Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Upcoming events: November 30–December 9

It is piously believed that whoever recites the below prayer fifteen (15) times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30th ) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

+ MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897


Wednesday, November 30–Thursday, December 8
St. Joseph Oratory, various times
For more info, see flyer

Daily Rosary, Homily on the First Seven Words of Mary, Novena Prayer & Benediction

Wednesday, November 30, Feast of St. Andrew
6:30 pm Rosary,  Homily on the First Word of Mary - “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” (Luke 1:34), Novena Prayer and Benediction

Thursday, December 1
6:30 pm Rosary, Homily on the Second Word of Mary - “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38), Novena Prayer and Benediction

First Friday, December 2, Sacred Heart of Jesus
6:00 pm Holy Hour, 7:00 pm High Mass, Homily on the Third Word of Mary - Mary greets Elizabeth (Luke 1:39), Novena Prayer

First Saturday, December 3, Feast of St. Francis Xavier
9:00 am Low Mass, Homily on the Fourth Word of Mary, Part I - The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Novena Prayer

Sunday, December 4, Second Sunday of Advent
9:00 am Low Mass & 11:00 am High Mass (St. Joseph Cappella)
Homily on the Fourth Word of Mary, Part II - The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
Novena Prayer

Monday, December 5, Feast of St. Sabbas
6:30 pm Rosary, Homily on the Fifth Word of Mary - “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” (Luke 2:48)
Novena Prayer and Benediction

Tuesday, December 6, Feast of St. Nicholas
6:30 pm Rosary, Homily on the Sixth Word of Mary - “They have no wine.” (John 2:3), Novena Prayer and Benediction

Wednesday, December 7, Feast of St. Ambrose
6:30 pm Rosary, Homily on the Seventh Word of Mary - “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5), Novena Prayer and Benediction

Thursday, December 8,
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
***Holy Day of Obligation***
8:00 am Low Mass & 7:00 pm Solemn High Mass (St. Joseph Cappella), Consecration to the Immaculate Conception


Friday, December 2
Sacred Heart Major Seminary, 7:00pm
No tickets necessary, free-will offering, refreshments afterwards


Friday, December 2
See the Twelve Promises of the First Friday Devotion


Saturday, December 3
See the Five First Saturdays Devotion


Sunday, December 4
Sweetest Heart of Mary
10:00am Mass followed by breakfast with Santa
St. Hyacinth Church
11:00am Mass followed by breakfast with St. Nicholas


Thursday, December 8
***Holy Day of Obligation***


Friday, December 9

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament
5:30pm Rosary
6:00pm Music & Dancing
7:00om Rosary


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Our Lady of Grace (Dearborn Heights)

Our Lady of Grace Parish was established by Edward Cardinal Mooney on July 16, 1944. Fr. Anthony Kirschner, a Mariannhill priest from nearby  Our Lady of Grace Monastery, was the founding pastor. The founding 123 families worshipped at the monastery chapel until a parish church could be built. Franciscan Sisters from St. Raphael Parish first taught religious education and were later replaced by IHM Sisters from Sacred Heart Parish. The parish soon built a six-classroom school which opened on September 13, 1948. It originally had 176 students in grades 2-6 and taught by Dominican Sisters from Grand Rapids. More classrooms were added four times in the next fifteen years.

Ground was broken on December 3, 1950, the cornerstone blessed on July 1, 1951, and the current church was completed in early 1952. The first Mass was on Palm Sunday of that year and Bishop Zaleski dedicated the church on September 21, 1952. A permanent convent was completed the same year. Fr. Albero Amrhein became the second pastor in 1953 and ministered at the parish for five years. A parish hall was added in 1953 and a gymnasium added in 1957.

