Friday, December 6, 2013

St. John the Baptist-Dearborn Heights

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in southwest Dearborn Heights was founded in 1926 and served a mostly Polish community at that time. Over time, as the community changed with people moving in and out, St. John the Baptist continued to serve the faithful in the area. It has evolved into, what is now, a close knit community of just over 200 parishioners.
You enter the church through large double doors at the front of the church into a small vestibule space before entering a modest but lovely church. The altar is made of a simple oak with matching lectern. It follows the theme that St. John the Baptist pastor Edwin Balazy has set of a humble and simple place to worship and give thanks to God.

We attended a Sunday morning mass where generations came to together to thank God for all their blessings. Seniors that have built the community and continue to make St. John the Baptist a vibrant and welcoming church and young families who are keeping the church alive for a new generation of worshippers.

At the mass we attended we enjoyed a homily by retired priest Fr. Richard Rakoczy in which he discussed the readings and how they are related to our daily lives. The music ministry also accompanied the service in a meaningful and heartfelt way that gave witness to God’s love.

We took pleasure in the mass we attended and the humble design of St. John the Baptist. We also marveled at the beauty and simplicity of the grounds of the church. St. John the Baptist has survived and thrived through years of population shifts and we were honored to be able to spend time with the proud parishioners of this fine church.

Up Next: St Athanasius-Roseville

 St. John the Baptist

Entrance to St. John the Baptist church

Garden and Mother Mary statute


Mary and Joseph

The Church

View of the altar

Friday, November 15, 2013

St. Malachy-Sterling Heights

The patron saint of St. Malachy lived from 1094 to 1148. He was the Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland. He was the first native born Irish saint to be canonized. His feast day is November 3.

St. Malachy in Sterling Heights was founded in 1964 with their current church being dedicated in June of 1978. You enter the church through glass doors from a large gathering area. The church is made up of 4 rows of pews that slope down toward the altar.

The altar is modest with a matching lectern and a beige colored cloth covering it. A large crucifix hangs high over the altar. A statute of Jesus, with Mary and Joseph, sits to the left of the altar. On the right of the altar there is a portrait of Jesus with his right hand held out and his left hand clutching his heart.

The Pastor at St. Malachy is Fr. Joseph Gembela. His homily, during our visit, focused on having faith and the different kinds of faith. He said that even though bad things happen to good people –it’s always part of God’s plan and we must have faith and trust in God to do what is right.

One of the things that most impressed us about St. Malachy was that it has a very active and vibrant music ministry. A group of cantors and musicians sang God’s praises and by having the words to each hymn projected on large screens in the church it allowed and encouraged participation by the congregation. We were very pleased with the music ministry at St. Malachy.

We were also impressed with the lector at the mass we attended. She read each passage with enthusiasm and lots of heart. It was easy to see that she was filled with the Holy Spirit and it showed in her interpretation of each reading.

Everyone at St. Malachy—Fr. Gembela, the music ministers, lector and congregation worked in harmony to provide a joyous mass that we were blessed to attend.

UP NEXT: St. John The Baptist-Dearborn Heights

St. Malachy in Sterling Heights
The Boy Jesus with Joseph and Mary
 The altar at St. Malachy
 Stained Glass Windows
 Outdoor prayer area

 Children's water garden
 Exterior of St. Malachy
 St. Malachy 
Autumn at St Malachy

Saturday, October 12, 2013

St. Sabina-Dearborn Heights

St. Sabina Catholic Church in Dearborn Heights lives out its mission statement of service and prayer through its works of charity and devotion in the community. These include youth group activities, their annual Lenten fish fry dinners and the annual Rainbow festival which helps raise money for the church and its many activities.

The Patron saint of St. Sabina was born in the 1st century AD. She was converted to Christianity by her servant, Seraphia who was put to death for practicing her faith. Sabina suffered martyrdom in about 126 AD. Her feast day is August 29 and she is the patron saint of housewives.

The grounds of St. Sabina are beautifully maintained. They include a shrine to the Mother Mary and a gazebo that adds to the beauty and charm of the church. It is also a great area to pray and reflect or just spend some quiet time.

The church, itself, is made up of 4 rows of pews that set at angles to face the altar. The altar and lectern are made of the same oak material which gives them a symmetrical look. A green cloth is draped over the altar. Over the altar a crucifix sits next to a statute of Jesus with his right hand held out in the sign of a blessing.

We attended a Saturday afternoon mass at St. Sabina where retired priest Fr. Thomas Heier was presiding. He gave a brief homily on the importance of almsgiving in helping the church to grow and continue its work of love and service in the greater community.

We enjoyed our visit to St. Sabina Catholic Church. The congregation, made up of seniors, families and young adults, works tirelessly to spread the good news of Jesus Christ through service and volunteer work and we feel blessed to have spent this day with them.

UP NEXT: St. Malachy-Sterling Heights

Shrine to the Mother Mary

The gazebo at St. Sabina

St. Sabina Catholic Church

St. Sabina 

View of front of church

St. Sabina Patron Saint

Entrance to St. Sabina Church

 The altar at St. Sabina

portrait of Mother Mary

Portrait of Pope John Paul II 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

St. Matthias Sterling Heights

St. Matthias was supposedly chosen to replace Judas Iscariot as one of the apostles of Jesus. He lived from 1 AD to 80 AD and his feast day is May 14. He is the patron saint of carpenters and tailors among others.

