GREEN BAY — Deacon Michael Vincent, who will be remembered for his deep love for the church and his commitment to service, died June 26 at age 58.
Deacon Vincent was the longtime director of faith formation at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Green Bay. His service to the parish spanned more than 30 years and also included baptismal ministry, RCIA, catechist formation, adult education, Mardi Gras facilitator, parish picnic chairperson, the annual Care and Share program, Sunday Brunch organizer and Gourmet Meal coordinator.
He also, at one time, directed religious education at St. John the Evangelist and St. Francis Xavier Cathedral parishes as well as the high school department of St. Mary of the Angels Parish, all in Green Bay. In 2002, he was ordained to the diaconate. Serving as a deacon provided an opportunity to extend his ministry, said Deacon Vincent, a Green Bay native.
“Now I will not only teach, but baptize those I have taught as well,” he said in an interview with The Compass in preparation for ordination. “I hope to be present to an even greater element in the parish and serve the many varied needs that the faithful have.”
In 2003, when Bishop David Zubik was named the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, he and Deacon Vincent became fast friends. Deacon Vincent served as Bishop Zubik’s master of ceremonies, traveling with him to parishes and coaching altar servers.
“We worked hard, we played hard and prayed hard,” said Bishop Zubik, who served as homilist at the funeral Mass.
“Salve Regina” (Hail Holy Queen) was the hymn they shared at the end of the evening whether at a parish visit or dinner at a restaurant, explained Bishop Zubik, now bishop of the Diocese of Pittsburgh. “Hail to the Queen, Mother of Mercy” was fitting because “Mike was a man of mercy,” he said.
Bishop Zubik praised Deacon Vincent for the four virtues he displayed: mercy, life, sweetness and hope.
“He was known for helping people rejoice in being who God created them to be,” said Bishop Zubik.
Under Deacon Vincent’s leadership, Ss. Peter and Paul hosted fundraising dining events that attracted guests from outside the parish. The celebrations, including the Gourmet Meal, Taste of Tuscany and special brunches, were about more than good food, said Bishop Zubik.
“Mike the chef displayed his art of cooking and as fabulous as the cooking was,” he said, “the most important part for Mike was the coming together of people. He was always hospitable to welcome the persons of Jesus Christ.”
Bishop Zubik praised the Vincent family for how their lives revolved around the church. Doris Vincent, Deacon Vincent’s wife of 32 years, who died in 2012, served as associate director of the diocesan curia and in parish ministry. Their daughter, Katie Stanczak, teaches theology at Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay.
Bishop Zubik spoke to Deacon Vincent by phone two days prior to his death. Even though his close friend was not able to communicate, Bishop Zubik said that he was thankful for the moment they shared.
“I will always remember how Mike would look for the very person of Jesus Christ in everyone he met,” he said.
The congregation joined in the singing of “Salve Regina” to close the homily.
The funeral Mass was celebrated on June 30 at Ss. Peter and Paul Church with Bishop David Ricken as the celebrant. Concelebrants were Frs. Doug LeCaptain, Tom Farrell and Tony Cirignani, OFM, pastor of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish.
Deacon Tom Mahoney, Deacon Vincent’s close friend, assisted. Deacon Manny Torres, an ordination classmate, served as the master of ceremonies. Burial next to his wife, Doris, followed in St. Joseph Cemetery, Champion.