Friday, September 28, 2018

Divine Mercy Center (formerly St. Claude Church), Clinton Township



St. Claude Parish was established in 1965 on the south side of Clinton Township. The parish merged with St. Thecla, also in Clinton Township, in 2007. The church closed in 2013 and a lay-lead organization, The Servants of Jesus 


On December 8, 2013, the second Sunday of Advent, Archbishop Vigneron celebrated the first Mass at the Divine Mercy Center.




Statues of the Divine Mercy and St. Claude outside the front entrance.


A copy of the Vilnius Divine Mercy and statue of St. Faustina Kowalska in a niche.



A prayer garden features a Pieta surrounded by the Seven Sorrows of Mary.



The Blessed Sacrament is exposed for Adoration on Monday and Wednesday, 3-4pm, and Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10am-4pm.


The center has Mass on Wednesdays at 10:30am and as announced.


The Divine Mercy Center is open 10am-4pm daily and a gift shop is open Monday-Friday.


More info: SJDivineMercy.org

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

St. John the Baptist (Ypsilanti)

Missionary priests from Detroit ministered throughout Washtenaw County in the early 1800s. In 1836, there were a thousand residents of Ypsilanti, including 50 Catholics. Fr. Thomas Cullen arrived in Ann Arbor in 1839 and served as the first resident priest in the county. Four years later, he was assigned pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor and, in 1844, he was additionally assigned to the new mission of St. John the Baptist in Ypsilanti. There were six founding families, all Irish immigrants: Boyle, Casey, Cosgrove, Keegan, Kelley, and Kirk. In the beginning the congregation worshipped in private homes.

On April 26, 1844, Bishop Peter LeFevere bought a parcel of land from Charles W. Lane for forty dollars. A 24'x36' wood-frame church was built the next year. For the first 13 years, Mass was celebrated here only once a month.

In 1855, Bishop LeFevere approved the construction of a larger church, provided that the parish not take on any debt. At that time, there were 130 families at the parish. Parishioners pledged $500 towards the construction and bought a lot adjacent the existing church. Bishop LeFevere laid the cornerstone for the brick church on May 25, 1956. Construction began immediately but was soon delayed because of financial restraints.

The first Mass, the wedding of John and Margaret Kennedy, was on June 23, 1858, the Vigil of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. At that time, there were no doors, no pews, and no front steps. Construction was completed in time for Christmas of that year. Fr. Charles Lamejie was appointed as the first resident pastor in 1858.
Photo of the second parish church for St. John the Baptist - Source

The parish established an elementary school in 1884 but it closed eleven years later. The school building was used as a social hall for the next three decades before the school reopened in 1925. The school eventually closed in 1971 and was demolished in 1979.

Ypsilanti was booming in the 1920s and Fr. Needham wanted to build a new church. In 1923, the Detroit firm of Van Leyen, Schilling, Keough & Reynolds created initial plans for a Spanish Rococo church with a capacity for 700. The same firm designed a new parish school at the same time. Construction on the new school began in 1924 and was finished the next year. However, there were many setbacks within the next five years. The school took on a heavy debt, the rectory was in disrepair, and the basement of the church had structural problems. Rather than continue with faulty construction, Fr. F. Warren Peek commissioned a new set of plans in 1932.

The cornerstone of the current church was laid and blessed by Bishop Gallagher on September 11, 1932. A time capsule inside the cornerstone contains photos of the previous church, photos of previous pastors, newspapers, as well as names of 320 parishioners and benefactors.

Construction was completed the next spring and Bishop Gallagher dedicated the church on Sunday, June 4, 1933, also Fr. Peek's 14th anniversary to the priesthood. St. John the Baptist is designed in a Romanesque style. The peek of the roof stands 61 feet about the street.


The current church and rectory were built at a combined cost of $100,000 at the time. Less than a year later, the value of the property was estimated at over $250,000.

In 1942, the parish bought a lot directly across from the church and built a Marian shrine.

Structural beams are exposed in throughout most of the ceiling—in the narthex, the nave, and the sanctuary. Fr. John Larkin commissioned decorative painting of these beams in 1949.


A decorative motif adorns the ceiling of the former baptistry.

Stained-glass windows in the former baptistry depict the Joyful Mysteries.

The original layout of the church had seating for 1,100 people.Three windows above the tabernacle were dedicated to three previous pastors: Frs. LeBever, Needham, and Lindskey.