Child parishes of St. Anselm (est. 1955) and St. Sabina (est. 1957) were soon created. Fr. Timothy Mock became third pastor in 1958 and the parish had 1,500 registered families at the time. He helped establish a Bishop Borgess high School, regional, multi-parish school. In 1963, Fr. Mock was replaced by Fr. Egbert Heinlein. Fr. Heinlein retired in 1977 and replaced by Fr. Reinhold Schmitt. Fr. Polycarp Versteijlen began a two-year pastor in 1980 until his sudden death from heart attack on July 23, 1982. In January, 1983, Fr. Kevin O'Doherty became pastor after serving a mission in Africa. After eight year, Fr. O'Doherty returned to missionary work. At this point, the Mariannhill Fathers ended their direction of the parish but remained as weekend assistants. 
1957-1958 yearbook - Source

Fr. Ron Cyprys, a diocesan priest, became pastor in August of 1991 with retired Fr. Charlie O'Neill. Fr. Ron was pastor for 16 years, until his death on July 29, 2007. Deacon Robert DeWitt has ministered at the parish for 29 years. Fr. Donald Walker was ordained in 1958 and briefly retired in 2006 before becoming administrator at Our Lady of Grace in 2007. Two years later, he also took over leadership of St. Hilary in Redford Township.
Photo courtesy of Abby Hansen Bernhardt

Our Lady of Grace School closed in 2000 and the parish clustered with nearby St. Sabina in 2012. St. Hilary Parish closed and merged with St. John Bosco in 2014. However, Fr. Walker remains administrator at Our Lady of Grace today.

The church stands on Joy Rd., two blocks east of Telegraph, in the northeast part of Dearborn Heights. Saturday Vigil Mass is at 4:00pm, preceded by Reconciliation 3:00pm-3:30pm; Sunday Mass is at 9:30am. Daily Mass is in the chapel at 8:30am on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

A tall steeple/smokestack stands in between the church and school; the Blessed Virgin Mary above the center door on the Joy Road side. 

St. Anne with Child Mary as well as St. Joseph perched above side doors.

A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands outside the sacristy.

The Infant of Prague and Our Lady of Grace stand near the entrance to the chapel.

Stained-glass windows above doorways depict Christ the King (left) and Baptism (right).

Unfortunately, Our Lady of Grace will close next June and merge with St. Sabina. The final Mass is scheduled for June 18, 2017.

For more info: bulletin archive
History of churches in Dearborn & Dearborn Heights: E-Gov Link (pdf)
A virtual tour of the church: Multi-View Productions
A 1988 article including interview with Fr. Walker: Chicago Tribune

The Michigan Catholic articles on Deacon DeWitt and Father Walker:
“Priest, 80, taps into youthful energy”
“Deacons Marking Milestones”
“St. Hilary Parish To Close”

Monday, November 14, 2016

Manresa Retreat House (Bloomfield Hills)

During the late 1910s and early 1920s, laymen from the Detroit area frequented St. Stanislaus Retreat House (now Jesuit Retreat House) in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1923, they established "The Laymen's Retreat League" to build a Jesuit retreat house in the Detroit area under the direction of Fr. John Donoher, SJ. They purchased land in modern-day Grosse Point Park but, after struggling to build a retreat house, they began to look for a new location. Fr. Donoher died in 1925 and  and Fr. William Cogley, SJ, replaced him as chaplain.
St. Ignatius of Loyola being tempted by Satan,
a statue outside of Cleveland's Jesuit Retreat House - Source

In March, 1926, the Edsel Ford Estate purchased the Grosse Pointe Park property. The group then bought William Murphy's 39-acre "Deepdale Estate" in what was mostly a farming area. The location, on the northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Quarton Road, in what is now the southeast corner of Bloomfield Hills. 
The location was ideal for their needs as it was central to Detroit and Pontiac and easily accessible. With the approval of the Provincial of the Chicago Province, Fr. Jeremiah O'Callaghan, SJ, the purchase was completed in August of 1926. 
The Deepdale Estate and original retreat house

The manor house was already built and the first retreat took place September 23-26 of that year. 16 men participated in the first retreat and the house had a capacity for 23. The Superior General wanted the property and activities to be owned and administered by the Society of Jesus. However, in the meantime, laymen owned and operated the facility but ownership was eventually transferred years later.

