Sunday, September 25, 2016

St. Sabina (Dearborn Heights)

Dearborn Heights' St. Sabina Parish was established in 1957 and the current church was built in 1982. Next year, the parish will celebrate its 60th anniversary

The patroness and namesake of the parish stands in front of the church

A Marian shrine stands in the middle of the parking lot

The belltower stands directly above the main altar.

St. Joseph along with Madonna and Child at a side altar; the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the opposite side

Reflecting the date of construction, stained-glass windows near the main doorway show the coat of arms for Pope St. John Paul II (left, top) and then-Archbishop Edmund Szoka (left, bottom).

Fr. Raymond Bucon is pastor of St. Sabina Parish as well as chaplain for Dearborn Heights' Police and Fire Departments. Confessions are heard at 4:00pm Saturdays followed by Vigil Mass is at 5:00pm, Sunday Mass is at 8:30am and 11:00am. Tuesdays bring recitation of the Rosary at 6:00pm followed by Mother of Perpetual Help devotion and Mass.

More info: parish website + bulletin archive
Another blog post: Discovering Detroit Catholic Churches

Thursday, September 22, 2016

St. Ladislaus and St. Florian plan to merge

For the last two years, St. Ladislaus has been preparing for closure. Currently, it is part of St. John Paul II Parish, along with Transfiguration/Our Lady Help of Christians. As reported recently by The Michigan Catholic,  St. Lad's may soon become a chapel of its nearby mother parish of St. Florian.

As chapel, St. Ladislaus would hold a regular Mass schedule and funerals but baptisms, weddings, etc. would be at St. Florian. While the transition is not yet official, St. Florian's latest bulletin lists St. Ladislaus as a chapel.

For more info: St. Florian website + St. Florian bulletin
A 2014 article: The Hamtramck Review

Friday, September 16, 2016

Upcoming events: Sept. 24 & 25

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament (Farmington Hills)

Beginning in 1206, St. Dominic, along with Diego de Acedo, preached in the Languedoc region of southern France.  Diego soon died but St. Dominic quickly developed a following. St. Dominic and his followers adopted a rule of life based on that of St. Augustine. In a papal bull dated December 22, 1216, Pope Honorius III confirmed the Order of Preachers (a.k.a. Dominicans) as an order of canons regular. Therefore, this year is the order's 800th anniversary.
Dominican nuns arrived in the U.S. in 1880 and, in 1905, Mother Mary Emmanuel petitioned Bishop John S. Foley to come to Detroit and the bishop accepted without hesitation. Mother Mary Emmanuel and seven nuns temporarily resided in the Murphy Mansion, at Woodward and Kirby in Midtown. Parishioners from Holy Rosary Church (now Our Lady of the Rosary) joined the nuns in Adoration.
Murphy Mansion. Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library
The Murphy Mansion was sold in November of 1907 and the Dominicans were forced to move into a small house at 1180 Cass Avenue for the next two years. The house was far too small for the growing community and Mother Mary Emmanuel sought to build a permanent monastery.

September 4, 1908, saw the groundbreaking for Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament at 9704 Oakland Avenue. In 1910, the Dominicans moved in when the monastery was still half-finished. The cornerstone of the chapel was laid on June 25, 1911, and Bishop Foley led a fundraising effort. 

On March 25, 1912, the Feast of the Annunciation, the chapel was formally dedicated by Grand Rapids Bishop Edward D. Kelly. A few years later, three blocks west, Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament would be built.

Dominicans continued to grow and expand in the United States. On November 21, 1915, seven nuns, including Mother Mary Emmanuel, left Detroit to establish another monastery in Albany, New York.

The community had petitioned the Holy See as early as 1923 for the privilege of taking Solemn Vows but for some reason this was not granted until December of 1929. The document granting the permission arrived on Christmas Eve of that year but it was deferred until April 30, 1930 when Bishop Gallagher himself received the Solemn Vows of the Prioress, Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart who, in turn received the Solemn Vows of each of the remaining 21 members of the community.

There were more than 50 Dominican nuns in Detroit when Mother Mary Imelda was elected prioress in 1944, the decision to make a new foundation was reached. Mother Mary Imelda herself led the group of 15 foundresses to a new site in Lufkin, Texas where the Monastery of the Infant Jesus, begun in 1945, continues to thrive.
During the 1950s, the monastery's structural condition deteriorated beyond repair. Mother Mary of Jesus Kalt was the Prioress at the time, she asked Cardinal Mooney for advice and permission to move. Cardinal Mooney gave his blessing and encouragement to launch fundraising. Additionally, he donated the land where the monastery now stands at 13 Mile & Middlebelt in Farmington Hills. Cardinal Mooney died in 1958 and was replaced by Archbishop Dearden, who later became a cardinal, and Dearden continued the fundraising efforts. An extern named Sr. Mary Louis de Montfort contacted prominent businessmen, they decided to hire a professional fundraising firm and the “Challenge Campaign” began in early 1964.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place on August 16, 1964 but the cornerstone was not laid until June 27, 1965. Twenty one sisters had lived and died on Oakland Avenue; they were buried in the vaults beneath the Detroit monastery and were transferred to Southfield's Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in 1965.

