St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in downtown Monroe is an historic church that was originally founded in the 1870’s to serve the Irish community at that time. Although fire destroyed the original church the exterior walls survived and were used to rebuild the church in 1892. The church was rebuilt to replicate the original church except the steeple which was rebuilt in 1991 as part of a massive restoration effort. The original architectural design is a testament to the glory and honor of this notable church.
We entered St. John the Baptist from the main entrance off Monroe St. through large wooden doors that lead into a small vestibule area then straight into the church. A burgundy carpet separates 2 rows of wooden pews and leads directly to the altar. The altar and lectern are made of an off white marble. Over the altar is a large bronze statue of Jesus on a cross with his hands outstretched to the sky. The back of the altar has a round stained glass window that shows Jesus baptizing John. Large statutes of Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus on either side complete the look of the altar.
The pastor at St. John the Baptist is Fr. Jim Smalarz. The homily at the mass we attended was given by Deacon Michael Stewart. He talked about the great faith that people have in spite of great tragedy and how we can all share in the glory and blessing of God’s undying love for all of us. Deacon Stewart did a good job of relating his own personal experience of meeting people in the poor coal mining communities of Kentucky who dealt with immense poverty with a strong will to succeed and by putting their faith in God.
We enjoyed exploring the history of St. John the Baptist and worshipping where so many others have worshipped throughout the decades and centuries. We also loved walking along the garden areas on the churches grounds and experiencing their peace and serenity. The feeling of God’s love and presence in this church was amazing and very uplifting as was our visit.
Up Next: St. Ambrose-Grosse Pointe Park
|St. John the Baptist Church in Monroe|
|Wood doors that lead into the church|
|Historic Marker at St. John the Baptist church|
|Front of Church exterior|
|St. John the Baptist looms over Monroe St.|
|One of the gardens at St. John the Baptist|
|Joseph and baby Jesus|
|Lectern with altar in background|
|Seating for the priest and deacon|
|Statute of Jesus hangs over the altar.|