The Retreat Office was originally located in the Gabriel Richard Building in downtown Detroit.  In the early years, it was customary for men from a single parish to make a retreat together. Retreats ended with Benediction at 4:00PM on Sunday and the diocesan pastor normally participated. 
A rendering of the Manresa Retreat House and surrounding grounds

Manresa Retreat House borrowed its name from the Spanish city near where St. Ignatius of Loyola lived for a year while he composed the Spiritual Exercises. 
Cova de Sant Ignasi, a church built around the cave in Manresa

Stations of the Cross, a Lourdes grotto, and gateway were added in the late 1920s. 
A monumental gate at the northwest corner of Woodward & Quarton
Fr. Cogley grew produce and raised cattle to provide food. Like many, the group struggled during the Great Depression. To make matters worse, the manor house caught fire and burned to the ground on March 22, 1934. That same year, Manresa received an invaluable gift: a chalice which once belonged to the 17th-Century missionary Fr. Jacques Marquette, SJ. This chalice was preserved for over two centuries while in the custody of Native Americans in the Upper Peninsula. It is now displayed in a corner of the main chapel.

Despite the financial challenges of the time, the group raised enough funds to rebuild at the same site. The cornerstone was laid in early 1935 and the building, constructed under the guidance of Henry Brennan of the W.E. Wood Co., was completed by August 27, 1936. Fr. Marshall Lochbiler, SJ, directed the first retreat with a full capacity of 31 retreatants. The house was built in a style that came to be known as Detroit Cotswold, a style inspired by the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, completed just a few years earlier.

Fr. Cogley, the "founding father" of Manresa, died on July 2, 1945, and was soon replaced by Fr. Gerald Fitzgibbons, SJ. The number of retreatants grew and in 1951 the present chapel wing was built. This added rooms on the second floor and raised the capacity to 42 retreatants. In 1952, Fr. Clement Singer, SJ, became Director. As the number of retreats continued to grow, the possibility of a second retreat house in the Detroit area was considered. Midweek youth retreats became very popular and eventually Manresa needed to expand again.
The empty tomb on the northeast corner of the grounds

Fr. Bernard Wernert, SJ, was named Director in 1963 and he moved the offices from downtown to onsite at Manresa. On Palm Sunday, April 3, 1966, ground was broken for the substantial new addition. 1,400 people celebrated the dedication of this extension on May 21, 1967, and capacity rose to 70 retreatants.
Our Lady of Lourdes grotto with altar

High school "Kairos" retreats became very popular and Manresa began to offer women's retreats in the 1970s. On September 12, 1976, Manresa celebrated its Golden Jubilee with an outdoor Mass, presided by Bishop Walter Schoenherr, with over 1,200 in attendance.

Fr. Werner retired in 1977 and he was replaced by Fr. Eugene Simon, SJ. A second-story chapel was soon added. Our Lady of Manresa, an original statue, was donated by Peter Grande in 1980. A courtyard was added the following year and the main chapel was expanded in 1987.
Our Lady of Manresa standards immediately north of the retreat house
 Manresa went through a series of short-term directors until Fr. James Serrick, SJ, arrived in 1995 and remained there for several years. The former pump house, which was powered by a waterwheel, was converted to a small chapel in 2000.
Former pump house, now chapel, on the southern edge of the grounds

The Stations of the Cross were refurbished in 2012; the original Stations were encased in new, granite monuments engraved with a corresponding Gospel quote.

Manresa Retreat House continues to host conference retreats every week, with a capacity of 78 persons per retreat, with a total of 2,600 men and women each year. Individually-directed retreats, Bible studies, Days of Recollection, etc. take place throughout the year.

A brief promo video includes commentary from Archbishop Vigneron

A. A. groups meet regularly at Manresa,  once fostered by Fr. Jack Schuett, SJ, who ministered to our A. A. constituency for 21 years. Fr. Francis Daly, SJ, is the current Director of Manresa Jesuit Retreat House while Fr. Peter Fennessy, SJ, is Superior of the community.

Fr. Peter Fennessy, SJ, on Ignatian Spirituality

Daily Mass is celebrated at 8:00am, most weekdays, in the main chapel. On First Fridays, a light breakfast follows Mass. 

An abbreviation of the Jesuit motto, "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam" (For the Greater Glory of God), is inscribed in a chapel window. The "IHS" abbreviation of the Holy Name on a chapel door.

St. Joseph with Child Jesus stands behind a fountain; St. Thomas Aquinas outside the offices.

Resurrected Christ near the main road; a St. Ignatius shrine on the path to the chapel. 

A branch of the Rouge River runs throughout the grounds.

There are several areas for private reflection or conversation scattered around the grounds as well as a nature trail.

Manresa publishes two periodicals, both are available online: biannual Manresa Matters and bimonthly Manresa Memos.

