Where We’re At - February 4, 2024 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
The past eighteen months have seen considerable improvements and expenditures for the St. Alphonsus -St. Clement campus. The most obvious was the razing of the buildings across from the church. Asbestos abatement and demolition costs for all of the buildings were $991,000. Receipts totaling $761,400 from the sale of the no longer needed parking lots on the west side of Schaefer covered 77% of the expense.
Besides the razing of the convent, insurance covered a new roof on Fr. Yagley Hall, and water damage to the interior church and rectory walls Incurred over the years.
A collection of other expenses totaling $76 K included church roof repairs, hydro-seeding, tree trimming, appraisal and reality fees; church organ and piano repairs and new parking lot consultation were all covered by parish funds. Generous financial support came from many Alumni and CSA contributors.
Important repairs were made to significant items such as panels of broken stained glass, the church bells, and the decorative lighting in the sanctuary were ell made possible through generous donors.
This coming year will see the challenge of creating a new and well-lit larger parking lot along with the fencing of the property. We look for the creation of the Way of the Cross and recognition memorials for Veterans and the Religious who served the schools and parish through the decades. Volunteers will be needed to help with these projects. We look forward to your prayerful support and hopefully your participation.
Where We’re At - December 31, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
A letter from your bishop can often spell trouble for a priest. Or it may ask you to take on additional pastoral responsibilities. Or it might just be a simple reminder of who we are as priests. A few days before Christmas, all the priests of the Archdiocese received this letter from our chief Shepherd. I want to share it with you believing it speaks to perhaps one of the most important charisms we, your priests, have to offer to you. May the spirit of our Archbishop’s reflection only grow and become more alive in 2024 for St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish!
Dear Fathers, Dear Brothers, during my meditation on Gaudate Sunday morning, a recurring point for me was the centrality of the gift of joy in our celebration of Christmas. (“Duh”, you say, “it is Gaudete Sunday, after all. Didn’t your learn anything from Fr. Markowicz?”) my thoughts ran along this line: that joy is a gift the Lord particularly wants to give his people at Christmas since the Mystery means that we have finally received that for which our race waited for so long. And, since we are the servants of their celebration, “stewards” as it were, of their Christmases, we are called to be “agents” of the joy the Father wants them to have. We do this by helping them recognize anew the gift of Christ, both the gift that is his Person and the gift that he bestows on us.
And so, I prayed the Holy Spirt guides and sustains you in your service as agents of joy. First, because this joy is so much needed by the people we serve, by those we serve week in and week out and especially by those we only get to serve “on occasion” (probably the ones who need it all the more, but don’t realize it). Second, because it gives our Lord glory for the joy he offers to be accepted by those he loves. Maybe go further? It gives joy to the heart of the Lord to give this joy, for after all, he gave up the last drop of his blood to win this joy for us. And, finally, it gives him joy because we fulfill the very purpose for our being priests when we cultivate in the lives of people the joy that is the fruit of saving grace at work in their lives.
I, also, pray that in being agents of joy, in fostering this grace, both in your preaching and in your celebration of the Eucharist-not to mention hearing the confessions that prepare the faithful for this-you will receive joy in abundance. I am not unaware of the stresses you all feel as you try to do more with fewer resources. My prayer, then, especially, is that you will be defended from the evil one, so clever at using the trials of our day “to steal your joy”. The “Good News of great joy to all the people” is good news for us, too. God is with us, He’s
never going away and He never stops saving us always and everywhere.
Let me conclude by inviting all of you to join me in my prayer for each of you, brother priests. And, along with thanking God ahead of time, I thank you ahead of time for these prayers.
Merry Christmas (aka, “one filled with joy”)
Fraternally, Archbishop Allen Vigneron
Where We’re At - November 26, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
I hope everyone enjoyed a Blessed Thanksgiving and now we can look forward to Christmas. Note, Bishop Battersby, with Fr. Greg, will be celebrating the 4:00 pm Mass on Christmas Eve. There are many opportunities, during the holidays, to invite your family members to attend Mass with you and enjoy the beautiful decorations in our most stunning church. Mark your calendar for Epiphany’s open house at each of the churches in our Family of Parishes. Besides St. Alphonsus-St. Clement, St. Barbara St. Kateri and St. Maria Goretti, will all keep the doors open for you until 3:00 pm to enjoy the Christmas decorations adorning all our churches.