The main altar and matching side altars were made in Italy from Botticino marble. The church once had an altar rail composed of bronze and red Numidian marble.

Statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph with Child Jesus stand along the side aisles. These were likely salvaged from the original side altars.

A trestle ceiling hangs over the nave and sanctuary, also featuring decorative motifs.


A large rose window overlooks the choir loft; the Lamb of God is depicted in the center of the window.

Painted Stations of the Cross line the walls of the nave.




Images of the Apostles line the clerestory along with geometric windows.

Scenes from the Gospel are depicted in stained-glass windows.



For more info: parish website




Friday, August 31, 2018

St. Anne (Warren)

St. Anne Parish was established in March of 1945. The parish purchased Warren Village Barn for $14,000. The first Mass in the remodeled barn was on Easter Sunday, April 21, 1946. There were 225 founding families. Furnishings of the chapel came from many sources: main altar candlesticks from Annunciation Church in Detroit; side altar from St. Augustine in Richmond; floor coverings from the Fisher Building in Detroit; vestments from Sacred Heart in Imlay City; statues from St. Patrick in Wyandotte; pews from St. Juliana in Detroit. Original Monstrance, Missal and chairs from Fr. John Ryan of the Confraternity Office.
A photo of the the first St. Anne Church hangs in the vestibule

A parish school was established in 1949 and staffed by IHM Sisters. Sr. Mary Lorenza, IHM, served as the first principal and led the school for six years.


In April of 1953, construction began on a multi-purpose building that functioned as auditorium, gymnasium, and temporary church. This building is still used as the gym for the parish school.


In 1962, the firm of Charles M. Valentine and Associates in Marysville was hired to design a permanent church. Clarenece Gleeson Inc. was contracted to build the structure. Ground was broken on Sunday, April 5, 1964.

Archbishop John Dearden consecrated the church on Saturday, August 21, 1965. The parish established a high school that same year.


St. Anne Church was designed and built during a time of transition surrounding the Second Vatican Council. Accordingly, the church features some classical and contemporary features. The belltower stands at a height of sixty-five feet. 

The Holy Family is depicted above the three front doors. Jesus Christ is depicted above the center door with a reference to Psalm 43:4 (Psalm 42 in Douay-Rheims).

A depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary is above the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55); St. Joseph with a reference to Matthew 1:19.

Fr. Frank Walsh (below left) was founding pastor and remained at St. Anne for 25 years until his retirement in 1970. He was replaced by Fr. Fabian Slominski (below right) who, in turn, led the parish for 11 years. The IHM Sisters left the school in 1978 and were replaced by Adrian Dominicans. Sr. Patricia Lynch, OP, was principal for five years. In 1983, Dr. Thom Engel was appointed as the first lay principal of the school. The parish high school closed in 1988. 


The parish saw a succession of pastors over the next two decades: Fr. Stanley A. Wyczawski, 1981-1991; Fr. David Koss, 1991-1992; Fr. Michael Kazer, 1992-2005.

In July of 2005, Fr. Alberto Bondy, a graduate of the parish elementary school, began a thirteen-year term as pastor. He was granted senior priest status in July of this year. Fr. Paul Coutinha, SAC, soon succeeded him as the seventh pastor in the history of St. Anne Parish.


The church features a low, barrel-vault ceiling. The edifice is built in a traditional cruciform shape but with the altar in the center, between the two transepts.

To the left of the main altar is the entrance to a chapel.

An image of St. Anne hangs on the right side of the sanctuary. Below this are New Testament depictions for six of the seven sacraments. From left to right: Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. With only six available panels, Holy Matrimony was left out.


The baptismal font stands in a transept; St. Anne with Child Mary stand in a niche.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary stands in a niche on the left side of the nave; St. Joseph with Child Jesus on the right side.

Modern, colorful windows are found in the nave. These are likely replacements.

The former baptistry, at the base of the belltower, is now a space for storage and meeting.

A statue of the parish namesake stands in a garden between the church and parking lot.

Saturday Vigil Mass is at 5:00pm preceded by Reconciliation at 4:00pm. Sunday Masses are at 8:45am and 11:00am. Daily Mass is at 8am, Monday-Saturday. When school is in session, the Monday morning Mass is at 9:15am.


More info: parish website + school website