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.
Fr. Dat Tran, CSP
Fr. Dat 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. Dat grew up in northern California and studied Political Science and American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where he first met the Paulist Fathers. He joined the Paulists in 2004 and was ordained a priest in 2011. His first assignment was Associate Pastor at Saint Paul the Apostle parish in Los Angeles. From there, he moved to Newman Hall – Holy Spirit Parish in Berkeley, CA, as Associate Pastor and Campus Minister. From 2016 until this year, he has served as the Paulist Father’s Vocation Director based in New York City.
Phone: 616.456-1454 ext.1905
Fr. Mike Cruickshank, CSP
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.
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
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
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
Gabe Estrada is originally from Alice, Texas and has lived in the Grand Rapids area since 1987. Gabe has been playing Guitar with church choirs at different parishes including Mary Queen of Apostles Parish in Sand Lake, St. Bartholomew Parish in Newaygo, Shrine of St. Francis Xavier and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Grand Rapids and is currently the Co-Director of the Hispanic Choir at the Cathedral of St. Andrew Parish. Gabe and his Wife Elizabeth have a son and a daughter and live in Kent City. Gabe served in the U.S. Army as an Administrative Specialist in Seoul, South Korea and Ft. Meade, Maryland. Gabe works full time with the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as an Assistant Payment Worker for 12 years. Gabe other passion is being a Mariachi/Ranchera Singer for the past 25 years singing at weddings, quinceañeras, baptisms and other various events in the West Michigan area.
Phone: 616.459.7267 ext. 1803
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
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.