It would be an understatement to say that the Parish has witnessed a number of significant changes this past year. Most obviously, the razing of the Parish buildings and the planning for new and expanded parking. The Heritage Garden with recognition of veterans and alumni along with tributes to the Adrian Dominican Sisters are being planned. Stations of the Cross and a statue of Our Lady of Fatima will also occupy the new garden spaces. As we approach Spring, you will be hearing more as plans begin to take shape.
While looking forward to a new year, we should also note some important repairs that have been accomplished. With insurance, the Parish’s center roof has been totally replaced. Sections of church and rectory roofs, along with some necessary tuckpointing, have been done at no cost to the Parish. Interior damage to our church walls is covered by insurance and will be completed by Christmas. The rectory’s southeast bedroom’s ceiling collapsed, and its weight caused severe damage to the room below. (Apparently, these rooms were the bishop’s bedroom and office at one time. Good thing he moved out when he did!) Extensive repair work has been done to our organ and piano as well as the church bells. Some of our expenses were covered by the generosity of our Parishioners. In particular, we extend our gratitude to Paulette and Christine Mihelcich and Madeline Prokop for their generous donations. Like your own home, preventive maintenance and repairs is always the rule.
Together with the Parish and school alumni, we are moving into a new year and a positive new year. Let us all together help one another be as good as we can be.
Where We’re At - November 5, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
While we are finished with the necessary demolition of our many unused buildings, we still have work ahead of us. Obviously, the parking lot across the street from the church needs replacement. This will be done in the Spring after Easter. The new lot calls for more parking spaces and better marked handicap spots. New lighting will mean safer parking after dark and new fencing will add to the site. I think you will appreciate the change. Meanwhile, careful parking on the old and mostly torn up lot presents a challenge. Using the forty or so parking spots around Fr. Yagley Hall helps and will be needed over the winter months. THANK YOU for your patience and willingness to put up with a little dirt here and there.
It is quite clear that St. Alphonsus-St. Clement parishioners take their stewardship seriously. I say this for reasons you might not be aware of. Viewing our CSA (Catholic Service Appeal) shows a much earlier reaching of our goal than in many previous years when it waited until Christmas to be reached. Another striking factor is the offertory. Although we still have a struggle meeting our weekly budget, the number of parishioners donating has increased from 22% to 29%. A number of parishioners have also increased their weekly contribution to help reduce the weekly shortage. This might not be seen as striking, but it is in the fact that it reflects a genuine commitment to the parish. Not everyone can give a large amount to the offertory. Some, who can, could possibly give more. Let’s all keep up our efforts to expand our support for a truly beautiful church and parish.
Dearborn’s Chief of Police, Issa Shahin, last week notified all the houses of worship, in the City of Dearborn, of the steps he has taken to ensure our safety. We can all appreciate the sincerity of his concerns in the letter I received this week and can be found on page 4 of the November 5 bulletin.
Where We’re At - September 17, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
All the fencing around the demolition site will soon be taken down and the heavy equipment removed. I think we can all appreciate the size of the property the parish was given over 170 years ago! It is a gift we can all take pride in and appreciate our responsibility for its stewardship. In the weeks and months ahead, several things will be happening on the property. Though a great deal of the parking lot was destroyed by the demolition work, what remains will be swept and temporary striping applied. (The parish plan was always to replace the current parking lot with a new one. We look forward to doing this over winter, when contract’s bids are usually more reasonable). I am sure the added parking will be welcomed! We inquired, from the City, as to when they would start work on our streets and sidewalks, as they have already done in several other parts of the City. They said: “Not before 2024 and not after 2025”. We can only hope and wait. Besides the temporary repair of the parking lot, there will be trimming of a few trees on the site. Special attention will be paid to the black walnut tree standing guard on the site of the old high school. We, also, look forward to having the flag pole reconditioned to fly our country’s flag once again. Other plans for the high school footprint will be shared in the weeks ahead.
