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Historic St. Joseph in Detroit becomes new Parish

The roots of St. Joseph Church in Detroit reach back 160 years, but it recently began anew as a unique parish. In a move hailed as an answer to prayer, the Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron invited a Roman Catholic religious community to move in and take care of St. Joseph. As of October 2016, just a few weeks after the church’s largest annual Oktoberfest, it became known as St. Joseph Oratory.

Founded by German immigrants when Old St. Mary’s in Greektown was overflowing, the present church of St. Joseph was dedicated in 1873. In 2013, it was merged with two nearby historic Polish churches as Mother of Divine Mercy Parish. Those two, Sweetest Heart of Mary and St. Josaphat, continue on together as Mother of Divine Mercy Parish.

Archbishop Vigneron stated upon the arrival of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Detroit that it “has shown tremendous energy in conveying a sense of the sacred through their ministry around the country and the world. We are especially encouraged that their ministry may also be instrumental in preserving St. Joseph, one of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s most beautiful and historic worship sites.” The Institute currently operates in more than 80 locations in 12 countries, including in Germany—Bayerisch Gmain, Bad Reichenhall, Traunstein, Altötting, and Kloster Maria Engelport (please visit www.institut-christus-koenig.de). The Institute’s international seminary is located in Gricigliano, near Florence, Italy. St. Joseph Oratory is the thirteenth church under its care in the United States, with the headquarters in Chicago.

The new St. Joseph Oratory.

The new pastor of St. Joseph Oratory is Canon Michael Stein, and he is assisted by Deacon Jonathon Fehrenbacher. These youthful clergy reside in the Rectory adjacent the church. Built in 1896, the Rectory has not been home to priests for more than ten years. The clergy, assisted by generous parishioners and friends of St. Joseph Oratory, have been working diligently to restore this stately building and add parish classrooms to the basement. Preparations for a complete restoration and improvement of the church and campus of St. Joseph Oratory are underway.

The Institute of Christ the King is known for its dedication to the Traditional Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass or the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Canon Stein is committed to providing a full and revitalized parish life, restoring and strengthening the physical campus, and preserving the honored traditions of St. Joseph.

The new schedule at St. Joseph Oratory includes Mass every day of the week, two liturgies on Sunday at 9:00 am and 11:00 am, continuation of the perpetual novena prayer to St. Joseph on Wednesday, and classes for four separate age groups of children. The two choirs—St. Joseph Cappella and the summer St. Joseph Mens Schola—perpetuate the rich musical heritage of St. Joseph. For more information and special events, please visit www.institute-christ-king.org/detroit.

The Christmas schedule includes Midnight Mass with choral prelude at 11:15 pm, followed by a Hot Cocoa Social, and on Christmas Day, Masses at 9 am and 11 am. Members of the German community in metro Detroit are invited to contact Canon Stein to share their German heritage and history at St. Joseph. Canon Stein may be reached at the St. Joseph Oratory office at (313) 784-9152 or sjdetroit@institute-christ-king.org.

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