Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Lady of Loretto (Redford Township)

Our Lady of Loretto Parish was established by Edward Cardinal Mooney on June 26, 1953. with Fr. Clair J. Berry as pastor. Two weeks later, the first Masses were celebrated at Bulman Elementary School.

Construction of the church began on October 26 of that year and the first Mass celebrated on May 23, 1954, and a parish school opened a few months later in the church basement. Cardinal Mooney dedicated the church on December 10, 1954. A new school building was completed on September 8, 1955.

Fr. Berry passed away November 25, 1966, and was succeeded by Fr. Robert V. Ryan. Fr. Henry W. Roodbeen was appointed as associate on July 15, 1982, assisting Fr. Ryan because his health was failing. Fr. Roodbeen was installed as pastor the following February and Fr. Ryan died on January 7, 1985.

Three pastors served the parish 1988-1992 before Fr. Joseph Esper began an eight-year pastorate on July 1, 1992. Fr. J.J. Mech was appointed pastor in 2000 and Our Lady of Loretto School closed in 2007. At this time, the Indian Pallottine Community offered their assistance to Cardinal Maida in the Archdiocese of Detroit. 

On June 30, 2007, Fr. Ralph Besterwitch became the first Pallottine pastor. He in turn was succeeded by Fr. Socorro Fernandes July 1, 2010. In 2013, Fr. Fernandes was installed as pastor of nearby St. Valentine Parish. He continues to serve both parishes today. A group of six local Pallotines belong to Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province in Bangalore, India.

The parish borrows its name from the Holy House of Loreto, which is believed to be the house where the Blessed Virgin lived as a child. Legend tells that, during a 13th-century Muslim invasion, angels moved the house from the Holy Land to Croatia and again from Croatia to Italy. An estimated 4 million pilgrims visit the Holy House of Loreto each year.
The Holy House of Loreto - Source

About the parish: parish website + bulletin archive
Photos: AOD Film Services
About the parish namesake:
An article on Fr. Fernandes and other immigrant priests: The Michigan Catholic

Thursday, June 02, 2016

St. Thomas the Apostle Parish (St. Raphael Church, Garden City)

St. Raphael Parish was established in 1932 under the direction of Fr. Gereon Stack. Florence Cowperthwaite donated land and the church opened on Christmas Eve, 1934.
First Holy Communion, 1934. Source: Facebook

A parish grade school, with an enrollment of nearly 500 students, soon opened. For decades, the school was directed by  Sisters of St. Francis from Sylvania, OH.

The current church was finished in 1954 at a cost of $118,000 ($1.037 million adjusted for inflation).

The church underwent massive renovations, including a new facade, in 1996.

In 2014, St. Raphael merged with St. Dunstan (est. 1957, two miles away, also in Garden City).
The former St. Dunstan Church. Source: AOD Film Services

Fr. Simeon Tsetim Iber, a native of Nigeria and priest since 1988, was installed as pastor last year and is assisted by two permanent deacons.

St. Raphael School planned to merge with St. Genevieve (Livonia), St. Damian (Westland) and St. Robert Bellarmine (Redford) to form the regional Divine Mercy School. They anticipated 200-300 students but only 74 students were registered by early March so merger plans were cancelled. 

Christ the Good Shepherd stands in the vestibule near a Divine Mercy image

Madonna and Child at the left altar; St. Joseph at the right altar.

Symbols of the sacraments are shown in the windows on the east side of the building

St. Thomas the Apostle has about 1,400 registered parishioners today. Daily Mass is at 8:30am every weekday except for Wednesday Communion Service. Confessions are heard at 3:00pm on Saturdays, followed by 4:30pm Mass. Sunday Mass is at 9:00am and 11:00am.

The parish has hosted an annual festival for the last four decades. This year, it is scheduled for September 16-18.

For more info: parish website school website + bulletin archive
For more photos: AOD Film Services
An article about the pastor: Hometown Life
About the proposed school merger: WXYZ + Detroit Free Press

Friday, May 20, 2016

Corpus Christi: May 26th (EF) & 29th (OF)

Corpus Christi is quickly approaching; there are several great oppotunities to celebrate and some parishes have adjusted their normal schedules for this important feast.