As the ground settles, we will be hydroseeding all of the site before fencing in the property in the Spring. The site is NOT intended to be a public park but a space designated to honor and recognize the purpose of the buildings that once stood on the site. Large pieces of the concrete foundations have been saved to use as pedestals. Our Lady of Fatima will claim one on the southwest corner of the property. Another on the high school footprint to recognize alumni killed in action. Space will also be allotted for pavers recognizing alumni and acknowledging supporters of the parish. The Knight of Columbus will be erecting a Way of the Cross on the site of the elementary school. On the site of the convent will be garden space allowing for pavers recognizing individual Sisters of St. Dominic and lay teachers who have taught over the years. We have been especially attentive to preserving the cornerstones of both schools and the activity building. They will occupy the approximate space they once occupied. Significant architectural pieces have also been saved to enhance the various devotional and memorial settings.
The project ahead needs everyone’s prayerful support. It certainly needs financial support. There will be opportunities to donate memorial landscaping pieces and even “green thumbs”. There is the need to share the vision with parishioners and friends who have moved away but still retain their love for the church and her parishioners. Classes of alumni might become supporters of the parish with one time or sustained gifts. St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish stand in a unique position to speak about the past with inspiring voices for its future!
Where We’re At - September 10, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
As you read this week’s bulletin, you are no doubt quite aware of the completion of the demolition work begun in June. It certainly has been a “heavy lift” with over one hundred and six thousand square feet of building to come down. All in all, the Adamo company did an excellent job of bringing down the structures and removing all debris. We have preserved the cornerstones from the high school, grade school, and activity center. They will be placed appropriately on the grounds with other significant architectural pieces. A few very large concrete pieces have been retained for use as foundations for the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, the WWII casualties and the St. Dominic statue recognizing the scores of sisters who taught in the schools for generations. The K of C will be erecting a Way of the Cross and may also want to use some of the smaller concrete pieces. These pieces recognize the faith and service of men and women who came to maturity on the foundations of our schools. Pavers in the months and years ahead can also be added recognizing alumni and clergy and religious who were a part of the parish’s journey. All of this is part of the vision for the near future.
Now the demolition work has been done and we await the settling of the grounds before other work can take place. The parking lot, which took great damage with the hauling of material, will be cleaned, and restriped for temporary use. In the spring, new and additional parking will be built. Trees will be trimmed, and necessary attention will be paid to the black walnut tree on the site of the high school footprint. Underground wiring for lighting will be installed as well as water lines for irrigation for landscaping. Besides immediate attention to the parking lot, we will be hydroseeding to grow some grass and eliminate dust. Much will be done this fall while the ground settles. Even more will be happening next spring.
I want to thank all who have been supporting the efforts to improve the parish properties. Spread the word to family, friends, and alumni to pay a visit to St. Alphonsus-St. Clement. Once “coming home” may renew their love and loyalty to their parish and even begin to support it financially. People no longer observe parish boundaries and tend to join parishes where they feel comfortable. With everyone’s help, we can make our parish where folks are comfortable and want to worship with us!
Where We’re At - August 13, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
A priest can always know that summer is mostly over when he needs to publish the Mass Schedule for the Aug. 15 Feast of the Assumption. This year, the Holy Day falls on Tuesday with Masses at 8:30 am and 6 pm at St. Alphonsus-St. Clement church. The Village Mass will be celebrated at Noon. Being a Holy Day, we of course have the obligation to take it seriously and observe its meaning. This coming feast honors Mary and reflects our Catholic belief in the Dormitio or the “Falling asleep” of the Blessed Mother. This feast began to be observed in the fifth century in Rome. Some parishes, especially in rural areas will use this feast as an appropriate time to bless produce, gardens and orchards. (I suppose you could observe this custom by saying grace over your garden salad at dinner!). We have so few Holy Days that it should not present a burden to attend Mass. Though we livestream on weekends to accommodate elderly and homebound, we should not use technology to usurp the actual presence of fellow believers celebrating together faith in the Eucharist. We should always look for opportunities to invite and encourage family and friends to attend Mass.
