Friday, November 17, 2017

Our Lady of Sorrows (Farmington)

During the early 20th Century, Catholics living in Farmington had to make a ten-mile trek to the nearest church, St. Mary of Redford in northwest Detroit. Eventually, in September of 1927, Bishop Michael Gallagher appointed Fr. Edward O’Mahoney as founding pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish. A narrow strip of land along Shiawassee Road, including a "big white house" on the corner of Power Road was purchased. This house served as the parish rectory for many years.
The first church and rectory
The first Mass was on Sunday, September 11, 1927, at the chapel of the former Sarah Fisher House, at 12 Mile and Inkster.

Men of the parish quickly began building a temporary, 125-seat church. The first Mass in the church was celebrated on November 6 of that year. A 1928 addition to the church doubled its capacity; Fr. James Callahan succeeded as pastor that same year.
The first Our Lady of Sorrows School
Fr. John Larkin was assigned as pastor in March of 1932. Mrs. C.F. Smith donated three acres of land to the parish and her son, Henry, built a three-room schoo and later expanded in 1940-1941. On October 26, 1943, Fr. Thomas Beahan became the fourth pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows and there were 500 registered families at the time.
The first convent that housed Adrian Dominican Sisters.

At the end of World War II, Charles D. Hannan was hired to oversee the expansion of church property. A new school, with a capacity of 400 students, opened in the fall of 1948. A gymnasium and temporary church, with a capacity of 750, soon followed.

The first Mass in the temporary church was Christmas Midnight Mass in 1948. Shortly afterwards, the first church was demolished to make room for the permanent edifice.

Construction of the current church began in November of 1959 and, that same year, Fr. Beahan received the title of Monsignor. A new rectory was opened in January, 1961 and the previous rectory was torn down soon after. Archbishop John Dearden dedicated the new church on March 25, 1961, the day before Palm Sunday.
French artist Jean Charlot painted this fresco behind the altar in the summer of 1961 - Source

Our Lady of Sorrows was originally bounded by Six Mile Road (S), 14 Mile Road (N), Beech Road (E), and Haggerty Road (W). As suburban sprawl continued in the mid-20th Century, eigt child parishes were formed. 
St. Agatha, St. Fabian, St. Colman, St. Priscilla, St. Alexander, St. Aidan, St. Gerald and St. Clare.

Msgr. Beahan retired in 1971 and was replaced by Msgr. Joseph Imesch. Two years later, Imesch became an Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit but continued his role as pastor for four more years. Father Kean D. Cronin was appointed pastor on June 28, 1977. He continued in that role for more than two decades before he was replaced by Msgr. Walter A. Hurley in 1990. 

During the 1990s, Our Lady of Sorrows grew from 2,600 to 3,100 families and enrollment increased at the school. There were 965 students in the 2000-2001 academic year.

Hurley was eventually ordained an Auxiliary Bishop on August 12, 2003. Fr. John West was soon installed at the eighth pastor and maintained that role until his sudden death from a heart attack on April 14, 2005. Fr. Mark Brauer became the ninth pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows on August 27, 2005, and remains in the position today.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus stands at the back of the nave.

A painting of Our Lady of Sorrows in the parish hall; banners depicting previous pastors around the parking lot in honor of the 90th anniiversary.


As one of the larger parishes in the archdiocese, Our Lady of Sorrows is staffed by three priests and two permanent deacons, there is Mass at least once, if not twice, every weekday and there are five Sunday Masses.

For more info: parish website

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