Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Lady of Loretto (Redford Township)

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; 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 on 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 on July 1, 2010. Three years later, Fr. Fernandes was installed as pastor of nearby St. Valentine Parish and 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

The original Our Lady of Loreto statue (left) compared to the copy that stands in the local parish.

About the parish: parish website + bulletin archive
Photos: AOD Film Services
About the parish namesake:
An article on Fr. Fernandes and other immigrant priests: The Michigan Catholic

Thursday, June 02, 2016

St. Thomas the Apostle Parish (St. Raphael Church, Garden City)

St. Raphael Parish was established in 1932 under the direction of Fr. Gereon Stack. Florence Cowperthwaite donated land and the church opened on Christmas Eve, 1934.
First Holy Communion, 1934. Source: Facebook

A parish grade school  soon opened with an enrollment of nearly 500 students. The school was directed by  Sisters of St. Francis from Sylvania, OH, for decades.

The current church was finished in 1954 at a cost of $118,000 ($1.037 million adjusted for inflation).

The church underwent massive renovations, including a new facade, in 1996.

In 2014, St. Raphael merged with St. Dunstan (est. 1957, two miles away, also in Garden City).
The former St. Dunstan Church. Source: AOD Film Services

Fr. Simeon Tsetim Iber, a native of Nigeria and priest since 1988, was installed as pastor last year and is assisted by two permanent deacons.

St. Raphael School planned to merge with St. Genevieve (Livonia), St. Damian (Westland) and St. Robert Bellarmine (Redford) to form the regional Divine Mercy School. They anticipated 200-300 students but only 74 students were registered by early March so merger plans were cancelled. 

Christ the Good Shepherd stands in the vestibule near a Divine Mercy image

Madonna and Child at the left altar; St. Joseph at the right altar.

Symbols of the sacraments are shown in the windows on the east side of the building

St. Thomas the Apostle has about 1,400 registered parishioners today. Daily Mass is at 8:30am every weekday except for Wednesday Communion Service. Confessions are heard at 3:00pm on Saturdays, followed by 4:30pm Mass. Sunday Mass is at 9:00am and 11:00am.

The parish has hosted an annual festival for the last four decades. This year, it is scheduled for September 16-18.

For more info: parish website school website + bulletin archive
For more photos: AOD Film Services
An article about the pastor: Hometown Life
About the proposed school merger: WXYZ + Detroit Free Press