Welcome

We serve Catholics and spiritual seekers in Western Michigan by offering classes and programs to help people learn, celebrate, live and pray the Catholic Faith. We also offer institutes to equip Catholics with knowledge and skills to become leaders in their parishes.

Come visit us to find out more!

Our Mission

The Catholic Information Center offers a deeper and more reflective awareness of the faith for those who are already members of the Catholic Church.  We also invite seekers from other faiths or no faith at all to an understanding of the teachings and way of life of the Catholic Church. Our courses are offered in the welcoming spirit of the Paulist Fathers whose mission is to give the Good News of Jesus a voice in today’s world.

Our Staff

Fr. René Constanza, CSP

Executive Director

Fr. Rene is a member of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (Paulist Fathers). He is Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew and oversees the mission of the Catholic Information Center.  Fr. Rene was born in Belize and is the 7th of 9 children. He did his undergraduate studies at Spalding University and graduate studies in higher education administration at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. Prior to getting his Masters of Divinity (with concentration on Hispanic Ministry) at the Catholic University of America in D.C. and being ordained a priest in 2012, he was principal of a Catholic diocesan high school in Belize.

Fr. Rene has a passion for evangelization, young adult ministry, Hispanic ministry and ecumenism, which was fueled by Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel” where Pope Francis highlights the importance of Christians to put aside suspicion and work to build trust as “pilgrim people journeying alongside one another.”

Phone: 616.456-1454 ext.1905
Email: fatherrene@cathedralofsaintandrew.org

Fr. Mike Cruickshank, CSP

Associate Director

Paulist Fr. Mike Cruickshank is from Chelmsford, MA and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He then worked as a financial advisor in New York City after college. Fr. Mike met the Paulist Fathers at the mother church, the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in NYC, where he was active in the parish’s vibrant young adult ministry. He was ordained on May 22, 2021 and became Associate Pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew on July 1, 2021. His ministries include Young Adult Ministry and the Cathedral Social Action Team.

Phone: 616.456.1914
Email:fathermike@cathedralofsaintandrew.org

Mark Mann

Director of Programming and Institutes

Mark Mann is a native of Grand Rapids and has been involved in pastoral ministry since high school. His first full-time position was directing parish youth ministry at Holy Trinity in Comstock Park; that was in 1991. Most recently, he served as the director of Family, Youth, and Young Adult Ministries for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. He received a Master of Pastoral Theology from Loyola University New Orleans. He and his wife Cami live here in Grand Rapids. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Phone: 616.459.7267 ext. 1801
Email: mmann@catholicinformationcenter.org

Sean Donovan

Director of Religious Education

Sean Donovan coordinates religious education and youth ministry at the Cathedral of St. Andrew. He has worked in the Diocese of Grand Rapids for the past 20 years as a parish staff member and elementary school principal.  He received his B.S. from The United States Military Academy, West Point and his M.Div. from The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.  He grew up on a small family farm in upstate New Hampshire.  When he wasn’t mucking out horse stalls, feeding the pigs, or splitting wood for the kitchen stove, he spent much of his youth backpacking through the White Mountains.  He served as an Airborne Ranger in several light infantry units, based in Georgia, Hawaii, and Alaska, and he has traveled throughout the United States, Japan, Korea, China, Guam, and Panama.  However, West Michigan is where his heart resides.  In addition to helping children, youth and their parents encounter Christ Jesus as the Cathedral’s Director of Religious Education, he enjoys re-discovering God’s love with his wife, daughter, two cats, and an overly enthusiastic Weimaraner mix monster puppy.

Phone: 616.456.1454 ext. 1913
Email:sdonovan@cathedralofsaintandrew.org

Amanda Koch

Administrative Assistant

Amanda is responsible for hospitality, database management, scheduling and calendar systems, social media updating, and coordinating materials and information for meetings, events and presentations. Amanda and her husband moved to Michigan from Kansas to pursue his dream of working in the bowling ball industry. They have one daughter, who attends Holy Spirit Elementary School and is enthusiastic about art and singing. She and her family enjoy playing with their three cats, reading, board games, and spending time with their friends.

Phone: 616.459.7267 ext. 1803
Email: akoch@catholicinformationcenter.org

Eulene Freeland

Director of Communications

Eulene Freeland has worked for the Paulist Fathers for over 20 years. She has been the Director of Communications for the Cathedral of Saint Andrew for over 10 of those years. She provides guidance to the CIC staff for print, web, and social media communications. Her office is located in the Cathedral offices at 215 Sheldon SE.

