Friday, July 14, 2017

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish (St. Joseph Church, Dearborn)


St. Joseph Parish began on December 13, 1942, as a mission outreach of Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn. Because it was during World War II, and resources were diverted to the military, the congregation rented a store at the corner of Greenfield and Rotunda. Msgr. Sharpe immediately began as administrator and eventually bought ten acres of land for the present church. He left the parish in 1952 and was replaced by Fr. Gerard Brennan who, in turn, celebrated the first Mass in the church on July 19, 1953.

The church was officially dedicated by Cardinal Mooney on September 9th of that year. The church was built at a cost of $130,500 ($1.17 million after inflation). Fr. Brennan was also a professor at Sacred Heart Seminary until Cardinal Dearden relieved him of that office in 1963 and appointed him pastor of St. Joseph.

Fr. Brennan remained at St. Joseph Parish until his retirement in 1990 and a total of 38 years leading the parish. He was replaced by Fr. Adolph Redwick who, in turn, led the parish until his untimely death in March of 2006. Cardinal Maida soon appointed Fr. Terrence Kerner as pastor of both St. Joseph and nearby St. Martha (est. 1954). 
The former St. Martha Church - image source

In 2013, the two parishes merged to form St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish after the namesake's canonization the previous year. The former St. Martha Church was sold to (now former) Oakwood Hospital and the new parish kept the proceeds.

Pews from St. Martha and altar from St. Joseph were given to St. Thomas Aquinas in Detroit. Many other artifacts were moved from St. Martha to St. Kateri including a 3,800 lb. altar, baptismal font, windows, and all other sacred items.

Stained-glass windows, made in Germany during the 1880s, were restored and reinstalled in what is now likely to be their third home in the parish hall.

Fr. Kerner remains pastor today and is assisted by Fr. Gary Morelli, a weekend associate. Fr. Morelli is also chaplain at nearby Oakwood Hospital. Saturday Vigil Mass is at 4:00pm preceded by Reconciliation at 3:00pm. Sunday Masses are at 9:00am and 11:00am. Tuesdays bring Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Noon-6:30pm, followed by Mass at 6:40pm. Daily Mass is also at 9:00am on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

For more info: parish website bulletin archive
For more photos: AOD Film Services

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (Beverly Hills)

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, in Beverly Hills, was established in 1951. The original church was later repurposed and currently is the school gym. The Stations of the Cross were salvaged from the original church and still hang in the current church, built in 1965. 

After their Changing Lives Together campaign, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs began renovation of the church. New floors were added and restorations were completed in December of 2015. The table altar comes from the former St. Louis the King Church in Detroit. 

Multiple statues come from the former St. Gregory the Great, also in Detroit. Among them: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph.

Stained-glass windows are original to the building but were thoroughly cleaned during the restoration.

The baptismal font in the baptstery; a large holy water font and Paschal candle near the main entrance.
The parish operates a K-8 school.

Vatican astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, is one notable alumnus. He returned to the school and church last year to talk about his work and encourage children in their study of science.

Fr. Scott Thibodeau has been pastor since 2009 but will soon be reassigned to Our Lady of the Lakes in Waterford. He will be succeeded by Fr. James Smalarz, current pastor of St. John the Baptist in Monroe.

For more info: parish website + school website
More about the renovation: The Michigan Catholic

Monday, June 19, 2017

Church closures: Our Lady of Grace and St. Mel

Two churches are closing this month, Our Lady of Grace and St. Mel, both in Dearborn Heights. The last Sunday Mass at each church will be this Sunday, 9:30am at OLG and 10:00am at St. Mel, respectively.
Exterior of Our Lady of Grace

The namesake at St. Mel's Church

The final Mass at St. Mel's will be at 6:00pm on Friday, June 30.

Please see the respective bulletins for more info:
Our Lady of GraceSt. Mel

Blog postings about each church:
Our Lady of Grace (Nov. 2016) + St. Mel (Feb. 2017)

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

St. Clare of Montefalco (Grosse Pointe Park)

St. Clare of Montefalco Parish was established in 1927 so the parish is currently celebrating its 90th anniversary. Augustinian priests and Dominican sisters ministered at St. Clare for decades. The parish namesake (d. 1308) was an Augustinian nun and abbess.

In 1951, the Augustinians established Austin Catholic Preparatory School, an all-boys high school a few miles northeast of the church. The school borrowed its name from an Augustinian friary in London. After less than thirty years of operation, the school closed in 1978. A decrease in enrollment and significant drop in available teachers (-33% in six years) forced the closure. 3,212 young men graduated from the school and more than 90% went on to college. In 2011, Augustinians opened another Austin High School, not affiliated with the parish, in Chesterfield. An exhibit at a side entrance remembers the original Austin High School.

The current church was built in 1951 and is located in northeast Grosse Pointe Park, on Mack Avenue, at the east end of Outer Drive, and across from Detroit city limit.

Several emblems and coats of arms at a side door. Among them: Bishop Gallagher, who established the parish, and Cardinal Mooney, archbishop when the church was built.

The coats of arms of Venerable Pope Pius XII and the Order of St. Augustine, respectively.

Symbols of the Eucharist and the four evangelists, respectively, on the front facade.

St. Clare of Montefalco and St. Augustine are shown on the front facade of the church.

St. Clare of Montefalco above a school doorway; Sts. Monica and Augustine above a side doorway to the church.

St. Christopher, with Child Jesus, and St. Joseph.

St. Monica and St. Augustine in the nave windows.

Niches along the both sides of the church are dedicated to Augustinian saints: St. Rita of Cascia and St. Nicholas of Tolentino, respectively.

What was once likely the baptistery is now a small chapel.


Narrow windows depict the sacraments

The tabernacle is located at the Sacred Heart altar on the left.

The Blessed Mother side altar is on the right.

Windows in the west transept depict scenes from the Old Testament; east transept windows depict New Testament scenes.

A large crucifix in the choir loft along with various symbols in the windows.

Stations of the Cross line the perimeters of both transepts.   

Two priests from the Congregation of Saint Michael the Archangel (CSMA) currently minister at St. Clare of Montefalco. Also known as Michaelite Fathers, the order was founded in 1897 by Blessed Bronisław Markiewicz. Likewise, the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Michael the Archangel, also known as Michaelite Sisters, were established soon after. Both are based in Poland and are among the 30 officially recognized groups of the Salesian Family of Don Bosco.

Rev. Andrew Kowalczyk is current pastor, assisted by Fr. Tomasz Wilisowski. The latter was soon be reassigned to St. Andrew in Rochester. In 2010, when Fr. Kowalczyk was assigned to an Ontario parish, he and another Michaelite priest interviewed with Fr. Mitch Pacwa on EWTN.

Sunday Masses are at 9:00am and 11:0am; Saturday Vigil is at 4;00pm, preceded by Confessions 2:30-3:30pm. Daily Mass is at 6:30pm on Tuesdays, 8:00am all other weekdays.

The Detroit Mass Mob will visit St. Clare of Montefalco on September 17. Bishop Józef Dabrowski, CSMA, Diocese of London, Ontario, will celebrate Mass on November 5 and thereby close the parish's anniversary celebration.

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More info about the parish: parish website
More photos of the church: AOD Film Services

More about the Michaelite Fathers:

More about Austin Catholic High School:
WikipediaDetroit Free Press, 1977