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|
Photos: AOD Film Services
About the parish namesake: CatholicTradition.org + SacredSites.com
An article on Fr. Fernandes and other immigrant priests: The Michigan Catholic