Phone: 616.456.1454 ext. 1904
Email: eulene@cathedralofsaintandrew.org

Ivonne Smith

Evening Receptionist

Ivonne was born and raised in Mexico City where she studied Business Administration at the Facultad de Contaduría y Administración in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. She moved to Michigan in 2002, almost a year after marrying her husband, Marty. This experience helped her to have a higher understanding, value and respect for the people that come to this great country in search of a better life. Knowing that there is an even better life to be reached, promised by our Lord Jesus Christ, she and her husband decided to give their two children the opportunity to grow in their relationship with God by providing a Catholic education at All Saints Academy and West Catholic High School.

She enjoys working for God, by being part of the RCIA Ministry since 2014 at St. Jude Parish in Grand Rapids, where she is parishioner, working as secretary for Holy Trinity Church in Comstock Park since 2018, and now working as receptionist at the Catholic Information Center.

Phone: 616.459.7267 ext.1803
Email: ismith@catholicinformationcenter.org

Our History

The Catholic Information Center of Grand Rapids has physically existed in three different locations and has undergone numerous changes over its 69 year history. When the first two Paulists arrived here in July of 1947, there was no Information Center. Together, the two Paulist priests conducted pulpit dialogues for non-Catholics in St. Andrew’s Cathedral and St. Stephen’s church. They also alternated in giving radio talks and conducting retreats. The Paulist’s mission was spread through their zeal and enthusiasm to many lay people in the Grand Rapids area forming the nucleus for the first center community even before it had its own facility to call home.

With the help, support, and prayers of this growing community and of the diocese, a building at 329 Monroe Ave, NW was purchased and renovated. Although this first building was initially purchased by the diocese, it was the increasing dedication of the Center community which provided the donations of cash and material to renovate and furnish their new home.

Renovation of the building formerly known as Jack’s Cut Rate, a men’s and boy’s clothing store was started on September 28, 1947. On May 28, 1948, the first Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids was dedicated by Bishop Haas and the cornerstone was blessed and laid. On June 4, 1948, the Center’s Chapel of Christ the King was also dedicated and blessed Bishop Haas.

During this time the Center community continued to grow and to assist in the Paulist mission. The Center’s home on Monroe fell victim to urban renewal in 1964. Through the tremendous efforts of the dedicated Paulist staff and the members of the Center community, the building at 246 Ionia Avenue, NW, was obtained and renovated. The new Center and Chapel of Christ the King were dedicated by Bishop Allen Babcock on March 21, 1965 and word of the Center continued to spread and its work expand.

Several renovations occurred during the years the Center was located on Ionia Street. The first was the new brick facade that was added in 1977. The brick facade replaced the badly deteriorating exterior stone and stucco. By the 1980?s both the Paulist staff and members of the Center community felt the need to renovate the Center once again. Renovations to the chapel were felt to be important for several reasons. Additional seating was needed to accommodate the large number of people gathering for worship. More efficient and effective heating was needed and the chapel space needed to be barrier free to allow access to handicapped member of the community. The newly renovated chapel was dedicated on Sunday, September 9, 1984 by Bishop Joseph M. Breitenbeck.

A new chapter began for the Paulist Father’s Catholic Information Center on July 1, 2008 when the Center left its Ionia Street location for Cathedral Square in order to expand its evangelization ministry in full partnership with the Diocese of Grand Rapids. We are now located on the second floor of the Cathedral Square Building, in a space especially designed for adult religious education. Our location in Cathedral Square has placed us in close collaboration with other diocesan ministries enabling us to be of greater service to the people of our diocese.

The first CIC on Monroe St.

The CIC on Ionia St.

The CIC on Ionia St with renovated façade.

Chapel of St. Paul at CIC on Ionia St.

Current site of the CIC at Cathedral Square.

About the Paulists

The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle (“The Paulist Fathers”) is a community of Catholic priests who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through mission preaching, media, campus ministries, parishes, downtown centers, the arts and more.

Led by the Holy Spirit, the Paulists focus on evangelization (reaching out), reconciliation (bringing peace) and ecumenical and interfaith relations (seeking unity).

Every day, across the Internet and airwaves, in bookstores and campus centers and in communities and churches, Paulists navigate between the spiritual and the secular to meet every person at any point on the journey of faith.