Wednesday, February 28, 2018

St. Mary Magdalen (Melvindale)

In 1925, a lay group petitioned Bishop Gallagher to establish a parish in Melvindale and the petition was soon granted. Fr. Julius Bono celebrated the first Mass of St. Mary Magdalen Parish on January 12, 1926. Before the parish built a church, they worshiped at the former Dasher School, on the corner of Allen Road and Demean Street, two blocks south from what would eventually be the permanent location. Dasher School was not in use at the time and Fr. Bono rented the building for $25 per month. The school was later demolished to make room for a railroad. When it opened, the parish served all of Melvindale, Allen Park and Taylor, as well as portions of Dearborn, Dearborn Township, Lincoln Park and southwest Detroit.

Fr. Alfred Saylor was appointed pastor in 1927 and, two years later, he oversaw construction of a combination church and parish school. The school consisted of four classrooms for eight grades on the second floor of the building while the ground floor was used as the church. Fr. Saylor celebrated the first Mass in the new church on Oct. 2, 1929.

The parish continued to grow and the school needed to expand so a new church was then built across the street. The first Mass in the current church was in November of 1955 and the tabernacle from the previous edifice is still in use. A child parish of St. Conrad was established in 1966, also in Melvindale, less than two miles from St. Mary Magdalen.

The mural behind the altar was painted by a Chicago-based artist, Melville Philip Steinfels, in 1955. Our Lord stands at the center, holding grapes and wheat, surrounded by the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. Joseph the Baptist and the Apostles.

St. Mary Magdalen School celebrated it's 75th Anniversary in 2004 but, due to low enrollment, the school closed shortly after. St. Conrad Church closed in 2008 and merged with St. Mary Magdalen.
The former St. Conrad Church at 3350 Melwood - Source

Relics from both churches were incorporated into the furnishings of the Daily Mass chapel at St. Mary Magdalen. 
The altar from St. Conrad also was installed as the main altar St. Mary Magdalen. In 2011, the parish clustered with Ss. Andrew & Benedict Parish in Detroit. That year, Fr. Edward Zaorski was appointed pastor at Ss. Andrew & Benedict while he assisted at St. Mary Magdalen. Two years later, Fr. Zaorski became pastor of both parishes and both churches remain open.

Most of the windows are bright, colorful and geometric. Clerestory windows are green, orange, pink and yellow while various tints of blue tower over the front facade.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit hangs in the narthex. Also in the narthex is an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, with saints from North and South America.  Clockwise from top left are: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Kateri Tekakwitha, St. John Neumann, St. Martin de Porres, St. Katharine Drexel, St. Juan Diego, St. Frances Cabrini and St. Rose of Lima.

The parish namesake stands at the edge of the sanctuary.

The baptismal font stands on the north side of the church.

To the right of the altar is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pictured with two children, as well as Mary, Undoer of Knots.

The Holy Family is portrayed at the left side of the altar.

Stations of the Cross line the walls of both transepts.


Saturday Vigil Mass is at 4:30pm, preceded by Confessions at 3:30pm while Sunday Mass is at 10:00am. Monday nights bring 6:00pm Angelus followed by Rosary and 6:30pm Mass. Tuesday mornings bring 9:00am Mass.

On the parish's 90th anniversary in 2016: The News Herald
About the closure of St. Conrad's: The Spirit of the City Blog
More about Fr. Zaorski: The Michigan Catholic

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

St. Colette (Livonia)

St. Colette Church stands in the northwest region of Livonia, on Newburgh Road, north of Six Mile Road.

A depiction of the patron stands outside of the main entrance; a large cross hangs off the roof.

The Holy Spirit descends upon the tabernacle, at the corner of the sanctuary. Symbols of the seven sacraments are shown behind the altar. The Resurrected Christ is suspended above the presider's chair.

The Holy Family and St. Colette are depicted on the back wall of the nave.

The Infant of Prague, St. Jude, and St. Anthony are also on the back wall. 

One interesting feature that's I've never seen before is that the organ and choir are in a triangular wedge at the back of the church.

Fr.  Gary Michalik has ministered as pastor since 2010 and is assisted by Deacon Gary Pardo. Fr. Michalik is also President of West Side Detroit Polish American Historical Society

Local muralist, Dennis Orlowski, painted a mural at St. Colette in 2015. The mural depicts the history of Polish-Americans on the west side of Detroit.
Dennis Orlowski working at St. Colette - Source

Daily Mass is at 9:00am on Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Fridays followed by the Rosary.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available at 2:00pm on Saturdays, followed by Vigil Mass at 4:00pm and 5:30pm. Sunday Masses are at 8:00am, 9;30am, 11:00am, and 12:30pm.

More info: parish website + Hometown LifeChanging Lives Together
Another blog post: Discovering Detroit Catholic Churches

A great conversion story about one of the parishioners: 
A dispatch from God: How a 911 call led emergency worker to conversion

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Holy Family (Novi)

Novi grew rapidly during the 1970s and, in September of 1974, nearly 200 gathered for the first Mass at Orchard Hills School, their temporary church. Holy Family Parish was established two months later, on November 12, 1974, with Fr. Kevin O'Brien as founding pastorJohn Cardinal Dearden dedicated the church on November 5, 1977.

