Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Sacred Heart Major Seminary was established in 1919 and the current structure was built four years later. Construction of the building was funded by prominent Detroit families such as the Fishers, Crowleys and Van Antwerps. It was designed in the English Tudor Gothic by the firm of Donaldson & Meier. 

The floors of the main level and chapel are covered with Pewabic tile. A "Sedes Sapienti√¶" or "Seat of Wisdom" statue stands outside one of the libraries.

A large crucifix hangs near the chapel entrance of the chapel.

The tabernacle stands in the east transept of the chapel.

Stained-glass windows were designed by Margaret Bouchez Cavanaugh.

Clerestory windows show noteworthy saints, including St. Gregory the Great (left) and St. Stephen the Protomartyr.

A side altar to the Blessed Virgin.

The high school closed in 1970 and only the college level remains.

The seminary is located at West Chicago and Linwood, at the western edge of the Boston-Edison historic district.

For more about the seminary:
For more photos: Flickr + AOD Film Services

Sunday, June 07, 2015

St. Alphonsus Church (Dearborn)

Beginning in 1825, German immigrants began to settle in the farmlands of what is now northeast Dearborn. Peter and Catharina Theisen Esper donated four acres at the northeast corner of Warren and Schaefer for the establishment of St. Alphonsus Parish. A Catholic school was built in 1846 and a cemetery three years later. The first Mass was celebrated in the Esper home in 1851 and a church was built the following year.

Rev. Anthony Buechsenmann was pastor 1897-1920 and he kept detailed sacramental records for the parish. With St. Alphonsus being an ethnic parish, Fr. Buechsenmann delivered his sermons in German until World War I.

A permanent high school was built in 1921 and the current church dates to 1928.

The parish's high school closed in 2003; the grade school and convent followed shortly after. The high school building was briefly occupied by a charter school but has been vacant for the last several years.

The high altar was restored and repainted a few years ago.

Tall, narrow windows in the clerestory show depictions of the Blessed Virgin.

In the east transept stands the Sacred Heart of Jesus with St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. In the west transept is the Pieta.

Tall, faded mosaics line the walls of the transept.

Painted stations, covered in glass, line the walls of the nave.

On one side of each station is a depiction of saints and on the other side are symbols of the Church.

St. Alphonsus Church is located at 13540 Gould, one block north of Warren and just east of Schaefer, in northeast Dearborn.

St. Al's is in the process of merging with nearby St. Clement. The fates of both church buildings are yet to be determined.

Fr. David Lesniak has been pastor for several years. Daily Mass is at 8:30am every weekday. Saturday Vigil Mass is 4:00pm; Sunday Mass is at 9:00am and 11:00am. Confessions at heard beginning at 2:30pm on Saturdays.

For more info: bulletin archive
For more photos: AOD Film Services
More about Fr. Buechsenmann: 1880 Census record

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Corpus Christi 2015

flyer  |  website

Thursday, June 4, Feast of Corpus Christi (Calendar for the 1962 Missal)
12 Noon English Mass at St. Josaphat Church, preceded by church tour at 11:15 a.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 3 p.m., Meditation by Br. Esteban, Divine Mercy Chaplet
6 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Joseph Church with Meditation by Br. Esteban
7 p.m. Tridentine High Mass for Corpus Christi and Outdoor Procession at St. Joseph Church

First Friday, June 5
12 Noon Mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church, preceded by church tour at 11:15 a.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 3 p.m., Meditation by Br. Esteban, Divine Mercy Chaplet
6 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Josaphat Church, Meditation by Br. Esteban
7 p.m. Tridentine High Mass at St. Josaphat Church

First Saturday, June 6
10 a.m. Latin Novus Ordo Mass at St. Joseph Church, preceded by church tour at 9:15 a.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until Noon, Meditation by Br. Esteban, Rosary
4 p.m. Mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 6 p.m., Meditation by Br. Esteban, Rosary

Sunday, June 7
Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)
9:30 a.m. Tridentine High Mass, celebrated by Fr. Ben Luedtke, for the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi at St. Josaphat Church
10 a.m. Mass at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church with Schola Cantorum and St. Joseph Cappella
11:15 a.m. Outdoor Procession on grounds of Sweetest Heart of Mary (No Noon Mass at St. Joseph)
12 Noon Mother of Divine Mercy Parish Picnic and Celebration of Pastor Fr. Gregory Tokarski’s 20th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ on grounds of Sweetest Heart 



Sunday, June 7
10:00 a.m. Mass with Detroit Mass Mob, Archdiocesan Chorus of Detroit, Motor City Brass Quartet and St. Matthew Choir. Brass quartet prelude before Mass.


SS. PETER & PAUL (west side)
flyer  |  website

Sunday, June 7
10:30 a.m. Mass, in Polish and English, followed by Eucharistic Procession. No Mass at 9:00am and Noon


flyer  |  website

Sunday, June 7
12 Noon Mass followed by outdoor Eucharistic Procession through Greektown and includes stop at nearby Holy Family Church



Sunday, June 7
2 p.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop Vigneron followed by outdoor Eucharistic Procession through neighborhood

Friday, May 29, 2015

Church Directory

After nearly five years we have finally covered every Roman Catholic Church in Detroit and a few in the suburbs. Below is a directory of all of the posts. Now that we have completed our initial goal, we will expand to: 
  • Cover historic, culturally-significant suburban churches
  • Continue coverage of important events in the Central Region
  • Visit chapels in the city
  • Revisit certain Detroit churches
  • Cover Eastern Rite churches in the area
  • Cover history of some closed parishes

