Sunday, December 23, 2012

St. Irenaeus-Rochester Hills

St. Irenaeus is located in the upscale community of Rochester Hills in a scenic area among stately looking homes and Oakland University nearby.

The patron saint of St. Irenaeus was born sometime during the 2nd century. He was the bishop of Lugdunum in what is now Lyon France. He was a church father and apologist. He also wrote several books. His feast day is June 28.

When you enter St. Irenaeus church you step into a large welcoming area that leads into the church. Inside the church there are 5 sections of pews, each section has several rows. They form a semi-circle around the main altar. The pews are made of medium oak and have soft kneelers. The Stations of the Cross line up along the back wall of the church behind the pews.

The altar has a statute of Jesus on a cross with his hands held up, as if, in blessing of the church and the congregation. The altar, like most, of St. Irenaeus is modestly decorated. This gives the church a feeling of humbleness and holiness.

A retired priest, “Fr. Frank”, was the celebrant at the mass we attended. He spoke about the importance of making room for God in our lives especially during the time of advent, which he described as a time of new beginnings as we await the birth of, our savior, Jesus Christ.

The mass we attended at St. Irenaeus was well attended by families, seniors and young adults who came together to give thanks to God for all his blessings and to live out the mission statement of the church, which in part, says that they are called to proclaim God’s glory by reaching out to others.

We found the people of St. Irenaeus to be very friendly and welcoming and we enjoyed our visit and the opportunity to praise Jesus in such a wonderful faith-filled community.

Up Next: St. Anthony-Belleville
St. Irenaeus Church
 Christmas Manger on display in front of St. Irenaeus
St. Irenaeus

St. Irenaeus Parish in Rochester Hills
Jesus with hands out stretched

The altar at St. Irenaeus

St. Irenaeus Altar
Jesus, Mary and Joseph



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Lady Queen of Apostles

Our Lady Queen of Apostles was founded in 1917 in the Polish enclave of Hamtramck. It has served this community ever since in good times and bad times.

You enter Our Lady Queen of Apostles through the main entrance’s double wooden doors that face Conant Ave and pass through a small, standard looking, gathering area. This gathering area leads into the main church.

When you enter the church, from the gathering area, there is a main aisle that leads up to the altar. There are pews on both sides of the aisle that are made of light oak and with kneelers that feel just slightly worn and showing their age. The Stations of the Cross adorn the church walls as you walk toward the altar.

Seven columns form a semi-circle around the altar. The end columns have murals painted on them. Over head is a large mural painted on the ceiling. It depicts Mary with the Apostles surrounding her and kneeling in her presence.

The parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Apostles are mostly Polish-American. Some of them have remained in Hamtramck even though the area has changed quite a bit over the years. Some travel to church from the outlying suburbs. They all come for the same reason; to celebrate God’s providence and good will.

As a Polish faith community Our Lady Queen of Apostles is very proud of its heritage. They have a long history of Polish priests that have served at the church since it was founded. They are especially proud of the charismatic and popular Polish pope; John Paul II. They pay homage to this popular pope through devotions to him around the church.

Fr. Bogdan Milosz has been the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Apostles for 13 years, carrying on the tradition of having Polish priest serving at the church. When we visited the church his homily focused on how fortunate we are as American citizens; that we are not subject to the tyranny and dictatorships that some people are in this world. He said we should be forever thankful to God for our freedom and blessings.

Our visit to Our Lady Queen of Apostles was very enjoyable. Fr. Milosz and the parishioners were very friendly. They are truly blessed with God’s love which they share with all who enter their beautiful and historic church.

Up Next: St. Irenaeus-Rochester Hills
Our Lady Queen of Apostles Hamtramck, MI.

Main Entrance to OLQA

Mother Mary 
Altar at OLQA
Mural painted on the ceiling at OLQA
Prayer area
 Sculptures at OLQA

Plaque honoring Pope John Paul II

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows

Our Lady of Sorrows was established in 1959, in the picturesque city of Farmington, MI. At Our Lady of Sorrows they come together each week to celebrate the Eucharist and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

The main entrance to Our Lady of Sorrows leads us into a large gathering area that in turns leads us into the main church area. In the church one is immediately drawn to the altar at the front and center of the church. The altar is green and white marble and has a long rectangular shape. A matching lectern is set off to the left of the altar. The altar is surrounded by brick and wooden fixtures; the brick interior also continues around the rest of the church. Behind the altar is a mural painting showing various events in religious life including Moses, Mary and Joseph. The mural reaches up to the ceiling over the altar.

On either side of the altar are prayer/devotion areas. These areas are elegantly decorated with mosaic paintings of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. There are also candles that people can light in prayer for their loved ones.  These areas provide a quiet area to pray and reflect before and after mass.

The inside of the church is constructed in a semi-circle. Along the back walls, the Stations of the Cross are displayed. The pews at Our Lady of Sorrows are arranged around the altar. They are made of medium oak with soft cushioned kneelers.

The pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows is Fr. Mark Brauer. They also have an associate priest; Fr. Paul Snyder, as well as 2 retired priests who help out as weekend assistants. We attended a Saturday evening mass where Fr. Snyder acted as the celebrant. In his homily, Fr. Snyder talked about the relationship between Jesus and the blind man Bartimeaus.  Fr. Snyder encouraged the congregation to follow the example of Bartimeaus and to be humbled and follow in the ways of the Lord.

We enjoyed our visit to Our Lady of Sorrows. It’s a beautiful church filled with a mix of families, young adults and seniors.  They are true believers and they proclaim the good news that is Jesus Christ in words and actions!

UP NEXT: Our Lady Queen of Apostles-Hamtramck
Our Lady of Sorrows

Entrance to Our Lady of Sorrows
Waterfall in front of church
Steeple at Our Lady of Sorrows
Exterior view of Our Lady of Sorrows
 The altar at Our Lady of Sorrows
Close up view of altar
Artwork at Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, October 7, 2012

St. Bartholomew-St. Rita

St. Bartholomew-St. Rita is symbolic of the northeast Detroit neighborhood in which it sits. It is old and shows it age but somehow manages to retain its beauty and charm.  The church has managed to grow and become more diverse to keep current with its neighbors. They have managed to build on this rich diversity to grow in worship, service and celebration.

The altar at St. Bartholomew-St. Rita is the main attraction and it shows in the loving care that is displayed there. This loving care is highlighted by a beautiful hand carved depiction of the Last Supper in front of the altar. There is also a large cross that hangs on the wall, over the altar, with a crucifix superimposed into the cross.  The church also has many beautiful pieces of religious art work including large statutes of Mary and Joseph which sit at the foot of the cross at the altar.

At St. Bartholomew-St. Rita music fills the church and is an integral part of the mass. The entrance hymn for this week was “Lord of All Hopelessness”. The song offers a hopeful and faith-filled voice to the Lord.

Fr. Ronald Borg is the pastor at St. Bartholomew-St. Rita. In this week’s homily, he gave a vibrant talk on the need to humble one’s self to the Lord. The readings for the week focused on Matthew 20:16, the first shall be last and the last shall be first. Fr. Borg spoke of the need to put God first in our lives and to be humble in our service to God and others.

The parishioners at St. Bartholomew-St. Rita, as in most inter-city Catholic churches, travelled to church from nearby suburbs. They return each week with loyalty and devotion to this place of worship they call home. They were very friendly and welcoming to our family. Many of them reached out to us; thanked us for visiting and encouraging us to return whenever we’re in the neighborhood. They made our visit an enjoyable and memorable one.

Up Next: Our Lady of Sorrow-Farmington
A tribute to Mary sits in a glass enclosure outside the church

St. Bartholomew-St. Rita Parish
 Front of the church
 The cross that hangs over the church
 Joseph with baby Jesus
 a hand carved depiction of the last supper
 in front of the altar
 Some of the art work that adorns the church
 A large cross sits in back of the alter, with a
crucifix super-imposed into it
 The altar at St. Bartholomew-St. Rita

Thursday, September 6, 2012

St. Dunstan-Garden City

St. Dunstan was one of the most popular saints in all of England prior to St. Thomas A Beckett. He lived during the 10 century and was the Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury.  He is the patron saint of goldsmiths and silversmiths because of his work as a blacksmith, painter and jeweler. St. Dunstan’s feast day is May 19.

St. Dunstan church in Garden City is named for this popular saint. The church has a modern look and feel to it. The floors are carpeted and the windows look out on the grounds of St. Dunstan.

The altar is at the head of the church with pews surrounding the front and sides of it. The pews are L- shaped, possibly to provide an excellent view of the altar no matter where you sit. The altar is made of slatted oak and has a matching lectern. There are statutes of Jesus and Mary that adorn either side of the altar and a small crucifix sits centered over the altar.

Fr. Don LaCuesta is the pastor at St. Dunstan and he presided at the mass we attended. In his homily, Fr. Don explained the readings for the day and implored the congregation to follow God’s word in order to grown closer to Him.

St. Dunstan is made up of a mix of young families and seniors. This helps give the church a youthful feel without diminishing the important role that the seniors play in the church.

In recent years the parishioners at St. Dunstan have gone through some trials and tribulations that were highlighted by a well publicized financial scandal and high priest turnover. However, through it all they have remained steadfast in their faith and believe in God and each other. It was obvious to us that it was this faith and believe in God that has sustained them and made St. Dunstan a vibrant community to worship and serve the Lord. This was most evident when Fr. Don announced at the mass that they had met their CSA goal for the first time in several years--A great triumph over all their recent trials and tribulations.

Up Next: St. Bartholomew/St. Rita-Detroit

St Dunstan Catholic Church

Statute of St. Dunstan
Jubilee Garden at St. Dunstan
Entrance to St. Dunstan
Baptismal Font

Baptismal Font
The altar at St. Dunstan
Mary Statute
Joseph statute
Art work at St. Dunstan
Art work at St. Dunstan
Grounds of St. Dunstan