It is with warmest wishes and sincere thanks to all our faithful and generous parishioners as well as with the many visitors to Old St. Mary’s during this past year that we are pleased to present to you the 2017-2018 Annual Parish Report.
Because of your dedication to the most Blessed Mother and your reliance on Her continued intercession, Old St. Mary’s remains a true beacon of the Catholic faith in the heart of downtown Detroit through quiet prayer, beautiful music and traditional Masses celebrated with dignity and reverence. A milestone is marked this year as the Holy Ghost Fathers completes 125 years of service to the church we so deeply love.
We are especially grateful to Patti Gonyeau, Tony Anikewicz and Randy Bowers who continue to assume significant positions in the day to day running of the parish. Their expertise allows us to manage well the multiple tasks required to hold Old St. Mary’s safely in the hands of God.
An update on celebrated events during this past year include:
- RCIA classes formed and welcomed 3 adults into our family at Easter
- 10 Baptisms celebrated
- 43 weddings celebrated
- 5 funerals
- The annual May Crowning of the Blessed Mother was held inside the sanctuary of Old St. Mary’s and outside at Mary’s garden
- Divine Mercy Sunday this past year featured John Kruse as the guest speaker
- A Marian concert with our famous parish choir and director/organist Bob Barnhart continues to draw large crowds to honor the holy name of the Blessed Mother
- On our annual Feast Day (December 8), Mass was celebrated on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception followed by a catered dinner
- Eucharistic Adoration continued this year every Friday after the 12:15 daily Mass
- The first Wednesday of the month, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is celebrated for the aged and infirm.
- The Advent and Lenten seasons continue to bring large numbers of faithful parishioners to our Masses as does the celebration of the Sacrament of Confession before each daily and Sunday Mass.
- There were 41 tours/pilgrimages that came to Old St. Mary’s including many students from Catholic grade schools and high schools in the area. There are also countless “drop in” visitors that were given a tour and information about Old St. Mary’s.
- Our weekly bulletin will soon be expanded to include a center page with information pertaining to the different councils, groups, clubs and societies here at Old St. Mary’s.
- The Knitting Club meets 1st Sunday of each month after the Noon Mass and continues to make blankets for the newly baptized children. They are always looking for additional members.
- The Mother’s Club held several events including a Mother’s Holy Hour, the famous annual St. Nicholas Party, Advent decoration in the parish center and rectory and aid to St. Peter/Paul Homeless Center. Please see our website for more details.
- The Altar Society headed by Micki Czerniak with huge assists by Michael and Judy Campeau as well as seasonal volunteers, takes the lead in the beautiful flowers and plants that adorn the church throughout the liturgical year. They are also responsible for the changing and care of all the altar clothes, linens and vestments. Volunteer calls go out at different times. Please feel free to join in when the opportunity presents itself. Watch the web site and Facebook for notices.
- The Ushers Club has been revitalized this past year and is growing but are always looking for new members. Please talk with an usher at the Mass or call the parish office if you have an interest.
- A Docent Group is responsible for tours and keeping the church open later on Sundays. A color printed brochure for visitors which includes the history of Old St. Mary’s is in the vestibule of the church. If you are interested in becoming a docent, please contact the parish office. Specialized training is needed. It is a wonderful way to represent the church and meet new visitors.
- A group called the Young Catholic Professionals was formed in the Archdiocese last year. They held their very first meeting, dinner and talk at Old St. Mary’s in August 2017 with over 220 in attendance and returned last month, August 29, 2018 with about 200 in attendance. You can find them on line at YCP Detroit.
- The monthly musical series at Old St. Mary’s continues to garner praise under the direction of Bob Barnhart, our organist and choir director. The new season of parish concerts begin on Sunday, September 16th and will continue to be offered on the third Sunday of each month at 2:00 PM. The complete schedule of the concert series can be found on cards located in the vestibule of the church. Other visiting choirs this past year included the Michigan Catholic Choir, Filaret’s Women’s Choir, Detroit Concert Choir and a German Choir. Make plans to join us as this series continues through the 2018 season.
