BISHOP BARAGA ASSOCIATION ADVISORY BOARD
Very Rev. Timothy Ferguson: Chaplain
Father Tim Ferguson serves as priest for St. Joseph and St. Patrick of Escanaba, MI. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2015 and served for a few months at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette before serving at Marygrove Retreat Center in Garden, MI. He was born and raised in Saginaw, MI, and entered the seminary right out of high school, in 1985. After seven years of seminary formation, he left and drifted through different jobs at a retreat center, in restaurants, a publishing company, and a gold mining company before settling in as a parish secretary at St. Dominic’s Parish in San Francisco. During his time of discernment between leaving the seminary and returning, he came to know about Bishop Baraga, and read about his heroic exploits, his strong devotion to the faith and to God’s people, and his tenacity.
James A. Surrell, M.D.: President
Dr. James Surrell has been working with the Bishop Baraga Sainthood efforts in the Diocese of Marquette with documentation sent to the Vatican for review. He also gives PowerPoint presentations regarding the history of the many significant contributions made by Bishop Baraga throughout the great Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Dr. Surrell is a board-certified colorectal surgeon and holds fellowship status in both the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. In addition to his best selling SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet book, Dr. Surrell has authored many articles in various medical journals. He recently published his latest book, The ABC’s For Success In All We Do.
Deacon John P. Vidmar, PhD: Vice President
Dr. John Vidmar is the permanent deacon at the Slovenian Catholic Mission in Lemont, IL, which is part of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is the treasurer for a diaconal ministry, Hope’s On The Way, which serves as second responders to natural disasters and supports various ministries in the Chicago Archdiocese. He has also lectured in Homilitecs in the Diaconate Formation program and serves as a facilitator in the Emmaus program, a mentoring program for newly ordained deacons. He sits on the board for Villa St. Benedict, a senior housing complex in Lisle, IL, which is part of the Benedictine Health Systems headquartered in Duluth, MN. He serves as the Honorary Consul for Slovenia for Illinois. He is a social scientist by training and serves as the Chairman for the US Ipsos Public Affairs, a division which conducts policy research using survey methods for the federal government and international agencies as well as Thomson Reuters News Service. Prior to Ipsos, Dr. Vidmar was on the staff at the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois and was a lecturer in various academic departments. He has been involved in the Baraga Canonization Cause since he was a teenager growing up in the Slovenian community of Cleveland, OH. He was named Baraga Man of the Year in 2013.
Jerry Parodo resides in Manawa, Wisconsin with his wife, Anita. He has four children. Jerry is retired from the Television and Telecommunication industry where he worked for many years. He is a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers. Jerry is a Navy Veteran with 7 years of service. Jerry is a lifetime member of the Bishop Baraga Association and actively promotes Venerable Bishop Baraga’s cause for canonization.
Lore Ann Parent
Lore Ann Parent was born and raised in Marquette, MI. She majored in Business/Restaurant Management while attending Northern Michigan University. After graduation Lore Ann moved to Seattle, Washington and later to Alaska to work in the entertainment industry. In 1985, Lore Ann returned to the Marquette area to pursue her career and to help care for her family, as her father had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
She has held numerous chair positions for local organizations and has been instrumental in fundraising for countless events. Besides her business work, she studied and developed talents in the restorative art field, acquiring 26 years of experience restoring several hundreds of ceramic, metal, and marble pieces. She also had the wonderful opportunity of restoring “The Stations of the Cross” in the Holy Cross Cemetery, taking 521 hours for completion. She is an illustrator, oil painter, and photographer.
Mary Ann Biscorner-Dick
Mary Ann is the mother of three wonderful children, grandmother of four, and wife to husband, Marvin Dick. She was born and raised in the Detroit area, attending Catholic schools her entire life and was a teen representative to Cardinal Dearden’s 1967-68 Synod. Having lived the biggest part of her life in Monroe County, she retired from Monroe County Community College, working as a Workforce Development Specialist.
After retirement, the couple moved to Sugar Island, near Sault Sainte Marie, where they became active in the community and mission church, Sacred Heart. Mary serves as Eucharist Minister, Lector, Social Director, and on the Parish Council. It was through her involvement at Sacred Heart that drew her to work on the Holy Angels Restoration Project, one of the few remaining missions built by Bishop Baraga. Delving into the local church history as well as tracing Bishop Baraga’s assignments throughout Michigan, Mary found that her Catholic faith has taken on another dimension. It is her hope that the work on Holy Angels Church will bring to the forefront the impact and sacrifice that Bishop Baraga made for the community.
Sandy Jurkovich is a member of St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. She and her husband, Bob, came to Marquette in 1976 to finish their education at Northern Michigan University and never left! They have three children, Fr. Robb Jurkovich, Anne (Jurkovich) & Adam Lund, and Jay and Breanna (Cretens) Jurkovich. They also have five grandchildren. Sandy taught elementary school for 25 years and has been retired for five. She is very active with the Women Caring and Serving/Altar Society women’s group at St. Peter as well as the Hospitality Committee which her husband, Bob, heads. Bob and Sandy have been long-time members of the Bishop Baraga Association and Sandy has served on the Bishop Baraga Education Center committee since its inception. She is looking forward to serving on the Bishop Baraga Advisory Board as we all pray for his cause to sainthood.
Danny J. Garceau, Waabijiizi Ma’iingan (He is a Grey Wolf)
H. John Vincent (Garceau)
New to the Advisory Board is H. John Vincent! John was born in Ontonagon, Michigan, left the U.P. for years, and then returned to attend school an Ishpeming and graduate from Ishpeming High School. John has been married for 45 years, has four grown children, and nine grandchildren (one in heaven). After graduation John joined the US Coast Guard and was stationed at Air Station Traverse City as an aviation machinist mate, and was an air rescue crewman aboard the helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. Upon leaving the Coast Guard, John attended Palmer Chiropractic College and practiced as a chiropractic physician for 22 years in Wisconsin. John was ordained a deacon in the Diocese of Green Bay in 2005, and began ministering as a full time hospital chaplain in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. John currently is ministering part time in the Green Bay area as a hospice chaplain while still living in Manitowoc with his wife, Arlene. John enjoys reading, praying, hiking/walking, kayaking and biking, anything with the family, hanging out with his brother, riding his Harley, and anything outdoors. John feels a spiritual connection with Bishop Baraga and is inspired by Bishop Baraga’s commitment, zeal in spreading God’s word and love, and compassion for the Native People and early settlers of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. John has a connection with Bishop Baraga in that John has ancestors that helped build the first Catholic Church on Madeline Island, and had ancestors that were married and baptized by Bishop Baraga.
New to the Advisory Board is Curtis Chambers! Mr. Chambers lives in Cheboygan, Michigan with his wife, Jane. Together they have three sons, Justin, Levi and Jeremy. Mr. Chambers is a retired harbormaster, a St. Mary/St. Charles parishioner, and an active outdoorsman. For Mr. Chambers, an interest in Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga heightened in 2002. While doing tribal research as chairman of the Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Mr. Chambers became aware of the sacrifices that Bishop Baraga made for the Native Americans of the Great Lakes Region. Deeply influenced by Bishop Baraga’s work, Mr. Chambers undertakes annual snowshoe pilgrimages. Traveling distances of 125-150 miles in subzero temperatures, he averages 20 miles a day. His relationship with God and with Bishop Baraga inspired his first pilgrimage and every one since.