(Extraordinary Form, traditional date, Missal of St. John XXIII)

St. Josaphat Church
7:00pm - Solemn High Mass followed by outdoor Eucharistic procession
bulletin + facebook


Cathedral of the Most Bessed Sacrament
8:00pm - travel through the Holy Door
8:30pm - Mass celebrated by Fr. David Bechill
Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament


(Ordinary Form, External Solemnity of Corpus Christi)

St. Joseph Church
10:30am - Orchestral Mass with Schola Cantorum and St. Joseph Cappella choirs.
Eucharisitc procession after Mass to four altars. Picnic after procession at the social hall and grounds.
*No 10am Mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary this day*
bulletin + facebook


SS. Peter & Paul (west side)
10:30am - Bilingual Mass (English & Polish) followed by Eucharistic procession
*No Mass at 9:00am or Noon this day*
bulletin + facebook

A traditional, Polish hymn for Corpus Christi, Bądźże pozdrowiona Hostio Żywa, to be sung during the procession

Cathedral of the Most Bessed Sacrament
2:00pm - Mass celebrated by Archbishop Vigneron followed by Eucharistic procession around the block + facebook

Sunday, May 15, 2016

St. Mary Parish (Wayne)


With the construction of Chicago Road, now called Michigan Avenue, people gradually moved west from Detroit.  In the late 1850s, Jeremiah O’Connor opened a general store in what was then called Derby's Corners and permitted use of the building as a house of worship. 

In March of 1862, a fledgling congregation of 45 families petitioned Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre for their own parish. He said it was too early to establish a new parish there but did create a mission called St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception under the direction of Fr. Edward Van Pammel, pastor of St. John Parish in Ypsilanti.


Construction of a new church began in the fall of 1865 and the City of Wayne was incorporated four years later. In 1871, St. Mary Mission came under the jurisdiction of Sacred Heart Parish in Dearborn. Finally, the church was completed and dedicated in January, 1873. It wasn't until 1912 that Bishop Foley established St. Mary Parish with Fr. Joseph Connors as the first pastor.

The parish continued to grow in the 1910's & 20's; construction of the current church began on August 26, 1923. A year later, the previous church was reused as a school for 125 students.  A permanent school was completed in 1929 and the previous church/school was converted into a parish hall.

Laborers continued to move to the Wayne area to work at Ford factories and Willow Run Airport. In October 1948, Fr. John Haney added 10 classrooms to the existing elementary school in order to add a high school. 

The first senior class graduated in 1951. the church was expanded three years later and a larger convent completed in 1958. In the early 1960s, the student body exceeded 1,000 students. A high school 1960 yearbook is available online. In June, 1971, St. Mary High School closed after 24 years.


Fr. Haney retired in December, 1972, but remained in residence. Fr. Sayers was pastor for three years before being replaced by Fr. John J. Sullivan in August, 1975. Fr. John F. O'Callaghan succeeded as 9th pastor on August 6, 1983.

St. Mary celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1987. The pastor suffered a debilitating stroke that same year and the parish was placed under the direction of a temporary administrator. In June, 1989, Fr. O'Callaghan was allowed to step down as pastor and Fr. Raymond Bucon took his place.


In 1997, the parish choir performed in Italy, Spain, and Ireland. They assisted for a High Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica and, on January 29 of that year, had an audience with Pope St. John Paul II. The following March, Fr. Bucon took a medical leave-of-absence and was replaced by Fr. Jack Baker. 

In 2001, the parish purchased a former credit union building and opened the St. Mary Community Outreach Center which continues to provide food, clothing and other assistance to the needy.

On November 27, 2011 St. Mary began its sesquicentennial (150th) with a Gershwin, piano concert. On June 3 of the following year, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron celebrated Mass for the anniversary, assisted by current and former pastors. Fr. David Burgard arrived as the 12th pastor in 2008 then was succeeded by Fr. Jerry Cupple, the current and 13th pastor, in July 2013. 

Confessions are heard at 6:00pm on Tuesdays followed by 6:30pm Mass and Rosary. 9:00am Daily Mass is celebrated on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Ralph Luddecke, a permanent deacon, arrived at the same time.

Bishop Donald Hanchon, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, attended to St. Mary Church and Grade School as a child.


Windows in the east (top) and west (bottom) transepts.

Raredos showing he Blessed Virgin is visible most of the year but covered for the Easter season.

The parish school was administered by IHM Sisters for decades, the parish has record of sisters who have taught at the school.

St. Mary is currently clustered with Holy Family in Inkster and St. Richard in Westland.
For more info: parish website + school website
For more local history: City of Wayne
For more photos: AOD Film Services