- A volunteer group, formed last year, headed by Joni Diefenbaker buys, cooks and serves meals to the homeless at the Pope Francis Warming Center on E. Jefferson Street. Joni, together with her husband Robert and crew, spend much time planning these meals and organizing volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering please contact the rectory office for information. Your service would be most welcome and appreciated.
- The new Feast Day, Mary, Mother of the Church (Monday after Pentecost) was celebrated by Bishop Hanchon on May 21, 2018. There were over 950 people in attendance with several school groups to help in the procession that followed Mass. The weather did not cooperate and so the procession was held inside the church with students from various schools carrying the stature of our Blessed Virgin Mary through the aisles. Bishop Battersby concelebrated the Mass which ended with Benediction and Eucharistic Adoration.
- The Finance Council, headed by Jerry Gruska, meets quarterly and plans for the implementation to ensure for the financial viability of Old St. Mary’s.
- We have a volunteer group of weekday and Sunday Lectors that proclaim the Readings at the Masses. We have added new members this year but continue to seek interested parishioners to serve as lectors.
- We continuously update our website (oldstmarysdetroit.com) together with our Facebook, Google and Twitter accounts. We continue to evangelize through advertising in the Visit Detroit magazine, publish weekly paper and on-line bulletins, advertise in local newspapers, multiple radio stations and more. We will soon have a new APP for your phones to keep you in touch with all events at Old St. Mary’s.
- A Latin Mass chant seminar was held in October 2017 in the Parish Center and the church. It was organized by Wassim Sarweh and his choir. There were 78 in attendance and was the largest single seminar for the Latin Mass chant in the Archdiocese.
- Old St. Mary’s obligation to the Archdiocesan Catholic Services Appeal was $ 34,899.00. Through your generosity over $ 40,000.00 was pledged.
- Mass attendance at Old St. Mary’s continues to grow. This past year 19 new families officially joined the parish. This does not count the many people who see us as their second parish. Attendance at our Sunday and Weekday Masses for the year 2017 exceeded 36,000 people.
- The Detroit Historical Society visited twice this past year in April and again in August. Our church is a highly sought religious destination for this long-time group.
- A “Mass, Tour and Tea” is now available for groups. It is just as it sounds: come to the 12:15 Mass, go on a tour of our church and stay for tea and deserts in the Parish Center.
- The Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Tridentine Rite) continues to be celebrated at Old St. Mary’s on the first Friday of every month at 7:00 PM. Sponsored by the Detroit Latin Mass Society, the attendance at this Mass continues to expand with an average of 200 people in attendance each month. If you would like to attend the next Extraordinary Form of Mass please join us on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 7:00 PM. A reception follows in the Parish Center.
- Archbishop Vigneron visited Old St. Mary’s this past June and celebrated Mass for IT heads from different Archdioceses from around the country. There were 100 in attendance.
- The annual Corpus Christi Mass (June 3) and Eucharistic procession through the streets of the local area was another great event this year. There were 297 participants this year and is a great testimony to our parish and faith. Once again, this year, Dr. Lourdes Andaya donated bagged lunches to all and everyone had a wonderful picnic in the garden of the rectory after final benediction in the church.
- The Grand Knight, Andrew Assenmacher with Knights of Columbus Council # 305 continued their good works including the Tootsie Roll drive, clothes and food drives for St. Jude’s ministry, diaper and formula drives for St. Augustine/Monica pregnancy center and much more.
- The Parish Council, headed by Dr. Michelle Pierron, is an extremely dedicated group that meets monthly with Fr. Epperley to help guide all that goes on at Old St. Mary’s. They truly show a love for our church and the Catholic faith.
Statue of our Blessed Mother at Mary’s Garden in front of church