St Matthias Catholic Church in Sterling Heights is a modest facility with very a very low cathedral ceiling level. The church consists of 2 rows of pews with cushioned seating and kneelers. The altar is made of marble with a white cloth draped over it. There is a baptismal font to the left of the altar and a statute of Joseph, Mary and the boy Jesus that sits on a mantle overlooking the baptismal font.

In back of the altar is the customary crucifix sitting against a green cloth background. To the right of the altar is the music area with a statute of Jesus, with his hands outstretched, seated on a mantle.

Fr. Francisco Restrepo is the pastor at St. Matthias and he was the celebrant at the mass we attended. Fr. Restrepo spoke on how we are all equal in God’s eye and that our works, no matter how menial they may seem, are important to God. Fr. Restrepo used many personal anecdotes and humor in his homily thus making it more enjoyable and easy to follow along.

The people of St. Matthias are a diverse group consisting of families with children, seniors and young adults. Their faith was on display when we visited especially during the praying of the rosary that took place before the start of mass. We also saw how the congregation at St. Matthias celebrated it’s faith in their singing voices and their participation in the mass.

We enjoyed our visit to St. Matthias Catholic Church. From Fr. Francisco Restrepo’s engaging homily to the friendliness and faithfulness of the congregation we will long remember our visit to this blessed community of the faithful.


Up Next: St. Sabina-Dearborn Heights
St. Matthias Church in Sterling Heights

The church bell at St. Mathias
St. Matthias statutue
Garden at St. Matthias
Statute of Joseph, Mary and boy Jesus
Baptismal Font

The altar at St. Matthias

 Statute of Jesus

Monday, August 5, 2013

St. Basil The Great-Eastpointe

St. Basil The Great Catholic Church is located in the working class community of Eastpointe. It is like most catholic churches in the Detroit Archdiocese with a mix of the traditional and modern reflected throughout the church.

One of the great things we enjoyed at St. Basil was the prayer garden. It is a wonderful place to pray and meditate. It even has a wall with the Stations of the Cross on it. We took pleasure in touring through the garden area and taking in all its beauty.

Inside St. Basil the Great Church the altar has a clean look with everything being symmetrical and in line. The main altar is small with gold trim. Behind the altar are mobile stained glass windows and beyond that, on the back wall, is a picture of Jesus on the cross with 2 disciples bowing in his presence.

The patron saint of the church is St. Basil the Great. He was born in 330 AD. He became a monk and founded a monastery in Pontus in modern day Northeastern Turkey. He eventually became a bishop and continued to be a man of vast learning, constant activity, genuine eloquence and immense charity. His feast day is January 2 and he is known as the patron saint of hospital administrators.

The celebrant at the mass we attended was Fr. Anthony Sulkowski. In his homily Fr. Sulkowski talked of the importance of having a balance between prayer and ministry. He said we are called to minister the good news of Jesus Christ and to give time to daily prayer in order to grow closer in our relationship with God.

We enjoyed attending mass at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church. It is a beautiful church that we loved exploring and discovering. The people were friendly and welcoming and made us feel at home in their church.

Up Next: St Matthias-Sterling Heights
St. Basil The Great
St. Basil The Great Catholic Church
Prayer Garden at St. Basil

Cross Design at St. Basil prayer garden
Stations of the Cross in the prayer garden

The altar at St. Basil

Mobile Stained Glass windows on the altar
 Jesus on the Cross
Statute of Mary and baby Jesus
 The altar at St. Basil
St. Basil the Great Catholic Church in Eastpointe

Friday, July 12, 2013

St. Damian-Westland

St. Damian Catholic Church was established in 1956 on the northern end of the city of Westland.

When we arrived at St. Damian’s we were warmly greeted by a gentlemen who introduced himself as “Russ” who said he would be our host. After our greeting, we entered a large but very inviting vestibule area. This vestibule area, at St. Damian’s, is not unlike other church vestibule areas. It contained several religious statutes and other art work as well areas for church and community news and information. Of course, it also offered a place for congregants to meet and socialize a bit before and after the mass.

The entrance into the main church is made of a glass wall with 2 double doors. Inside the church, the seating arrangement is made up of 4 rows of pews; 2 long and 2 short. The pews are modern oak with cushioned seating.

The center aisle leads up to the main altar. The altar is a simple oak table with 2 bowing Angels underneath on both sides. Behind the altar are 2 large white walls that stand side by side; both were draped with a large green holy cloth. Directly over the altar hangs a large crucifix.

Fr. James Lopez was the celebrant at the mass we attended. Fr. Lopez spoke on the importance of identifying with God as Christians. He emphasized that Jesus suffered on the cross for us and that we too should expect some suffering in our lives but not to worry as God will provide for us.

A major part of the celebration, at St. Damian’s was the music that accompanied the mass. The cantors filled the church with their voices filled with God's love. They helped add a special aspect to the mass and made it much more pleasant.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to St. Damian Church; from the way we were warmly greeted as we entered the church, to the music that filled the air and all the people we came in contact with. St. Damian earned a special place in our hearts.

Up Next: St. Basil the Great-Eastpointe

St. Damian Catholic Church

Exterior Shot of St. Damian

Exterior Shot of St. Damian

St. Damian
Art work at St. Damian
Crucifix that hangs over the altar
Jesus Portrait
Joseph and Mary
 The altar at St. Damian
 Angels bowing in prayer underneath the altar