Our parish needs to accept the Church’s invitation to exercise some various rolls in the liturgy. Our Lectors are very good and appreciated for their service. Father can use some help distributing Holy Communion and I would encourage at every Mass two veteran Eucharist Ministers to come forward during the Lamb of God and offer your help. Don’t wait for a schedule to come out. Just come forward to help.
Serving Mass is not just for kids! Adults, both men and women, are invited to offer their service. David and Mellisa always do a fine job and I am sure they would be available to walk you through the rubrics of the Mass. Some “ole altar boys”, of years past, may want to generously serve again in the Lord in a special way as in the past. Women, too, are welcome to serve. Married couples, grandparents with their grandchildren and singles can all participate in this service to God and fellow believers. (Don’t worry about fitting into a vestment or not. You’re already dressed appropriately coming to Mass and will look great!)
We can be proud as a parish with the generosity of folks giving to the CSA this year. Currently we are at $31,332 or 81% of our goal. This generosity of folks is healthy sign to the parish. An even healthier sign is the percentage of participation. We can do better by considering what you can do for the CSA. There is no gift too small or too large that can be offered to assist the work of the Church. Give it some thought!
Where We’re At - August 6, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
This weekend, Dearborn celebrates Homecoming, a time of “remembering” and a chance to remember the many good times shared in our community. I would encourage parishioners to invite family, friends and former members of the parish to visit St. Alphonsus-St. Clement for Mass. Grandparents might take special pride in showing their grandchildren the elegance of a nearly one hundred year old edifice (church). The stained glass alone celebrates the reverend grandeur echoing the faith of parishioners long past. It is uncommon to find in the suburbs such beautiful works of art wedded to faith’s history. Indeed, there are so many contemporary suburban churches whose architecture, while serving the needs of their congregants, falls short of inspiring and uplifting the souls of many. Young Catholics, especially, are looking for the transcendent amidst the banal. St. Alphonsus-St. Clement, with its architectural integrity and stunning stained glass, shout belief and meaningful allurement to a higher reality. What a gift parents and grandparents can share with children! I encourage folks to return often to St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Church.
Returning to the corner of Warren and Schaefer will no doubt present quite a surprise for the “Homecomers”! Bringing your friends and family back home to St. Alphonsus-St. Clement will give you the chance to explain the site’s history going back one hundred seventy one years to when the Esper family gave four acres to the then Diocese of Detroit. Visiting the demolition site will give you a chance to explain the plans for the use of the area. A statue of Our Lady of Fatima will occupy the highly visible intersection of Warren and Schaefer. The Knights of Columbus will be constructing a Way of the Cross on the site of the elementary school. On the site of the high school a tribute to alumni who died in WWII will be developed along with recognition for parishioner having served in the Armed Forces through the years. The old convent site will honor the many Adrian Dominican Sisters, lay teachers and many priests who have served the parish and its schools over time. Also, on the site, a statue of St. Clement will accommodate a small garden for quiet prayer and reflection.
All of this will come in time but only with the support of patrons of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement. Immediate attention will be paid to rebuilding the parking lot across from the Church. Fencing the property will follow the necessary hydroseeding to create a healthy lawn. The property is NOT to be a public park but rather a respectful and reverent space to honor and enjoy the heritage of the parish.
Tell your family and friend to Come Home to St. Alphonsus-St. Clement. It’s where your heart is!