Holy Family used to be typical for suburban churches built at the time: sterile and geometric architecture with modern furnishings, chairs instead of pews, etc.
The church before renovations - source
The church underwent massive renovations throughout the entire building in 2016 and 2017.

New flooring, both carpet and tile, was added and new pews were installed. The preexisting baptismal font is one of few objects remaining.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron rededicated the church at the end of January.
A large crucifix hangs over the altar. A refurbished tabernacle was added to the sanctuary along with accent lights that reflect liturgical seasons.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary is depicted in a reclaimed, rose window above the main entrance.

Two antique, stained-glass windows depicting the Holy Family are in the sanctuary. They are likely reclaimed from the same church as the rose window. At left is the Finding of Jesus in the Temple and the Nativity of Our Lord on the right.

A niche for Our Lady of Guadalupe, near the sacristy, is indicative of the Hispanic population at the parish. A San Damiano crucifix hangs near the front doorthis crucifix seems to be the same one that used to be suspended over the altar.

A chapel is located next to the main entrance. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is available here on 10am-7pm on Mondays and Tuesdays as well as 10am-Noon, Wednesday-Friday.

Fr. Robert LaCroix is Pastorassisted by Fr. James Houbeck, Associate Pastor, and Deacon Robert Ervin, permanent deacon.

Fr. Houbeck previously ministered at the parish as a transitional deacon before he was ordained to the priesthood on October 7, 2017, by Archbishop Vigneron. He needed an extra semester to finish his studies so he was ordained after the annual ordinations in the spring.
Then-Deacon James Houbeck processed into Holy Family Church
before his ordination to the priesthood. - Source

Saturday Vigil is at 4:30pm and 6:30pm (Spanish) preceded by Reconciliation at 2:00pm. Sunday Masses at at 8:30am, 10:30am, and 12:30pm. Daily, morning Mass is at 9:00am Monday-Friday. Evening Mass is at 7:00pm on Mondays and Tuesdays.

For more info: parish website
Other blog posts: Discovering Detroit Catholic Churches + The Joyful Celibate
More about the renovation: parish update June 2016Renkus-HeinzConstantine George Pappas Architecture,
The Michigan Catholic articles on the ordination of Fr. Houbeck: 10/5/1710/17/17

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

St. Regis (Bloomfield Hills)

St. Regis Parish began as a mission of Holy Name Parish in 1959 under the direction of Msgr. Eugene E. Paddock. The parish was established on June 19, 1962, by Cardinal Dearden and named after his patron saint – St. John Francis Regis. Fr. Thomas Shields was founding pastor and he led construction efforts of the rectory (finished in 1963), convent (1964), church (1968), activities center (gym and cafeteria – 1969). Fr. Shields resigned on October 22, 1978 due to illness.
Construction of the current church during the 1960s - Source
Fr. Daniel Murphy succeeded as pastor and led the parish until his retirement two decades later. He led many outreach activities such a Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference. The parish adopted a refugee family from Cambodia in 1981 and they converted to Catholicism three years later. 
The sanctuary of the church, as it appeared before recent renovations. - Source

In 1999, Adam Cardinal Maida appointed Fr. Norman Nawrocki as pastor. He expanded the parish's outreach with a school and hospital in Cameroon and provided supplies to a mission in Ghana. Fr. Nawrocki also led a long-term planning process that included refurbishment of the church, a chapel, new parish offices, a social hall and an addition to the parish school.
A view from the altar before the renovations

In 2011,  Archbishop Allen Vigneron appointed Msgr. Charles Kosanke as pastor. He led more long-term planning and oversaw renovation of the church building, which was completed in June of 2015. A year later, Fr. David Buersmeyer began his current term as pastor.
The sanctuary and altar were remodeled to a large crucifix and traditional niches of
the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph

A chapel, connected to the church, was completed in December of 2016 and soon blessed by Archbishop Vigneron.
Archbishop Vigneron celebrated the first Mass in the chapel.
Far left: current pastor, Fr. David Buersmeyer. Far right: former pastor, Msgr. Kosanke

Pews and stained-glass windows were transferred from the former St. John Cantius Church to the chapel at St. Regis.

Daily Mass is celebrated in the chapel at 6:30am, TuesdayThursday, and Mondays at 6:45pm. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed and adored here Monday–Friday, 12:30pm–6:30pm, with extended hours on Tuesday evenings until 8:30pm.

Female saints are pictured on the left side (Blessed Virgin side) of the chapel while male saints are hown on the right side (St. Joseph side).

Stations of the Cross line the back wall of the nave.

The Sacred Heart of Jesus stands on one end of the church.

The parish patron stands in the vestibule between the church and chapel; a large crucifix hangs in front of the chapel entrance.

Daily Mass is in the main church at 8:30am on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, preceded by Morning Prayer and followed with the Rosary. Saturday Vigil Mass is 4:30pm, preceded by Reconciliation at 3:00pm. Sunday Masses are at 8am, 10am, and Noon.

For more info: parish website