Wednesday, February 26, 2014

St. Stephen – Mary, Mother of the Church

St. Stephen – Mary, Mother of the Church is situated on Central Ave, about 1/4 mile south of Michigan Avenue, in southwest Detroit. The history of this church is somewhat mysterious. An article in The Michigan Catholic states that it was founded in 1917. However, in the archdiocese directory of closed/current parishes, there is no reference to St. Stephen in Detroit until 1993.

One note that is obvious: this is a fairly new church and the cornerstone is dated 1967.

Like many churches in Detroit, St. Stephen – Mary, Mother of the Church has Polish roots. The former parochial school, much older than the church, is next door and currently houses a charter school. Looking at the inscription above the door, it is clear that this was once home to a Polish-speaking community.

A faded mural decorates the south wall of the school, facing towards the church.

The Infant of Prague stands in front of the rectory, across the street from the church.

All of the windows are plain and geometric stained-glass.  Large, wide window panes are displayed in the nave. Tall, thin windows are found at the sides of the altar and in the narthex.

A lovely statue of the Blessed Mother stands in one corner of the narthex. An inscription below her feet translates to "bless this request." The Stations of the Cross are fairly small and inconspicuous — possibly less than one square foot.

There is no choir loft: musicians are staged in front of the Sacred Heart altar. On the opposite side, Our Lady of the Rosary is flanked by St. Anne with child Mary as well as St. Theresé.

At the beginning of 2014, St. Stephen – Mary, Mother of the Church merged with Our Lady Queen of Angels (est. 1915) to form the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. As the name may suggest, a large part of the congregation is of Latino descent. With the exception of 9:00am Sunday Mass, all services are in Spanish.

Fr. Marie-Elie Haby currently serves as pastor and Fr. Bernardo Cruz is associate pastor. Fr. Haby is also a Regional Vocation Coordinator wherein he promotes vocations in the Central Region.

Sunday Mass is at 9:00am (English) and 11:00am (Spanish). Tuesday Mass and Saturday Vigil Mass are at 7:00pm and in Spanish. Confessions are heard 5:45pm–6:45pm on Saturdays and Tuesdays. Eucharistic Adoration is practiced on Tuesdays, 6:00pm–7:00pm, before Mass.

More photos: AOD Film Services
Bulletin archive: The Catholic Directory
Slideshow of school photos: YouTube
More info: Creative Gene


Unknown said...

Before 1967, the basement of the school was also the church. When I graduated in 1965 there were only two Hispanics in the school, One of them was in my class and his sister was in the 5th or 6th grade. Almost everyone else was of Polish heritage. Father Jasonovich (Father Walter)was well liked by the bishop at that time. He was frequently called to assist in confirmations and the like. St. Stephens was a good school and a good parish.

Unknown said...

BTW, prior to 1967, it was not called St. Stephen- Mary Mother of the Church, but just St. Stephens. This could be why you were not able to find a diocese record for the parish. When searching, do not leave off the final "S" in Stephens. It may skew your search results.

Unknown said...

Raymond is correct about the church being in the basement of the school. The Uroda family has deep roots in St. Stephens.

detroitchurchblog said...

Thanks for sharing. Did the parish only change its name or was there a merger? I assumed it was a merger because of the hyphenated name.

Unknown said...

Not sure Mark. I'll email my cousins who lived in the neighborhood at the time. BTW, if you can get pictures of the school basement, it would be interesting what if anything is left there of the church. My grandfather, Anthony Uroda, a carpenter, built the altars and confessionals. Also there might be a cornerstone on the school giving the dedication date.

Unknown said...

I'm a current parishioner from there the parish St. Stephen merged in 1995 with Mary Mother of the Church. In January of 2014 the parish merged with Our Lady Queen of Angels to now make Our Lady of Guadalupe because of the large hispanic community. The school overall is really old, and will probably closed down in the coming years. There is no church in the basement the only possible thing that is left from it is the huge crucifix it has to the left of the stage.

Unknown said...

There is a cornerstone on the old school/Church dated 1917. I have a Christmas ornament marking their 75 anniversary dated 1992.

Laura C said...

Does anyone have an exterior picture of St. Stephens that dated back to 1917? I'm curious, as my aunt, Sister Mary Callista, was once a principal at the school.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Book Doctor Gwen said...

Hi all. I have a 25th-anniversary booklet published in 1942 that gives a brief history of this parish and states that it was founded in 1917. There are photos of the church (a large square building with a square belvedere or small tower in the middle) and the presbytery (a smaller building with a cylindrical tower), the priests, the clubs, etc. This booklet is in Polish.