Where We’re At - July 23, 2023 - by Fr. Terry Kerner, Administrator/Moderator
The demolition project is obviously moving along, and all debris should be cleared away in the next few weeks. The gymnasium remains standing while we wait for a Wayne County permit to close off Warren's right hand lane at the corner for a day. (As you read this it might have already been issued and the work done.) Most of the work on site should be completed by Dearborn's Homecoming Weekend. The next step after clearing debris is to address the parking lot's condition and the remedial work needed. Meanwhile other issues are being dealt with.
Our magnificent stained glass windows need to be appraised. Already repair work has been done on an east side window. Though not extensive the repair and restoration cost was around four-thousand dollars. Our insurance covered the cost. We have a stunning church with equally beautiful windows that need to be appraised. It is our responsibility in this present day to preserve our legacy for future generations. Look for this effort to begin in the months ahead.
Our partially working church bells have been scheduled to be repaired in order to function fully and appropriately. When all is done we will have a full call to prayer for the neighborhood. The expected cost for the bells is around six hundred dollars.
Air conditioning in church has been a challenge. The system installed years ago is still a good one. Like all aging, parts and pieces need attention and even replacement in many cases. The work is ongoing. We all need to be patient and even ask ourselves "what did we do before air conditioning"?
Necessary tree trimming needs to be done. We are blessed with some stately mature trees that need a little "touch up. Trimming might not seem important, but it does offer significant health and beauty. The trees, shrubs, and bushes are all part of our parish legacy and should command appreciation from us all.
The new roof on Fr. Yagley Hall this Spring was covered entirely by our insurance. The project gave roofers the opportunity to examine our roofs on the lower sections of the church. Drones were employed to view the main roof and no issues were found that needed attention. Repair efforts on the lower roofs are expected to run thirty to forty thousand dollars. It is hoped that any funds raised over our CSA target can cover much of the costs.
Our Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) target this year is $38,881. As of July tenth, seventy five percent has been pledged and it appears that we might be more successful than previous years meeting our target early. This is because of you and your generous concern for the parish. Whatever you can offer is appreciated and needed. Pledges can be returned in the offertory basket, by mail or directly to the parish office. THANK YOU to all for your prayers and support for the CSA!
Our Family of Parishes' sibling parish of St. Kateri, has been blessed with reaching 149% of its $48,818 target. The over target funds of $24,000 will be used in the parish tithing with a gift of $1,200 for the work of each St. Vincent de Paul Society in both St. Maria Goretti and St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parishes. We thank St. Kateri parishioners for their generosity!
Enjoy summer and all the blessings It brings to us!
Where We’re At - June 4, 2023
June will be busy around the parish and you will be receiving a letter going into detail on many important items. Meanwhile, my column will give you a “heads up” on some of the news.
First of all, after many months of observing Mass attendance, we feel we must reduce the Sunday morning Mass schedule to only a 10:00 am Mass. Probably the faithful 9 am Mass folks will be upset as well as 11 am attendees. But we needed a compromise time that while “upsetting everyone” it still could be workable for most parishioners. We really cannot justify inviting two Capuchins each weekend to offer Masses when there are much larger parishes with several liturgies and where the pastor needs help. I have spoken with the Capuchin Fathers and thanked them for their service and they are most appreciative of now being able to help other parishes that have asked for their help. And so, BEGINNING THE FIRST WEEKEND OF JULY, the Saturday Mass times remain the same, but Sunday has only a 10:00 am. Fr. Deters has graciously volunteered to offer the Masses with this new schedule.
After 10 years at the organ, Larry Zelenka, our St. AlphonsusSt. Clement musician, is moving to another parish after this weekend. Fr. Jim Lopez of St. Sabina “pirated” him away from us. As longtime friends, I am sure they will work well together for the St. Sabina community. Larry declined the offer of a parish farewell reception or party. But I am sure he would appreciate a note or card of appreciation from you. We wish him well at his new keyboard!
Demolition of our buildings has hit another snag. The City’s Engineering Dept. is requiring a survey to locate all storm and sanitary drains. Frank Bechard and Rob Ciavaglia were able to produce all the appropriate sites but it did not satisfy Engineering. Until the survey is completed and the City permit is granted, we cannot begin the project. Please pray for a speedy resolution!