A book on the history of Manresa Retreat House, published in 2014, is available at the office.

For more info: Manresa-SJ.org + Facebook
Manresa Matters archive: Issuu.com

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

St. Lawrence Parish (Utica)

St. Lawrence Parish began in 1866 as a mission of Sacred Heart Parish, in what is now Roseville, which was established a year before. On June 25, 1866, George and Eunice Welkins sold a parcel of land for the construction of a church near what is now Van Dyke and Hall Road. Therefore, the St. Lawrence celebrates its sesquicentennial this year.
On September 24, 1877, land was deeded from George and Regina Archenbroon to Bishop Borgess, and in 1878 a new cemetery was consecrated as Saint Lawrence Utica Cemetery. In 1898, a large fire destroyed most of Utica but the Church of St. Lawrence survived. Fr. John D. O'Shea was assigned as pastor of Sacred Heart, Roseville, around the year 1900. One weekend a month, he traveled to the St. Lawrence Mission to hear confessions and say Mass. Another large-scale fire destroyed St. Lawrence Church in 1904. Fr. O'Shea celebrated Mass in nearby residences and, before long, the parish rented a hall until the church was rebuilt. Parish social activities, parties, picnics and suppers help to raise $5,367.26 (about $150,000 today) for the building fund. 

The cornerstone of the second church was laid in 1908 and the church was completed that year at Van Dyke and McClellan, just north of the first church. In August of 1916, Fr. O'Shea suggested to the people of the parish that they celebrate the Feast of St. Lawrence by having a community dinner. What became the annual parish festival soon began.

Bishop Michael J. Gallagher appointed Rev. William Crowley to be the first resident pastor in 1924. Three years later, four acres of land were purchased for a rectory. Ground was broken in 1929 for a combination church and school. The third church opened on Easter Sunday, 1930 with the first Mass at 7:30am that day. Bishop Gallagher visited the new church in July of 1930; he dedicated the church, administered First Holy Communion, and administer Confirmation all in the same day. The school opened the following September with a student body of 149. Four Dominican nuns taught at the school under Sr. Rose Vincent, OP, superior and principal. Before a convent was built, the nuns lived in the school. 
Historic photo of St. Lawrence School at an unknown date - Source
The parish struggled to pay their debts during the Great Depression and it is believed that this stress caused Fr. Crowley to suffer a fatal heart attack, at the age of 56, on July 12, 1932. He was buried in the parish cemetery. On the day of Fr. Crowley's funeral, Bishop Gallagher appointed Fr. Joseph McIsaac to be the second pastor. Fr. McIsaac was beloved for his charisma, brilliant sermons, and financial prowess. After less than three years as pastor, Fr. McIsaac left the parish to join the Order of Preachers - apparently the Dominican nuns at the school left an impression on him

On July 1, 1935, Fr. Edward J. DeKeyser was appointed third pastor and remained at the parish for the next 36 years. When his pastorate began, there were about 200 registered families at the parish. In 1937, a house across from the school was purchased and used as a convent. An additional two classrooms then became available at the school. The relatively-small parish did not have a choir for decades and one or two Sunday Low Masses. The parish grew rapidly in the late 1930s, so much that a new organ was purchased, organized a choir, and added a another Sunday High Mass.

Five servicemen from the parish died during World War II. The school desperately needed to expand during the war but rations and restrictions prevented new construction. However, the parish was able to buy two mobile buildings that allowed seven more classrooms. Because 90% of students contributed to war bonds, the school was awarded the Minuteman flag by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

A church building fund began started shortly after the end of WWII. The Utica Sentinel stated in a later article: "Father DeKeyser made a house-to-house visit of the people in this (Utica) area known as St. Lawrence Parish. He pushed doorbells and drove back into the field to speak with the members of the parish to learn how they felt about beginning a fund for the construction of a church and possibly a convent. All were in agreement…." Pledges of $45,000 were made, of which $40,000 was collected (more than half a million dollars today).

On May 31, 1947, Fr. Daniel P. Bogus was ordained as the first priest raised in the parish. Fr. Elmer Nacy became the parish's first assistant priest in 1948. He remained at St. Lawrence until he was appointed pastor of the new St. Philomena Parish three years later. On March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph, in 1948, ground was broken for a new convent. It was designed by Arthur DesRosiers and built under the supervision of Edward V. Monahan, contractor. Exactly one year later to the day the Sisters moved in. The parish Altar Society furnished the chapel and rooms. 

