Wednesday, July 30, 2014

St. Ladislaus and St. Louis the King closing

Both St. Ladislaus (Hamtramck) and St. Louis the King (northeast Detroit) are to close in the coming months though no specific date has been set. Both churches are part of St. John Paul II Parish and their third church, Transfiguration/Our Lady Help of Christians will remain open. Inability to pay maintenance costs is cited as the reason for closure.

For more info: parish bulletin & WDIV
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Return to Ste. Anne

On July 24, 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac landed on the shores of the Detroit River near where Hart Plaza stands today. Two days later, on the Solemnity of St. Anne, a log chapel was dedicated. A plaque at the northwest corner of Griswold and Jefferson marks the location of the first church.

On October 5, 1703, the church, rectory, and several other buildings were destroyed in a fire.  Eleven years later, another church was intentionally destroyed by the soldiers of Fort Pontchartain to prevent it from housing enemies.
A scale model of a previous church displayed in the narthex
Fr. Gabriel Richard, a member of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, served as pastor 1802-1832. Among his accomplishments: brought the first printing press to Michigan, co-founded the University of Michigan, and started schools for Native Americans, girls, and the deaf. He also served in the U.S. Congress and gained funding to build Michigan Avenue, the first road to connect Detroit and Chicago. To thank President Jefferson for the funding, nearby Jefferson Avenue was named in his honor. On June 11, 1805, a great fire destroyed nearly every building in the city though, thankfully, it did not claim any lives. After this great devastation, the people sought to rebuild the church with as much flame-resistant material as possible, thus the "stone church" was built in 1818. Fr. Richard passed away during the cholera epidemic of 1832 and his remains are interred at a chapel behind the main church.

As downtown grew, Ste. Anne split into two parishes. Ste. Anne moved downriver while the child parish, St. Joachim (1885-1989), moved to the near east side.  The current Ste. Anne de Detroit, the parish's eighth edifice, was built in 1886 following a Gothic Revival style with some Victorian elements. The architect was Leon Coquard and Louis Leander did the interior wood carving, both men were parishioners.

The church has a capacity of 1,400 worshipers and is the largest wood-frame building in the city. Many pieces from the "stone church" are still used in the current church. Among them: the 1818 cornerstone, the altar in the chapel, communion rail, one bell, clerestory windows, and the statue of St. Anne and child Mary.

Parish membership dwindled in the 1960s and maintenance costs climbed. In 1966, the church faced demolition but a $750,000 fundraising drive saved them. Today, the parish is home to 850 families, 3/4 of them being Latino.

Gilded reredos back a high altar made of white marble and wood.

St. Anthony of Padua and St. Francis of Assisi flank the sanctuary.

St. Rita adores a crucifix in between St. Joseph's altar and the Sacred Heart altar.

Many crutches and braces at St. Anne's altar serve as testimony to her intercession for physical cures. Next to this stands an altar to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Multiple statues of St. Anne and St. Mary, including one accompanied by St. Joachim, are found throughout the church.

Ste. Anne's reportedly houses the oldest stained-glass windows in the city and some say are original to the church.

A 1919 tornado destroyed the transept windows; the current ones depict the Coming of the Magi, Jesus' Entry Into Jerusalem, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Last Supper.

The Star of David is found in the rose window and in the floor of the nave.

Wooden spires, each about one foot tall, stand at each end of the pews.

Msgr. Russell Kohler serves as pastor of both Ste. Anne's and nearby Most Holy Trinity. He is assisted by Fr. Timothy Laboe and Fr. José Jaime Del Toro, CSB.

Daily Mass is celebrated in the chapel Tuesdays at 5:15pm (English), Thursdays at 6:00pm (Spanish), and First Fridays at 5:15pm. Saturday Vigil Mass is at 5:00pm. Sunday Masses are at 8:30am, 10:00am (Spanish), and Noon.

We previously featured Ste. Anne de Detroit here.
More info: bulletin archive & parish website
More photos: Sherlock Photo & Flickr

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Novena to St. Anne

St. Anne is the patroness of the Archdiocese of Detroit, as such there are two opportunities to pray the Novena to St. Anne leading up to her feast day on July 26. Ste. Anne de Detroit and Marianhill Missionaries will both celebrate the occasion.


The parish of Ste. Anne de Detroit, by far the oldest parish in AOD, customarily does a novena to their patron. Each day starts with Mass followed by group recitation of the Rosary, a procession, and novena prayers. Each day of the novena, celebrations are targeted towards a particular demographic.

Thursday, July 17, 7 pm; Catholic Youth
Friday, July 18, 7 pm; Ukrainian/Croatian
Saturday, July 19, 7 pm; French
Sunday, July 20, 11 am; Latino & Alumni 
Monday, July 21, 7 pm; Refugee/Immigrant
Tuesday, July 22, 7 pm; Healing/Sacrament of Sick
Wednesday, July 23, 7 pm; Polish
Thursday, July 24, 7 pm; Italian
Friday, July 25, 7 pm; Irish
Saturday, July 26, 7 pm; Feast Day, celebrated by Archbishop Allen Vigneron. 

Refreshments and music after each Mass. For more info, see the parish website


Marianhill Missionaries, located on the border between Detroit & Dearborn Heights, will pray the novena July 17-25. Service starts every day at 7:30pm with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, sermon, Litany to St. Anne, Benediction, and veneration of her relic. Services held in the large chapel near the belltower.

For more info: call (313) 561-7140 or visit their website

Monday, July 07, 2014

St. Mary's of Redford

St. Mary's of Redford was established in 1843 as a mission parish to serve what was, at the time, a rural area. For the first decade, the parish was led by visiting priests and it was not until 1857 that the parish had a full-time pastor. The original church and rectory were destroyed by fire, on separate occasions, in 1857 and both cases were believed to be arson. A second church was built in 1860.
The second church. source
A parish school was finished in 1920 and staffed by IHM Sisters. The parish grew rapidly during the 1920s and they sought to build a larger church. The pastor reached out to architect Albert Kahn but Kahn declined and referred the pastor to Ralph Adams Cram. Cram accepted the offer and he later went on to design St. Florian Church.

Groundbreaking took place on May 1, 1925 with construction done by the firm of Talbot-Meier. The granite church was dedicated by Bishops Plagens on October 12, 1927.

St. Mary's continued to grow to the point that the parish started additional chapels in the 1950s. These two chapels eventually became separate parishes and later closed in 1989: Mother of Our Savior (1959 - 1989) and Our Lady Queen of Hope (1965 - 1989), respectively.

Madonna with Child stands in the ambulatory. 
The altar table appears to be repurposed from the original communion rail since it matches size, shape, and style of those remaining at the side altars.

Elaborate, gothic-inspired side altars dedicated to Mary and Joseph. This gilded, gothic-inspired style is similar to the high altar at St. Florian.

The tabernacle is located in the east transept at the Sacred Heart altar.

Elaborate windows, depicting Jesus and the Blessed Mother, are found on the east side of the nave and above the choir loft.

Bright, pastel windows are found in the clerestory.

In the west side of the nave, depictions of saints are found along alcoves.

Symbols of the four evangelists are found in the vestibule.

Daily Mass is held in a side chapel on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8:30am.

Saturday Vigil Mass is 4:00pm preceded by confession at 3:15pm. Sunday Mass is at 8:30am  (no choir) and 11:00am (with choir). Fr. Tyrone Robinson is the current pastor as well as Vicar for the Trinity Vicariate.

Parish website (including detailed history): St. Mary's of Redford

History of the school: IHM Sisters
For more photos: Flickr & AOD Film Services