Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ongoing Events During Advent

Ignatian Spirituality Series
9:15am-10:15am first three Sundays of Advent
November 30, December 7 and 14
Fr. Nathan Wendt, SJ, leads introduction to spiritual exercises
Mass before and after; 8:00am and 10:30am
Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe
6:00pm everyday: Wednesday, December 3 - Thursday, December 11
Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe
7:00pm everyday: Wednesday, December 3 - Thursday, December 11
Traveling Icon* of Our Lady of Częstochowa
Sunday, December 7 - Sunday, December 14
Church open everyday 8am-9pm
Weekday Mass everyday at 6:30pm
Evening prayer everyday at 9:00pm
*not the original icon, but a blessed replica and third-class relic

Monday, November 17, 2014

Return to St.Hyacinth Church

At the beginning of the 20th Century, as parishioners from St. Albertus slowly moved away, Polish immigrants petitioned for another parish. In 1907, the parish of St. Hyacinth, known in Polish as Święty Jacka or Święty Jacek Odrowąż, was established with Fr. Sylvester Kolkiewicz as the founding pastor. The first Masses were held at the home of Martin Tesmar, one block south of the eventual, permanent site. The first church was built in only sixteen days, in December of 1907, and located where the parking lot is today.

A combination church and school was built in 1908 and it still stands today. Felician Sisters staffed the new school under the direction of the first principal, Sr. Mary Celine. The current church is dated to 1922 and was designed by the firm of Donaldson and Meier, architects of many Detroit churches.

Msgr. Stefan Woznicki was appointed pastor in 1936 and elevated to auxiliary bishop two years later. Despite his responsibilities as an active bishop, Woznicki maintained pastoral duties for the next fourteen years.

An outdoor Marian shrine, dated to 1966, commemorates 1,000 years of Christianity in Poland. In 1981, nearby Immaculate Conception was forced to close. After this, many of their parishioners moved to St. Hyacinth. The parish high school closed only ten years after the first graduating class. In 1990, the elementary school followed suit and the remaining Felician Sisters left the parish. To this day, the former school building is still used as a social hall.

In 2002, the church underwent a massive restoration. Major cleaning and repairs to the canvas, statues, walls and stained-glass windows were accomplished. The cost of the painting alone was $120,000.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus stands at the middle entrance, flanked by a Polish flag, a U.S. flag, and logo for Detroit's tricentennial.

The sanctuary is well-preserved and one of the most elaborate of any church in Detroit.

Fr. Janusz Iwan, a Polish-born priest, has served as pastor since 2006.

The Last Supper is engraved on the facade of the freestanding altar.

Three cupolas are found in the ceiling of the nave, each showing particular saints around the perimeter.

Icons of saints, particularly the evangelists, surround each cupola. Corinthian columns line the side aisles.

Reflecting their Polish heritage, images of Our Lady of Częstochowa and Pope St. John Paul II appear in front of the left side altar.

St. Joseph, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Anthony of Padua also stand at the same shrine.

A large crucifix and Infant of Prague stand near the right altar.

St. Stanislaus, a martyr and the first Polish-born bishop, appears in the left side of the nave near a Marian shrine.

St. Maximilian Kolbe appears in the right side of the nave, near a shrine to the parish's patron.

Dennis Orlowski, a local artist of Polish descent, was commissioned to paint a mural depicting the Polish ancestry of the parish. On one side, it shows historic Polish churches of the Poleton neighborhood. Another side depicts Polish customs such as a Wigilia.


St. Hyacinth is regularly included in historic church tours and was the first to host the Detroit Mass Mob.

The parish has some unique, annual traditions. In the spring of each year,  St. Hyacinth hosts a Mass to celebrate Polish for dance groups with as many as 200 dancers in attendance. The parish "Banana Festival" is held the first weekend of October every year. 

The parish website includes a robust history report and detail hagiography of the patron.

We previously featured St. Hyacinth three years ago. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Assumption Church (Windsor)

In 1748, Fr. Armand De La Richardie, S.J., came from Quebec to establish a mission church serving Native converts living in modern-day Windsor. It became known as "The Mission of Our Lady of the Assumption among the Hurons of Detroit."

In 1765, sixty French families petitioned for their own parish nearby. Instead of segregating the two groups, they were combined under the Parish of Our Lady of the Assumption. A new church measuring 60' x 30' was built to replace the 1749 chapel which was falling into ruins. In June of 1801, nearly 500 converts were confirmed at the parish.

Fr. Potier, a Jesuit missionary, became the first pastor and served in the capacity until his death 32 years later. The parish used two more churches before the cornerstone of the present edifice was laid July 7, 1842 and opened three years later. 

In 1870, Basilian Fathers from Toronto were invited to the parish. They accepted and have been there since. In 1874, the belltower and sanctuary were added to the church. At the same time, stained glass windows were installed in the sanctuary and apse. The brilliant windows in the nave were added in 1882.

While Our Lady of Assumption Church is in Windsor, it is barely across the river, and stands alongside the Ambassador Bridge. It is also the oldest continuous parish in Ontario. In the metro Detroit area, only the parish of Ste. Anne de Detroit is older. It is also the oldest extant church in the region and three years older than S.S. Peter & Paul (Jesuit).

The nearby Rosary chapel used for private prayer and daily Mass.


Built by French Canadians, the French language appears on the Stations of the Cross and throughout the church.


The Salve Regina is inscribed around the perimeter of the sanctuary.

The Sacred Heart side altar and nearby Infant of Prague.

The beginning of the Asperges Me is inscribed in the holy water fonts.

Pairs of angels are found in the ceiling of the nave.

A statue of the Canadian martyrs stands in one corner of the narthex;  St. Anthony stands in the opposite corner.

For the past six years, Assumption Church has hosted the St. Benedict Tridentine Community and celebrated a regularly-scheduled Tridentine Mass.

The church has a laundry list of needed repairs, totalling $10 million, which the parish currently cannot afford. The church has deficiencies with its roof, foundation, masonry, ceiling, floor tiles, and much more. Because of these issues, the church is currently closed until necessary funds are raised.

Currently, the parish is NOT accepting donations. However, they will accept pledges. In the meantime, the St. Benedict Tridentine Community will celebrate EF Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Windsor) at 7:00pm every Tuesday and at 2:00pm on the first Sunday of each month. All other Sundays, 2:00pm Mass will be at St. Alphonsus Church (Windsor).

More info: parish website
More photos: here and here