Wednesday, October 11, 2017

St. Joseph Church (St. Gabriel Parish, Ida)

Ida Township was organized in 1837 and named after Ida M. Taylor, a local civic leader. The small town of Ida was platted in 1868, on the northern edge of the township, and St. Joseph Parish was founded the following year. The current church was built in 1904, near the center of Ida.
St. Joseph Church as it appeared in 1907; attributed to Paul Petosky. Source
Fr. John LaCasse arrived as pastor in 1989 and continued in that role until he was forced to retire due to illness in 2008. Fr. Michael Woroniewicz, then pastor at St. Irene in Dundee, took over as pastor of both parishes in a new cluster. At the time, St. Joseph had 400 families while St. Irene had 300.

In 2013, St. Joseph and St. Irene (est. 1964) merged to form the new parish of St. Gabriel the Archangel and both churches, eight miles apart, remain in operation. However, the parish office have been located at St. Joseph since the merger.

In addition to his responsibilities as pastor, Fr. Woroniewicz also served as Vicar of the Monroe Vicariate and as a part-time homiletics instructor at SS. Cyril & Methodius Seminary. In July of this year, was appointed Rector at the seminary and Fr. Gerard Cupple, previously at St. Mary in Wayne, was assigned to St. Gabriel.
St. Joseph hosts Saturday Vigil Mass at 6:00pm and Sunday Mass at 10:30am. The parish also has Tuesday evening Mass at 7:00pm followed by Confessions.

Six large chandeliers, three on each side, hang over the nave.

Stained-glass windows are colorful and geometric, each one features Art Nouveau flourishes and symbols of the Church.

The Last Supper is depicted on the facade of the high altar, along with grapes, wheat, nd seated angels. A window of the Holy Family is pictured above the altar, although darkened in this evening photo.

Contemporary sculptures of the Holy Family stand on a much older, left side altar. Wooden sculptures of Joseph and an adolescent Jesus, holding a small boat.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Thérèse stand at the back of the church, under the choir loft.

St. Joseph Cemetery stands about one mile south of the church. Some graves, mainly in the northeast section, date back as far as the 1870s.

Many of the founding parishioners were German-speaking immigrants

The cemetery is still active and includes those who passed away earlier this year. 

For more info: bulletin archive + cemetery
About Fr. LaCasse: The Michigan Catholic + Monroe News + obituary
About the parish merger: The Michigan Catholic + Monroe News
Photos: AOD Film Services

Thursday, October 05, 2017

St. Joseph Church (Erie)

An early rendering of St. Joseph Church and rectory

Around 1790, French Canadians began to settle along the western banks of Lake Erie and Maumee Bay. For two decades, Fr. Gabriel Richard ministered to the congregation at Saint Joseph de la Baie Miami. A simple log church was built on the shore in 1819 and, several years later, it was replaced by a frame structure. For two years, 1826-1828, the new church was also used a school until the school was forced to close.

The cornerstone of the current church was laid in 1851 and Bishop Peter Paul LeFevere consecrated the church the following year.

Fr. Henry Rievers made a second attempt at a parochial school in 1855. The Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM Sisters) of Monroe staffed a two-story frame building for four years until the school abruptly closed in 1859.
The first dedicated school building for St. Joseph Parish.
A large group of men (soldiers?) stands in front of the church in 1865.
Fr. Emil Wolstyn built a convent and school in 1914 next to the church, both still stand today. The high school had its first graduating class in June 1919. Since the greatest number of graduates in any one year was eight, the high school was discontinued after 17 years.

In 1971, the elementary school was closed for the third time due to financial difficulties.

After several years of petition from parents, Fr. Robert Haener reopened the school in 1979 with classes for Kindergarten through Grade 2 with another grade added each year. This yearly expansion continued until there were Kindergarten to Grade 8 classes. A pre-kindergarten was added in 1986 and a preschool in 1992. A gymnasium and dining hall were added to the school in 1994.  The Sisters of Notre Dame from Toledo, Ohio, staffed the school for decades and one sister continues to teach there today.

St. Joseph Parish is the second oldest parish in Monroe County and the fourth oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. The church stands less than five miles from the Ohio state line.

Within the last five years, a statue of St. Joseph and Child Jesus was added in front of the main entrance.

The church's steeple was repaired earlier this year.

The beginning of the Gloria is painted above the main doorway.

Our Lady of Fatima stands next to the baptismal font while the Sacred Heart of Jesus stand next to the St. Joseph altar.

The Blessed Mother side altar.

Stained-glass windows are later additions, likely to be mid-20th Century replacements.

A cruciform window in a side door; St. Michael the Archangel stands at the rear of the church.

Throughout the church, the ceiling is covered with decorative tiles.