And in your prayers also include St. Barbara parish and Fr. Zbigniew. Our neighboring church in our Family of Parishes is celebrating its 100th year Anniversary this year with many events. The most memorable was Archbishop Vigneron’s Mass a few weeks ago. Not left out of all the festivities is fellow priest Fr. Zbigniew who enjoys his 40th year of Ordination to the priesthood this year. Our congratulations to St. Barbara. Have a good and healthy week ahead!
Where We’re At - May 28, 2023
This weekend we observe Pentecost. Christ promised that His Advocate would be with us and His Church until the end of time. Hence the words that He uttered to the fearful disciples in today’s gospel: “Peace be with you”. The words are intended for us as well. With all that is going on in our country these days, it is easy to be not only fearful but also angry. Neither of these is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is. Trying to understand what is happening in our society and sorting out what is right and wrong needs the gift of wisdom. Courage goes hand and hand with it. Courage is no more than denying fear, the power to keep a person from doing the morally right thing. Fear of the Lord, an-other gift of the Spirit, does not mean trembling and fearing God, but rather taking God seriously. Wisdom, courage, and fear of the Lord are just a few of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to us. May we be grateful for the promised Advocate gifting us with them this Pentecost.
It is easy to see the negative around us. But it is also a blessing to see the goodness in the holiday we celebrate this Monday. Memorial Day is so rich in its meaning for America and our families. Going to a morning mass, watching a parade, going to the cemetery, or simply gathering with family and friends for a picnic are all part of this special day for our country. Let us enjoy every bit of the more positive and beautiful reality of what America is all about. May Memorial Day be inspiring for you!
Where We’re At - May 21, 2023
During a few weeks in April, you may have noticed Dearborn Fire Department vehicles in our parking lot. Be assured there were NOT any fires or untold events happening. We were pleased to honor the Fire Department’s request for an important opportunity to pursue some long overdue training exercises. I want to thank Frank Bechard, Dave Katona and Rob Ciavaglia for their help making daily arrangements with the Department. The letter below from Assistant Fire Chief Jeremy Kurek expresses their appreciation.
Dear Fr. Terry Kerner:
On behalf of Fire Chief Joseph Murray and the entire Dearborn Fire Department, I would like to extend our most sincere gratitude for allowing us to perform valuable training evolutions at St. Alphonsus Elementary and High Schools.
The dangers of our profession require us to be proficient in numerous fireground tasks and procedures in order for us to provide the most efficient emergency response and even mitigation. Hands on experience is the most important factor in our abilities to provide these services to the citizens of Dearborn, those who work within our city and those who transit through our community. The opportunity to utilize large structures for handson training evolutions has been a long sought out request of our members. Thanks to you and Frank, our members were able to train on initial scene sizeup, high rise operations, search and rescue, hose advancement, water streams, forcible entry, ladder truck operations and commercial flat roof ventilation. The positive feedback from our members who had the opportunity to participate in these training evolutions was abundant. This opportunity created a noticeable spike in the morale of our members who are willing and eager to practice the aforementioned skills. Thank you again for providing us this opportunity.
Sincerely, Jeremy Kurek Assistant Fire Chief Dearborn Fire Department.
The Dearborn Fire Department posted a short video on their Facebook page thanking us for using the school for training and showing some of what they did. You can view it HERE.
Our Dearborn Police Department also had numerous opportunities for their own training exercises and have expressed their appreciation as well. As a parish we can be very proud of our good citizenship and the opportunity to continue, in a different manner, the mission of education in St. Alphonsus schools.
Have a good week and enjoy Spring.
Where We’re At - May 14, 2023
by Fr. Terry Kerner, Parish Administrator & Moderator for Rouge Family of Parishes
Fr. Greg and I want to wish all our mothers in the parish a very joyful and special day this Sunday. Hopefully your families try to make that wish a reality for you every day. Mother’s Day is also a time to honor our deceased mothers and grandmothers. A rosary prayed or a visit to the cemetery may be an appropriate thing to do. The Church, of course, recognizes May as a time to especially honor the Blessed Mother. As the Patroness of the United States, we certainly need her intercession in our day. Let us not take our heavenly Mother nor our earthly mother for granted.
