen said, “I first became aware of his need – I guess it came across my feed. I’m not quite sure how because we weren’t friends at the time,”

John was a match. The surgery took place on February 18, and it was successful.

On February 21 John wrote:
It’s really hard to know the right words to say today. ‘THANK YOU’ is what first comes to mind, for the unbelievable amount of prayers and positive thoughts being offered for Dale Riggle and me. Many being offered from friends of friends . . . people we have never met.
The calmness we both experienced leading up to Thursday’s kidney transplant surgeries, I believe is the result of all the prayers that were offered for us.
We both continue to get stronger every day.
I will never underestimate the power of prayer.
GOD is good!

A Maintenance Man’s Viewpoint of St. Joseph Parish
courtesy of Dave Klein

I work at St Joseph’s Catholic Church and school in St. Johns. I am there maintenance and custodial supervisor.
I’ve been here a little over 3 years. Last Saturday night I felt moved to write a small little article about the church and school.

If you ever get a chance to go to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in St Johns Michigan, and spend some quiet, quality time with Jesus in prayer or attend a weekday or weekend Mass, you may notice how the Lord is
present among the entire parish.

You might not notice right away, but there is a large group of helping, caring Christian members who share and keep St Joe’s alive and focused on Jesus and his Word. I see this firsthand in many different ways as I work through my day, weaving from the church through the school maintaining and fixing the facilities as a maintenance/custodial supervisor. I am blessed to touch base on a daily basis with many of the staff and parishioners as they work to fulfill their daily ministry duties.

We are blessed with a great group of deacons and one awesome Pastor, Father Mike Williams, with his undeniable sense of humor and passion to keep the church and school focused on Jesus and his teachings.

Also , there is an excellent business manager with a dedicated secretarial staff. In addition to that , there is a vibrant youth group, adult formation, men’s groups, KofCs and Average Joe , Grief Ministries, St. Monica’s Auxiliary group , and the list goes on. The school is made up of a gifted, and focused principle with his super teaching staff. These excellent , caring teachers who seem to be picked from above, each filling their role according to the academic and spiritual needs of their students.

The cafeteria supervisor and the kitchen helpers are top notch producing healthy and tasty wonderful meals for the many students that attend the school.

There is a great group of indoor and outdoor volunteers that help watch the students on their recess time.
The Custodial staff are very professional and take pride in keeping our facilities clean and extremely sanitary for a healthy learning and living environment.

There are many volunteers at the school and church. They are like a bowl of rice, almost too hard to count. What these volunteers do is phenomenal, and it would take many words to cover all their volunteer ministries. If you add in all the many great parishioner families to the team and put it all together, it’s like we are all tied together at St. Joe’s in a huge Christian net, focused on proclaiming the faith in Jesus Christ.

Remember When – Thelen receives award in 2012

John Thelen is shown holding the honor plaque presented by Kiwanis President Marcia Peterson

The initial of six Kiwanis club objectives cites the “primacy of the human and spiritual rather than the material values of life.” In keeping with that principle club members annually recognize someone outside its membership as beneficiary of the Terry Cornwell Human and Spiritual Values Award. This year’s honoree is John Thelen.
In announcing the selection, Chris Bouck explained that “human and spiritual values have many different sides, and a person who is spiritual is trustworthy, honorable, hard-working, calm, loving and charitable. In John, these qualities are constant.” The attribute is made evident through John’s activities as a father, his work as a member of the Smith Funeral Home family, his dealing with friends and, in particular, his years of work with the St. Vincent DePaul organization.

John has long been involved with St. Vincent DePaul, serving the past six years as its president. Under his leadership, the number of volunteer workers grew from 20 to over 100. In addition, he directed a move from somewhat crowded quarters in downtown St. Johns to a more spacious setting at Southpoint Mall, which allowed expansion of services to patrons and those in need. Over the years, the organization has raised over $800,000.00 to assist people with food, rent, mortgages, gasoline, medicine and other daily life requirements. While his central focus has been St. Vincent, John has been influential while assisting programs conducted by Hospice of Clinton County and the St. Johns Ministerial Association.

John’s wife, Judi, has been asked about the difficulty of having to “share John with so many people.” Her response is that life is unimaginable any other way. She explains that one of his personal qualities attracting her to him was his compassion for humanity. “He always goes the extra mile to help others,” she commented, “and I’m very proud of him and all that he has done for so many. That’s not sharing; it’s watching John do what he loves to do.”
John and Judi reside in St. Johns with their children, Ben, a senior, Sarah, a sophomore and Emily an eighth grader.

Letters – More about the church and its windows

God truly works in mysterious ways!

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their thoughts and comments in the St. Johns Community forum following my publication regarding the closure of our church building and the plans to eventually demolish the building on the corner of Mead and Walker Streets. The lively discussion on the forum has led to some interesting developments.

First of all, a member of our community, who I’ve known for some time, has come forward to volunteer her time in developing a ‘save the church’ site, and has expressed an interest in seeking out possible grants at the state and federal levels earmarked for historic restoration efforts. You have my thanks, Wendy, for your commitment to this effort. I will coordinate the efforts of our foundation in this process. You can count on me to do whatever I am able in this regard.