Tuesday evening Mass is at 6:00pm followed by Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotionsWednesday and Thursday mornings bring 8am Mass while Friday Mass is at 8:30am. Saturdays bring Reconciliation at 10:00am and Vigil Mass at 4:30pm. Sunday Masses are at 8:00am and 10:30am.

Fr. David Cybulski was ordained in 2009, appointed administrator of St. Joseph in 2013 and pastor in 2015. In addition to his responsibilities as pastor, Fr. Cybulski is also vicar of the Monroe Vicariate.

A parish cemetery stands 1.5 miles west of the church, on Erie Rd.


For more info: parish website

For more photos: Catholic Toledo #1 & Catholic Toledo #2

Thursday, September 21, 2017

St. Thomas the Apostle (Ann Arbor)

Fr. Patrick O'Kelly came from Detroit in circa 1830 and ministered to Irish immigrants in Washtenaw. At the same time, he ministered to what would soon become Old St. Patrick Parish north of Ann Arbor. On Jul 12, 1835, Fr. O'Kelly celebrated the city's first Mass in a private home. Five years later, under the direction of Fr. Thomas Cullen, Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish bought land near E. Kingsley and N. Division Streets. They soon built the city's first brick church. A parochial school was established in 1868. Fifteen years later, the parish bought land for the site of the current church.

Fr. Edward D. Kelly was appointed pastor of St. Thomas in 1891 and he led the effort to build a larger, permanent church. The cornerstone of the current church was laid on Sunday, May 30, 1897. Bishop Foley of Detroit was originally scheduled to officiate but Bishop Joseph Radaemacher of Fort Wayne, Indiana, led the groundbreaking ceremony. He was assisted by many priests, including two that were raised at St. Thomas. Msgr. Morrisey, President of the University of Notre Dame, preached on John 3:16 at the groundbreaking ceremony.

An illustration published in the June 4, 1897 edition of the Ann Arbor Argus. It shows the State Street (east) facade of the planned church. The church was built out of local field stones Ann Arbor's Koch Brothers. It was designed by Spiers & Rhons, from Detroit, in a Richardson Romanesque style.  Detroit's Nelson J. Rogers did the carpentry while Eberbach Hardware added a Spanish tile roof. The cost of the construction was $75,000 or $2.1 million adjusted for inflation.

The base of the cruciform church measured 90'x150' and the main entrance is 40' in height. The church was dedicated in 1899 and originally featured an oil painting of the Ascension in the apse. The sanctuary consisted of an ornate altar, reredos and two angels, all of which were made of white marble.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, St. Thomas had 1,500 parishioners, including 250 university students. A 1909 postcard shows the State Street facade and the rectory. A decade later, Fr. Kelly was appointed Bishop of Grand Rapids.

A Solemn High Requiem Mass after the death of Pope Pius XI in 1939.

The apse was repainted multiple times throughout the history of the church. Under the pastorate of Fr. Command, the apse was repainted to feature Our Risen Lord and St. Thomas.

More renovations were made under the leadership of Msgr. G. Warren Peek, 1964-1993. Windows were covered and the apse was repainted gold. The high altar, reredos, marble angels, side altars and Communion rails were all removed. The sanctuary was extended, a simple, freestanding altar was added, and the first several rows of pews were rearranged.

Fr. Tim M. Crowley was appointed pastor in 1993. He added a new, marble altar, uncovered the windows in the apse, and began the process of restoring the church to its original appearance.

The interior of the church was repainted in early 2015, photos of the process are visible here.

A plaster shelf at the base of the apse was restored. It shows an Latin inscription from Genesis 28:17b “Non est hic aliud, nisi domus Dei et porta caeli” — “This is none other than the house of God and the gate of heaven

The parish plans to further the restore the church to resemble its original appearance. Restorations would include new reredos, a mural of the Ascension, side altars, and more ornate details.

The Stations of the Cross appear to be original to the building   

Stained-glass windows also seem to be original — many windows feature the same motif and different symbols of Our Lord.

Most of the clerestory windows are plain and geometric while windows in the vestibule show depictions of saints. The five windows in the apse show depictions of Our Lord throughout the course of His life.

Our Lady is pictured in the east transept's rose window.

Our Lord, with staff and crown of thorns, is pictured in the west transept.

Quatrefoil patterns are seen above doorways, in carved wood and in stained glass.

In 1980, the high school separated from the parish and took the name of Fr. Gabriel Richard High School, named after the prominent, 19th Century priest and founder of the University of Michigan. However, a parish elementary school remains in operation today. 

Saturday Vigil Mass is at 4:30pm while Sunday Masses are at 7:30am, 9:00am, 11:00am, and 6:00pm. Daily Masses are at 7:00am and 12:10pm, Monday–Friday, and 9:00am on Saturdays. 

For more info: parish website