Ground was broken for a temporary church on Sunday, October 5, 1947, and construction was completed eight months later. The first Mass in the church was a nuptial Mass on June 12, 1948. The official dedication of the church took place September 28, 1948, with Cardinal Mooney presiding. By 1955, the parish grew to 2,000 families and needed a larger church.
For the first few years of the parish, seven sisters from Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters taught catechism at the parish. Every Sunday, they drove from their convent near the cathedral to teach 150 children. In April, 1950, construction began on a parish school and five Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis would soon arrive. Despite construction delays, the first day of class was held on September 13, 1950, with Sisters Irmina, Aquinata, Angeline, Perpetua, and Virgianne, along with two lay teachers and 330 students. Aquinas High School was established in 1966; it was sponsored by Christ the Good Shepherd as well as St. Aloysius (Romulus) and St. Pius X (Southgate).
Fr. Torzewski retired on October 1, 1973, and was replaced Fr. Adolph Redwick. In 1990, Fr. Redwick was succedded by Fr. David Buersmeyer. For these first three priests, Christ the Good Shepherd was their first assignment as a pastor. Aquinas High school closed in 2001 and Fr. Kevin Thomas became pastor the following year. Fr. Anthony Richter succeeded him in 2009 and remains pastor today.
The parish grade school closed at the end of the 2009-2010 academic year. However, John Paul II Catholic School, a regional school, opened at the same site the following fall. It is one of only two Downriver Catholic elementary schools. Christ the Good Shepherd sponsors the school along with the Wyandotte parishes of Our Lady of the Scapular and St. Vincent Pallotti.
Painted Stations of the Cross, reclaimed from the now-closed St. John Cantius Church, were installed and dedicated in May of 2012.
In 2013, Fr. Richter was also assigned administrator of St. Henry Parish. St. Henry Church closed the following March and merged with Christ the Good Shepherd. A statue of St. Henry stands outside of the church and in front of a prayer garden. Christ the Good Shepherd stands in the center of the garden.
Another St. Henry statue stands in a corner of the vestibule, under the Infant of Prague. Another Good Shepherd stands in the opposite corner.
The Last Supper is depicted on the front the altar which once stood at nearby Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. A depiction of Psalm 23, created by Jean Charlot, frames the tabernacle and crucifix. There may have once stood a high altar where there is now a gold, recessed area.
Like many mid-century churches, there are no side altars but the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph depicted on either side of the sanctuary.
The Baptism of Christ and the Last Supper are depicted on the back wall of the nave.
Also on the back wall are the Good Shepherd and crosses engraved with the names of recently-departed parishioners.
A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary stands in front of the school. Another depiction of Christ the Good Shepherd, on the facade of the church, references John 10:11
Saturday Vigil Mass is at 4:00pm preceded by Confessions at 2:30pm. Sunday Masses are at 9:00am and 11:00am. Tuesdays bring Perpetual Help devotions at 6:50pm, followed by 7:00pm Mass. Morning Mass is celebrated on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Welcome to Christ the Good Shepherd from Christ the Good Shepherd on Vimeo.
About the parish merger: The News Herald
Photos of Christ the Good Shepherd: AOD Film Services
Photos of St. Henry: AOD Film Services + Facebook
About John Paul II Catholic School: school website