On Saturday, January 25, 1950, in the presence of Rev. Elmer Nacy, assistant pastor; the Sisters of St. Dominic of Adrian; Arthur DesRosiers, architect; Edward V. Monahan, contractor; the building committee; and many parishioners, the Rev. Father Edward J. DeKeyser, pastor, broke ground to mark the official beginning of the building of the new St. Lawrence Church. The cornerstone of the new church was blessed and set in place Sunday, September 3, by Auxiliary Bishop Alexander Zaleski. He was assisted by Fr. Nacy and Fr. Joseph Schramm of Mt. Clemens.

On October 28, 1951, His Eminence Edward Cardinal Mooney blessed the new structure before the 11:00 a.m. Mass. Two years later, the parish began a building campaign for a high school. The campaign quickly collected $237,000 ($2.1 million today) and ground was broken the same year.

St. Lawrence High School, complete with 18 classrooms, opened in September of 1954. Four years later, 42 students became the first graduating class. Several parishes were established are outgrowths from St. Lawrence, notably St. Isidore, St. Kieran, St. Matthias, and St. Ephrem.

Fr. DeKeyser celebrated his 25th anniversary as pastor in 1960. On September 30, 1962, Fr. DeKeyser was elevated to Monsignor by Pope John XXIII. He was invested with the of his office by Archbishop John Dearden and was among 14 newly appointed monsignors in the Detroit Archdiocese. By 1966, St. Lawrence had 2,000 registered families.

While the parish continued to grow, St. Lawrence was in debt and the high school was forced to close in 1971. Msgr. DeKeyser soon retired but maintained residence at the rectory as Pastor Emeritus. A month later Fr. Francis H. Burns was appointed pastor and remained at St. Lawrence for the next two decades. The parish soon grew to 3,700 families and during this time, the parish placed a strong emphasis on continuing education and faith formation.

Fr. Francis Burns celebrated his silver anniversary to the priesthood on October 14, 1973, and the City Council of Utica proclaimed that week to be "Fr. Francis Burns Week". Msgr. DeKeyser celebrated his golden anniversary May 9, 1976, the last Mass he celebrated. On Wednesday, December 29, 1976, Monsignor DeKeyser died at the age of 77 after suffering the rigors of hip surgery. 
The sanctuary: Blessed Mother statue to the left and tabernacle to the right - Source

During the 1980s, extensive repairs were made to the church roof, walls, bell tower, doors, steps and stained-glass windows. The following year, an attached activities building opened and was named after Msgr. DeKeyser. Five cantors from the parish sang in the Papal Mass on September 19, 1987, with Pope St. John Paul II.

Thirty Detroit churches closed in 1989, one of which was another by the name of St. Lawrence located in the area of Michigan Avenue & Lonyo. Fr. Stanley Kasprzyk, pastor of the southwest Detroit parish, donated two statues of the patron as well as several vestments, a banner, and other church furnishings. The same year, Utica's St. Lawrence began a $450,000 renovation program. A balcony, with a capacity for more than 100 people, was added to the church. In addition, the tabernacle was moved to a side altar, restrooms were updated, lighting replaced, refurbished church interior, new carpet and HVAC. 

In the early 1990s, St. Lawrence was reportedly the largest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit. In conjunction with the parish's 125th anniversary, the church was designated as a Michigan Historic Site on May 15, 1991. Fr. Burns retired in 1991 but most of his successors have seen only one or two year pastorates. Fr. Bob Fisher was pastor 2003-2014, until he was assigned as pastor of National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in 2014. Fr. Roman Pasieczny has been pastor for the last two years and is currently assisted by Fr. Robert Salton and Fr. Matthew Ellis.


Monday–Friday, 8:00 am
Wednesday (during school year), 9:30 am
Saturday, 4:30 pm
Sunday, 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 noon

Reconciliation, Saturday, 3:30 pm
Eucharistic Adoration, First Friday of every month from Noon3:00 pm
(September through May)
Perpetual Help Devotions, Tuesday morning after the 8:00 am Mass