Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Church of the Divine Child (Dearborn)

The Church of the Divine Child was founded on June 15, 1950, with Rev. Herbert F. Weier as the first pastor. An associate pastor, Rev. Maurice Decker, joined a few months later. The parish began with a congregation of approximately 250 but more than doubled by the end of its first year.

Construction of the elementary school began two years later. In September of 1953, the school opened with 153 students in grades 1-4 with an additional grade added each year. A year later, eight Bernardine Franciscan sisters move into the new convent. A high school was added in 1958.

Rev. Herman Kucyk became associate pastor in 1961. On September 30, 1962, after twelve years as pastor, Fr. Weier is named Monsignor. Construction began on a new church that same year and it was dedicated in June of 1963.

Rev. Kucyk was appointed Co-Pastor in 1972, Pastor in 1976, and named a Monsignor in 1990. When the Detroit parish of St. Casimir closed in 1989, Divine Child came into possession of the church bells.

A perpetual adoration chapel was added to the south side of the church in 1999. Rev. James Bilot was appointed as the third pastor in 2007 and retains that office. Bernardine Franciscans continue to teach at the schools today.

The parish has approximately 2,000 registered families today. Weekday Mass is at 6:30am and 8:30am; Saturday Mass is at 8:30am and 4:30pm (Anticipated Sunday Mass). Sunday Mass is at 8:00am, 9:30am, 11:30am and 1:00pm.

The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the perpetual adoration chapel every day except Tuesday, when it is in the main Church 9:00am-7:00pm. Novena then takes place immediately afterwards.

The Holy Family is depicted in the windows above the main entrance, with the Child Jesus at the center. The Magi are on one side.

Portraits of former pastors are displayed in the vestibule and near the baptismal font.

The Blessed Mother's side altar; the Lamb of God above the main altar.

A nativity scene currently stands in front of another side altar.

St. Jude and St. Anthony stand in the rear corners of the nave.

St. Francis of Assisi overlooks a koi pond and St. Jean Vianney stands outside the rectory.

Statues of Christ with children stand outside the school; a memorial for aborted babies.

For more info: parish website

Sunday, December 27, 2015

St. Barbara Church (Dearborn)

In 1917, construction began on the Ford River Rouge Factory in what is now southeast Dearborn. At that time, many laborers moved to the area for work. A congregation of mostly Polish immigrants established St. Barbara Parish in 1924 with Fr. Raphael Chrzaszcz as their first pastor.

A school was established the same year and administered by Sisters of Holy Family of Nazareth.

The current church was built in 1955, on Schaefer Hwy., one block north of Michigan Ave.

In 2000, St. Barbara clustered with St. Cunegunda Parish, located two miles northeast. Supposedly, both churches were designed by the same architect but I couldn't confirm that. Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski has been pastor for 21 years. 

Stained-glass windows were fabricated by Conrad Schmitt Studio of Milwaukee. Many of the windows show recently-canonized saints as well as 20th-Century venerables and blesseds. Among them: Venerable Solanus Casey, Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko, and St. Faustina Kowalska.

Processional banners are displayed in the transepts

Small statues stand on shelves in each transept

A large font, located at the rear of the nave, depicts the Baptism of Christ
Symbols of Christ and the Eucharist adorn the altar rail

Ornate motifs cover the entire ceiling

Daily Mass is offered at 6:15pm on Tuesdays (followed by Perpetual Help Devotion) and Fridays. Friday Mass has the intention of "Thanksgiving for the Gift of Work and for all the Unemployed." First Fridays bring Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 4:00pm until 6:15pm Mass.

Saturday Vigil Mass is at 5:15pm while Sunday Mass is at 9:30am and 6:00pm.

For more info: bulletin archive, facebookparish website (sparse content)
Another blog post: Creative Gene blog

Sunday, December 20, 2015

St. James Church, Ferndale (Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish)

At the turn of the 20th Century, residents of southern Royal Oak Township held Mass in a farmhouse and Sunday school was taught in an old chicken coop. The Village of Ferndale was incorporated in 1917 and St. James Parish was established two years later.

The first parish church was built at Woodward and W. Hazelnut between 8 and 9 Mile Roads. A parish school was added in 1924.

In 1949, a replacement church was built next door on the west side of Woodward
The parish high school closed in 1971. In 1999, a charter school took residence in the school building and closed several years later.

St. James soon clustered with St. Mary in Royal Oak. In 2012, after the Together in Faith campaign, St. James clustered with Our Lady of Fatima in Oak Park. The two churches merged to form Our Mother of Perpetual Help in 2014. Fr. Paul Chateau was pastor of Our Lady of Fatima before the merger and has remained so since then.

The baptismal font in front of the Blessed Mother's side altar; St. Joseph's side altar.

St. Michael the Archangel, St. Peter the Apostle and St. Gabriel the Archangel in the south transept.

St. Veronica, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Margaret in the north transept.

Saints are portrayed in the lower-level windows of the nave.

Clerestory windows show depictions of Christ.

St. Ambrose, St. Cecilia and St. Gregory the Great appear above the choir loft.

Sunday Mass is at 11:00am. Tuesdays and Thursdays bring 9:00am Mass.

For more info: parish website & bulletin archive
For more history: Ferndale Historical Society
More photos: AOD Film Services & Flickr
Article about the merger: Patch