On June 17, 1966, the nuns relocated to the new monastery in Farmington Hills. On July 1, 1966, then the Feast of the Precious Blood, Archbishop John F. Dearden arrived to celebrate Mass and conduct the dedication ceremonies. He was assisted by Fathers Joseph Imisch, Thomas Gumbleton and Walter Schoenherr; all three priests would alter become bishops. The Dominican provincial, Fr. Albert Drexelius, OP, preached the homily. The Detroit monastery was later razed and an elementary school currently stands at the site. In 2006, the centennial of their arrival in Michigan, the nuns published Monastic Milestones, an exhaustive history of the community.

Blessed Mother statue and prayer garden on the monastery's south side

A large crucifix on the façade of the chapel, another on a sanctuary wall

The chapel is divided in half. The public sits in the front section nearest the parking lot while the sanctuary separates the public from the cloistered nuns.

Statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph hang on the walls of the nave

Windows from the façade (left) as well as sides (right) of the chapel

The chapel is open daily from 6:45am-5:00pm, including daily Mass at 7:15am and Vespers at 4:30pm

The nuns financially support themselves, in part, by operating a religious gift store

Statues of the Infant of Prague and St. Dominic at the front of the store

For more info: monastery website

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception (Monroe)

The original church and cemetery
In January of 1788, Fr. François-Xavier Dufaux, from Windsor's Assumption Parish noticed that there were 32 farms near the Sturgeon River (now called River Raisin) with 100 farms staked-out for future settlement. Dufaux wrote to Bishop Jean-François Hubert, of Québec City, that the River Raisin residents were in desperate need of a priest. Dufaux made plans for the religious needs of the settlers and intended to lay-out a cemetery in the spring, but not bless it until a chapel or rectory for a priest was built.

Bishop Hubert tasked Fr. Pierre Fréchette, pastor of St. Anne's parish in Detroit, to organize and prepare the River Raisin settlers for the establishment of a mission, later a parish, under the Diocese of Québec. Saint-Antoine sur la Rivière-aux-Raisins was founded on October 15 of that year on the western edge of what is now the city of MonroeBurke was sent back to Quebec in 1796 and, in 1817, he was appointed the first bishop of Nova Scotia and died there three years later. Pictured below: (left) parish records 1794-1844 and (right) Bishop Burke.

Historical markers of the first church & cemetery
A historical marker (front) was placed at the site of the first church in 1959. Source
A new housing development was scheduled nearby but human bones were unearthed at the proposed site in 1999. By September of that year, further examination found a total of 45 tombs. The City of Monroe bought the site from the developer, reinterred the remains in a formal ceremony, and another monument was placed at the site.

St. Joseph Cemetery
Another, larger cemetery was established circa 1801 on the northern edge of Monroe. For many years, St. Joseph Cemetery was administered by all of the Monroe parishes until the archdiocese took control in 2013. It is steeped in the early history of the region: many settlers, missionaries and soldiers are buried there.


Dozens of priests are interred at St. Joseph, including several Comboni Missionaries who ministered at St. Mary Parish. Hundreds of IHM Sisters are also interred at St. Joseph Cemetery as well as the neighboring St. Mary Cemetery.

Many war veterans are interred in St. Joseph Cemetery, some preceding the Civil War, as well as Congressman John Camillus Lehr, who served Michigan in the U.S. Congress 1933-1935. A smaller, open graveyard stands just south of St. Joseph Cemetery. Here are also many graves from the 1800s.

The current church & school
St. Mary Church and rectory, circa 1910. Source

The War of 1812 caused great damage in the area, many residents fled and the parish was without a resident priest. However, Fr. Gabriel Richard ministered to the area during wartime. During and after the war, Fr. Richard was critical of abuses performed by the British military and he was placed under custody of a loyalist priest in Windsor. In 1815, Fr. Richard was released and he sought to build a new, stone church. Several influential parishioners living near the center of what would become downtown Monroe proposed that the parish sell the old property and build a new church near the center of the village.

Construction of the current church began in 1834, two miles downstream from the previous location. The church was consecrated five years later and renamed as Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in 1845. The same year, the parish fell under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Detroit and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM Sisters) were established in Monroe. Two schools were established the following year: St. Mary Academy, an all-girls school, and Monroe Catholic Central, an all-boys school.
A hand-colored postcard of the all-girls school, circa 1910. Source
A centennial marker was placed at the southeast corner of the church in 1888 and remains there today. The church was expanded in 1903 and, that same year, St. Mary Parochial Elementary School opened. The current rectory was added to the north side of the church in the 1920s.

The church was listed as a Michigan Historic Site and added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 6, 1982. The two high schools eventually merged in 1986 to form the coeducational St. Mary Catholic Central High School and remains in operation today.

A mosaic in memory of Roy and Elizabeth Palmer was added to the façade after 2002.

Queen of Angels in the west transept and Corpus Christi in the east

A shrine in the west transept houses statues of St. Anthony of Padua, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph. The Sacred Heart of Jesus in the east transept.

Contemporary Stations of the Cross line the walls of the nave

Stained-glass window above the main door

The church has a barrel vault ceiling. The high altar was removed at some point but the tabernacle remains at the original location.

Windows in the apse depict scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sedes Sapientiæ or "Throne of Wisdom" pictured above the altar.

Geometric windows line the nave, the top of each shows symbols of Christ and the sacraments

More about the parish:  parish website
More history: Google site + Wikipedia + Ancestry
More about St. Joseph Cemetery: The Michigan Catholic + CFCS Detroit