Second, I have prayed extensively for guidance from God and I have concluded that, God does not want our church building to be privately or commercially repurposed. It was built as a house of worship – a home for our Lord, and it should continue as such or be torn down and not otherwise defiled. This is what the Episcopal Bishop, who passed the church property on to me in 2011 also held dear. He was very pleased that I pledged to continue using the church property as a place for prayer and worship. If that would not have been possible, he was prepared to raise the building. Consequently, it is my intention to eventually transfer our property to another pastor / church, when the time comes. The church on the corner was consecrated as a house of God by me on September 18, 2011. You do not simply ‘un-consecrate’ a house of worship. If it can no longer be used for the purpose it has been created, the proper ecclesiastical solution to do is demolish it. A church is a standing monument to God and not to a local community or organization. Thus, it falls under the preview of God’s rules and not on men.

Third, in the meantime, I commit to working closely with Wendy, to harvest any and all resources that may be available for church restoration. At the time of assuming possession of the church property, such funds had dried up, and with the onset of the Biden Administration, things may not be improving in that regard. Nonetheless, I intend to be prayerfully hopeful for a positive outcome. Grants, when they become available typically require matching funds to access and are usually in small amounts. With the kind of work that needs to be done, we will need many grants, if such become possible. I am committing a maximum of 12 months to this effort. If it seems like the effort is productive, even minimally, this time frame can be extended. This means that all salvaging projects will cease at this time and I am placing a moratorium on the issue of demolition.

Fourth, there were a large number of comments in the Community forum that reflected positive experiences in or admiration of our church building. Some of these comments moved me deeply. As a result, I am formally inviting everyone who made comments in the direction of saving the building, to consider a small regular donation toward the effort of restoration. I pledge to match each donation, dollar-for-dollar. Once restored, I pledge to open the church as a prayer site to the entire St. Johns community. We will also place a donation tree in the vestibule of the church, naming all contributors.

Lastly, I will diligently seek a pastor / church, that may be interested in our property in the event that the restoration effort does not bear fruit.
Bishop George J. Drozd
The Divine Mercy Parish
The Celtic Rite Ministry Of The Old Catholic Archdiocese Of Michigan And Oregon


I wrote to the MSU Stained Glass Database folks at the MSU museum.

Here is the advice about who might wish to take the stained glass, if there is no other outlet to preserve it from the wrecking ball.

Since I don’t know much about local conditions in St. Johns now that I only visit once or twice a month, please share this information if you think it will help to save the art from a terrible fate.

Guven Witteveen

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – How to Convert Dog Years to Human Years

Is one human year equal to seven “dog years” when it comes to a dog’s age? Recent studies have shown that this isn’t exactly true.

We all want our dogs to live forever, and we want to know how our dog’s age relates to human years. So what are dog years, and how do you calculate dog years in human terms?

Here’s everything you need to know to convert dog years to human years—and to understand the science behind it.

What Are Dog Years?

Does One Dog Year Equal Seven Human Years?

Multiplying your dog’s age by seven may be easy to do, but it won’t accurately convert dog years to human years.

That’s because dogs mature more quickly than humans do in their early years. In fact, the first year of a dog’s life is equivalent to the first 12-15 of a human’s! The second year of a dog’s life equals about 9-10 human years, while each year after that is worth about 4-5 human years.

So 1 year in dog years could equal anywhere from 4 to 15 human years, depending on which life stage your dog is in, as well as their size.

Additionally, smaller breeds tend to have longer life spans than larger breeds. Smaller dogs are usually considered senior at the age of 7, while large breed dogs might be considered seniors at ages 5 or 6.

Why Do Small Breed Dogs Live Longer Than Large Breed Dogs?

The reasons why small dogs have longer life spans than larger breed dogs aren’t completely understood. In fact, throughout the rest of the animal kingdom, the opposite tends to be true—larger animals usually outlive smaller ones.

But veterinarians see larger breeds age at a faster rate, and they tend to see age-related diseases at a younger age in larger breeds than in small dogs.

Research from the University of Gottingen in Germany shows that every increase in 4.4 pounds reduces life expectancy by approximately one month. Lead researcher of this study, Cornelia Kraus, speculates that because larger breeds age faster and grow more quickly, the abnormal cell growth found in cancers is more likely to occur.

Other researchers have theorized that because large breed dogs age faster, they also develop age-related diseases earlier in their lives. Another theory is that small dogs might tend to be “pampered”—carried around in purses or kept inside, for example—while large dogs tend to lead a more active lifestyle, doing things like hiking, boating, and running. That more active lifestyle comes with risks, which could lead to an earlier mortality.

Why Do Dogs Age So Fast Compared to Humans?

The Dog Aging Project has launched an ongoing, long-term initiative to study the biological and environmental factors that maximize dog health and longevity.

The goal is to understand how genes, lifestyle, and environment influence a dog’s aging process. You can even nominate your dog to be a part of the Dog Aging Project by visiting their website at https://dogagingproject.org.

Remember, yearly visits to your veterinarian can help prevent, detect, or slow age-related diseases, potentially helping your pet to live longer.