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. Dat Tran, CSP

Executive Director

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
Email: dtran@grcathedral.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

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

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

Claudia Hallberg

Evening Receptionist

Claudia was born and raised in Mexico; however, she has lived in Michigan since 1999. She studied Industrial Engineering at IEST-Anahuac University in Altamira, Tamaulipas, Mexico, followed by successful completion of ESL programs at GRCC and English courses at Baker College to refine her second language skills. Currently she lives in Newaygo with her husband Ed. They have a daughter, a son, and a grandchild.

Claudia has been actively involved in the community with various nonprofit organizations. She has devoted 23 years of volunteering service at St. Bartholomew Church, guiding parishioners of all ages through their Sacraments, directing the youth group, contributing as an Administrative Assistant and Director of Religious Education for the Hispanic Ministry and as a reader during the Spanish mass. Additionally, her engagement with the Diocese of Grand Rapids includes serving as a member of the Steering Committee for the Pastoral Plan and the V Encuentro, Technology Coordinator for the Institute of Leadership Formation for the Hispanic Ministry, and lately as an evening receptionist at the CIC, aligning with her commitment to serve the Lord in various capacities.

Claudia’s favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13 “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me”

Phone: 616.459.7267 ext. 1803
Email: challberg@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@grcathedral.org

Our History

The Catholic Information Center of Grand Rapids has physically existed in three different locations and has undergone numerous changes over its 75 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.