Thursday, June 28, 2018

St. Robert Bellarmine (Redford Twp.)

Cardinal Mooney canonically established St. Robert Bellarmine Parish on June 26, 1953, with Fr. George T. Stromske as founding pastor. The first Mass was celebrated on Sunday, July 12, 1953, with 185 in attendance. In the next several months, the congregation quickly grew to 800 and the parish needed a permanent church. They bought land on the border of Redford and Livonia, at the corner of West Chicago and Inkster Roads, that was previously owned by the Daughters of Charity as an alternate site for the Sarah Fisher Home.

The cornerstone of the church was laid on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1954, and Msgr. Walter Hardy led the ceremony. Construction was quickly finished and the first Mass was three months later, on July 18, 1954. On the same day, 50 children received First Holy Communion and a parish school was established the same year.

Like many parochial schools, St. Robert Bellarmine struggled with declining enrollment and increasing debt in the 21st Century. They planned to merge and form a regional school along with St. Genevieve in Livonia, St. Damian in Westland, and St. Raphael in Garden City. Those plans did not come to fruition and all four schools closed after the 2014-2015 academic year.

St. Robert Bellarmine clustered with St. Hilary and St. John Bosco in 2012. St. Hilary closed in 2014 but the other two remained clustered. Last year, a transition team began the long-term planning process for the cluster. A recommendation was made that the two parishes merge to form the new parish of St. John XXIII, effective July 1, 2018. It is likely that one of the two churches will close soon.

The two current pastors, Fr. Richard Osebold and Fr. Richard Leliaert, respectively, will both retire shortly.  Fr. Leliaert has been pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine since 2006 and has been granted senior priest status at the age of 77. Bishop Emeritus Walter Hurley will be administrator and assisted by Fr. Gregory Piatt.

The Paschal candle and baptismal font stand in the middle of the nave; a bust of the namesake at the back of the church.

St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary at a side altar; BVM and child Jesus stand in a niche behind the side altar.

St. Jude, St. Joseph the Worker, and the Good Shepherd in the same niche.

Most of the windows are clear, with the exception of eight stained-glass windows behind the altar.

More info: parish website + Detroit Free Press

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

St. Anthony of Padua (Temperance)

The cornerstone of St. Antony of Padua Church was laid n July 4, 1907, but there were three delays before construction could start. Once construction began, the edifice was finished in seven months under the director of Fr. Alphonse Bertele, Pastor of St. Joseph in Ida

The first Mass was in the church basement on November 24, 1907 and the first Mass in the sanctuary was the following Christmas. Fr. Denis Needham was the founding pastor and led the 87 founding families.

A statue of the namesake stands in front of the rectory. Another statue, in memory of World War II veterans, stands in front of the former parish school.


Large, painted Stations of the Cross have faded over the course of decades.

A Perpetual Adoration chapel, built in 1989, is located in between the vestibule and main church.

A large stained-glass window was installed in the vestibule for the parish's centennial.

A baptistery stands in the vestibule between the church and parish office. The baptismal font likely stood at the back of the church at one time. Another statue of St. Anthony stands near the baptistery.

Fr. Brian Hurley was installed as pastor in 2006 and served two terms. He will soon be installed as pastor of Immaculate Conception in Lapeer and Fr. Robert Slaton will become administrator of St. Anthony.

Stained-glass window above the central door.

The stained-glass windows here are almost identical to those at St. Joseph Church in nearby Ida. The windows in both churches were likely created by the same fabricator.

The church has a vault ceiling with many arches throughout. Much like the Stations, murals behind the altars appear to have faded over time.

The Deposition of Christ overlooks the main altar. A baldachin with the Descent of Holy Spirit covers the main altar.

The Immaculate Conception and St. Anthony with Child Jesus are depicted at side altars.

Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Thérèse stands in a niche.

Our Lady Help of Christians, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and St. Joseph stand in another niche.

The parish manages St. Anthony Cemetery, located three miles east of the church.


For more info: parish website + The Michigan Catholic

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Holy Family, Inkster (closed)

Holy Family Parish was established in 1945 with Fr. Charles J. Diehl, a Spiritan priest, as founding pastor.

A church was soon built on Annapolis St., on the southern edge of Inkster, and across the from southeastern corner of Westland.

Like many churches built at the time, Holy Family was designed in a mid-century modern style.

Two more parishes were eventually established in Inkster. St. Norbert was consecrated in 1951 and St. Kevin in 1957. These two parishes merged in 1990 to form SS. Kevin and Norbert Parish. That parish then closed in 2004.
The former St. Norbert Church and School still stand off of Inkster Rd., south of Cherry Hill.

Tall, narrow, rectangular windows covered the ball wall of Holy Family Church.

A side altar to the Blessed Virgin Mary; St. Martin de Porres stands nearby.

A side altar to St. Joseph surrounded by smaller statues of the Holy Family; the baptismal font stood next to the altar.

In 2011, during the Together in Faith process, it was stated that "Holy Family is aware that its facilities are in need of a new roof, of repairs to the foundation, parking lot and boiler.  They have no funds for these repairs."

For the last few years, priests of St. Mary Parish in Wayne ministered at Holy Family. Even though they had only one weekly Mass, the parish maintained an active food pantry and community outreach.

On May 9, 2018, Archbishop Vigneron issued a decree, according to Canon Law, that closed Holy Family Parish. The decree was displayed in the vestibule, warning that the church was scheduled to close and why it was closing.

One of the reason's that the Archbishop cited for the closure is that population within the parish territory has dropped by 50% in the last 16 years. St. Mary Parish in Wayne will take over the territory, assets, and responsibilities of Holy Family Family Parish. 

Bishop Walter Hurley, retired Bishop of Grand Rapids, celebrated the last Mass on June 3, 2018. Parish operations officially ceased on June 11, 2018.

For more info: Facebook & Together in Faith
More photos of Holy Family: AOD Film Services

More about St. Norbert: St. Norbert alumni