Everyone needs a roof over their heads and St. Alphonsus-St. Clement parishioners are no exception. Rough weather over the years has taken a toll on the roof of Fr. Yagley Hall. It is being repaired with new and higher quality shingles this coming week if not sooner. I am sure you will appreciate the new look. Insurance is covering the entire cost as well as the deductible! Also, the lower roofs of the church need serious attention. After studying with the help of a drone and an experienced contractor’s eyes, we have determined the scope of the work which will commence the third week of May. Currently, the contractor is working on two historic churches in Detroit. They are looking forward to helping us preserve our historic and beautiful house of worship. The cost for the church project is not covered by insurance but is our responsibility. Estimates for the project run between thirty and forty thousand dollars. It is our hope that parishioners’ generosity to this year’s CSA will cover most or all of the cost. Work on the interior of the church needs attention too. Years of leaks have taken a toll on a couple of areas in and around the sanctuary. This work can only commence once the roof project is complete. Again, Archdiocesan insurance will cover the cost.
I am sure you can’t help but notice the work on the demolition of our vacant buildings has begun. Estimates for completion is mid-June. This project, including abatement of asbestos and actual demolition, will cost a little over a million dollars. Much of this cost is being covered with the three quarters of a million dollars realized from the sale of the four no longer needed parish lots on Schaefer. Parking for weekend masses and funerals can still use the parish lot across from the church. For week-day morning mass, we are asking that folks park in the Fr. Yagley Hall lot.
Certainly, the next several weeks will see plenty of activity around our parish. I appreciate everyone's patience and prayers for support. For many years, the neighbors around us have had to deal with many issues. We are thankful for their patience. May we all try to be so with one another.
Where We’re At - May 7, 2023
by Fr. Terry Kerner, Parish Administrator & Moderator for Rouge Family of Parishes
Many months ago, our parish Finance Council began the process for planning the demolition of our school buildings and convent. We can be very grateful for the service of Peter Salamon, John Savage, Dave Katona, Dolores Bright, Robert Ciavaglia and Fr. Greg Deters over these many months.
Asbestos abatement, in all the buildings, began in mid-summer 2022 and was substantially completed by the end of September. DTE in July was contacted to discontinue gas and electric service and remove any appropriate equipment. Our hope was to begin demolition of all the buildings by November 2022. However, DTE did not respond to our request after several attempts to move the process along. It was only this past March 2023 that the utilities were disconnected allowing us to seek the necessary permits from the City of Dearborn on April 18. I am pleased to report that the City is cooperating with our efforts. We look forward to the work beginning by mid-May.
God always knows what is best for any believing community. Any delays we experienced allowed for some very important and meaningful experiences. During the extended delay from Summer 2022 until now, with the permission of the Archdiocese, we have sold the longtime unused lots on the westside of Schaefer for $735,000. The disposition of this property allows for a substantial contribution to the cost of demolition. No longer are we responsible for these four properties and the liability and maintenance costs they incur.
Thanks to the dedication of Dave Katona and a group of volunteers, a remarkable effort has been made to preserve, by donation, many items of value and importance to the alumni and parishioners who call St. Alphonsus-St. Clement home. One of the more extraordinary projects is the gifting of over 9,000 books to the Ken Saro Wiwa Memorial Foundation. Founded by Fr. Anthony Kote-Witah, a Capuchin in Detroit and frequent celebrant for us, is making the effort to ship, to a Catholic school and orphanage in Nigeria, for the creation of the St. Alphonsus Library. Many donations to local charities and institutions have also been made over the last several months. Any compensation for the items has been deposited in the newly created “Heritage Fund”, a parish account reserved for developing the green space after the rebuilding of the parking lot.