Churches in Detroit:
All Saints
Annunciation (Good Shepherd Parish)
Assumption Grotto #1 + Assumption Grotto #2
Blessed Sacrament Cathedral #1 +Blessed Sacrament Cathedral #2
Christ the King
Church of the Madonna  (St. Moses the Black Parish)
Holy Cross
Holy Family #1 + Holy Family #2
Most Holy Redeemer #1 + Most Holy Redeemer #2
Most Holy Trinity
Nativity of Our Lord
Old St. Mary's
Our Lady Queen of Angels  (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish)
Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Our Lady of the Rosary
Precious Blood (St. Peter Claver Parish)
Presentation (Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish)
Sacred Heart
St. Aloysius #1 St. Aloysius #2
SS. Andrew & Benedict
Ste. Anne #1Ste. Anne #2Ste. Anne #3
St. Catherine of Siena (St. Augustine–St. Monica Parish)
St. Charles Borromeo
St. Christopher
St. Cecilia (St. Charles Lwanga Parish)
St. Cunegunda
St. Elizabeth
St. Francis D'Assisi
St. Gabriel
St. Gerard (Corpus Christi Parish)
St. Hedwig
St. Hyacinth #1 + St. Hyacinth #2
St. Josaphat #1 + St. Josaphat #2
St. Joseph
St. Jude
St. Leo (St. Charles Lwanga Parish)
St. Mary's of Redford
St. Matthew
St. Peter Claver Annex  (formerly St. Francis de Sales)
SS. Peter & Paul (Jesuit)
SS. Peter & Paul (west side)
St. Philomena
St. Raymond (St. Raymond - Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish)
St. Scholastica
St. Stephen–Mary, Mother of the Church (Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish)
St. Suzanne (St. Suzanne–Our Lady Gate of Heaven Parish)
St. Thomas Aquinas
Sweetest Heart of Mary (Mother of Divine Mercy Parish)
Transfiguration (St. John Paul II Parish)

Surburban churches:
St. Alphonsus (Dearborn)
St. Florian #1 + St. Florian #2 (Hamtramck)
St. Ladislaus (St. John Paul II Parish, Hamtramck)
Our Lady Queen of Apostles (Hamtramck)
National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica (Royal Oak)
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Windsor)

Formally suppressed (resigned to profane use) since posting:
St. Bartholomew  (St. Bartholomew–St. Rita Parish)

Churches that no longer have regularly-scheduled Mass but have not been formally suppressed:
St. Louis the King #1 + St. Louis the King #2
St. Patrick

Chapels & shrines:
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
St. Albertus #1 + St. Albertus #2
St. Bonaventure

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Most Blessed Sacrament Parish was established in 1905 in what was, at the time, the northern edge of Detroit. The building was designed by Cleveland-based architect Henry A. Walsh according to the Norman Gothic style. Financial problems delayed construction until 1913 and it continued slowly. The exterior was built out of Ohio sandstone and Indiana limestone.

The original organ was donated by Frederick Fisher in 1925. The interior of the church was not finished until 1930 and the first Mass was held on Thanksgiving of that year. The exterior would not be finished for decades.

The Diocese of Detroit was elevated to an archdiocese in 1937. Most Blessed Sacrament replaced St. Patrick, seat of the diocese since 1877, as the cathedral.

Walsh was unable to finish the project so Detroit architect George Diehl oversaw the completion. The towers and spire were not finished until 1951, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the city's founding.

Much of the statuary was created by local, prominent sculptor Corrado Parducci.

Pope St. John Paul II visited the U.S. in 1987 and Cardinal Archbishop Edmund Szoka convinced him to come to Detroit. The pope addressed a group at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on September 18 of that year and stayed overnight at the archbishop's residence next door. See video below with Cathedral section starting at 2:21.

The cathedral was renovated in 2001 by local architect Gunnar Birkerts. Changes included a plaza on the north side of the building, a reconfigured sanctuary, new light fixtures, as well as a new cathedra, baptismal font and organ. At that time, the tabernacle was moved to the south transept and a chapel built around it.

The cathedra used by Pope St. John Paul II, along with other artifacts, on display in a breezeway along the south side.

A large plaque in the sacristy shows the vesting prayers traditionally said by clergy in preparation for Mass. Each prayer corresponds to a particular vestment (amice, alb, cincture, maniple, stole and chasuble).

As we covered in a previous post, there is a tradition of hanging a cardinal's galero from the cathedral ceiling after his death. Galeros from Cardinal Mooney and Cardinal Dearden hang above each transept. This tradition has fallen from practice and was not done following the death of Cardinal Szoka.

A bust of the retired Cardinal Archbishop Adam Maida in the narthex; St. Anne and Child Mary.

The large, ornate rose window above the choir loft; detail of a window in the lower-level of the nave


Large, colorful windows line the clerestory. Each features a gospel reference in the middle of the window and images of saints in the bottom.

Inscriptions in the sides of the columns along the side aisles.

The Cathedral is located at 9844 Woodward, just south of Highland Park and near the geographic center of Detroit.

Daily Mass is held at 8:00am in the chapel on Mondays and Thursday-Saturday. Sunday Mass is at 11:00am while confessions are heard on Saturdays at 2:30pm.

Rev. Gregory Deters is Associate Pastor and Msgr. Michael LeFevre is the current rector. However, LeFevre will soon move to St. John Fisher in Auburn Hills and replaced by Rev. J.J. Mech, presently at St. Anastasia in Troy.

For more photos: Flickr & AOD Film Services
For more about JP2's visit: The Michigan Catholic
For more info about the parish: bulletin archive & parish website