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A priest for more than 57 years, Father Don Henkes’ funeral Mass to be celebrated on Tuesday, Nov. 28

Father Donald Edward Henkes, a priest of the Diocese of Saginaw, died on Nov. 21, 2023. He served generously as a priest for more than 57 years. Father Henkes was known for his ministry with youth whom he served for decades as a teacher and spiritual father.

Father Henkes was born on April 17, 1940 in Chicago. He is the son of the late Edward and Marie (Casey) Henkes. Father Henkes received his elementary education at St. Christina School and St. Thomas More School in Chicago and his secondary education at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago. He began his priestly formation at St. Bernard College in Cullman, Ala., where he studied philosophy. Father Henkes studied theology at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. He also received a master’s degree in education from Loyola University Maryland. 

Father Henkes was ordained to the priesthood on May 28, 1966 by Bishop Romeo Blanchette at the Cathedral of St. Raymond Nonnatus in Joliet, Ill.  

Father Henkes served in parishes and Catholic high schools in several states including Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Montana and Alaska. Father Henkes also ministered as a chaplain at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. 

In the Diocese of Saginaw, Father Henkes was a teacher at Nouvel Catholic Central High School in Saginaw and Sacred Heart Academy in Mount Pleasant. He also served as associate pastor at Sacred Heart in Mount Pleasant and as sacramental minister at St. Henry in Rosebush (now Our Lady of Hope Parish) and St. Charles in Leaton. Father Henkes was incardinated into the Diocese of Saginaw in 2006 and became a senior priest in 2015. A full obituary is available here. 

Memorials may be made to Sacred Heart Academy for tuition assistance or to the Isabella County Homeless Shelter. 

Funeral Details 

Father Henkes’ funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. at Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 302 S. Kinney Ave., Mount Pleasant. The Most Rev. Robert D. Gruss, Bishop of Saginaw, will preside, Father Loren Kalinowski will concelebrate and Father Fred Kawka will be the homilist. The Rite of Committal will take place at Calvary Cemetery. 

Visitation will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. before the funeral Mass at Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Church.  Visitation will also take place on Monday, Nov. 27 at Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Church from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ending with a Vigil for the Deceased led by Deacon Jim Damitio starting at 7 p.m.