As good Dearborn citizens, we agreed to the request of our first responders to use our vacant buildings for training exercises. Our Dearborn Police and Fire Departments have had training exercises over several weeks. Hopefully our first responders have learned much from their education in our schools.
The removal of the convent and school buildings opens at Warren and Schaefer an impressive view of our church. Considering the site is at one of the busiest corners in the city, we are making a dramatic statement of our Faith. This site has had a Catholic presence for one hundred seventy-one years. It will continue to be so in the years ahead. We can all embrace the privilege of being good stewards and celebrate God’s trust in us to be just that!
Thank you for your support and understanding.
Click HERE for a video from the Dearborn Fire Department explaining the training they did at the school.
From the Moderator by Fr. Terry Kerner September 11, 2022
Summer is over and how very quickly the season has gone by. Though one would hope that summer days could be quiet and restful, this has not been the case at St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish. The asbestos abatement work is in progress with the convent already done and work in the high school building now in progress. Completion of the abatement work is expected around mid to late October. Afterwards the demolition process begins. We can be very thankful for the generous efforts of volunteers who over several weeks have made school and convent items available for alumni and parishioners. Special thanks to David Katona and Barbara Bechard for contacting schools and institutions who might want to avail themselves of equipment and furniture. Our gratitude for all who have participated over the last several weeks.
The time for “tearing down” is giving way to “building up” the life of the parish and our Church! Two important ministries are growing because of the formation of our Family of Parishes. The St. Vincent de Paul Conferences of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement and St. Maria Goretti are working with St. Kateri and St. Barbara parishes caring for the many needs of our community’s poor and vulnerable. God’s love for the needy knows no parish boundaries only generous hearts. You might want to become part of the effort!
Family Faith Formation has now been restructured and available to all in our Family of Parishes. All programs, for children in grades 1-8, their parents, as well as any Catholic who has not made their communion or confirmation, will be held on Mondays. Folks considering becoming Catholic will also convene for instructions on Monday evening. For information or to register for any of these programs, please call the parish office.
Many good things are happening that we might not see at first glance. We all need eyes of faith and a creative vision for a hope filled future - something that founding families 170 years ago did not lack.
From Father’s Desk by Fr. Terry Kerner August 14, 2022
Dearborn Homecoming weekend was a success! And the celebration at St. Alphonsus-St. Clement on Sunday was meaningful. Homecoming gives everyone the opportunity to remember some of the happiest and most significant days in a person’s life. Recalling the events on the gridiron or on the stage can take on more than a little exaggeration with the passing of years. But the stories never lose the joy that comes with telling them. Remembering is also a time to remember, that is, to reunite with the intent of coming together to enjoy the blessings of those carefree days of past years. Sharing the tales of yesteryear can reignite the warm feelings for our parents and those of our dear friends. Recalling the names and faces of revered and not so revered, teachers and coaches can only evoke questions as to whatever happened to those legendary figures of our formative years. Soulful journeys back in time can only enrich our appreciation of who we are because of what others have been for us. What a beautiful legacy St. Alphonsus has been for its alumni. What a rich assortment of human endeavor our seven thousand alumni have enjoyed down through the years! That endeavor has been recognized in recent weeks in the extraordinary efforts of “fifth generation” David Katona. David has led and organized parish and alumni volunteers in making available to different local schools and organizations salvageable furniture and equipment. He has taken on the many detailed tasks of bringing Homecoming to our parish as well. He deserves everyone’s gratitude for his more than generous service to the parish he loves! (David no doubt learned generosity from past generation Espers who started it all!)
The future holds a place for all who have shared in the life of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish. With the Family of Parish structure now being implemented the parish has once again a Religious Education program which will be starting in mid-September. Any parish parent or grandparent can enroll a child whether a member in the parish or not. RCIA (convert classes) will also be available for adults who might be in need of “catching up” with some of the sacraments. You will be hearing more about the programs in the weeks ahead. St. Vincent de Paul of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement are already collaborating with St. Maria Goretti in feeding the hungry. You might want to help. Call the office to volunteer.
As we move forward, I would hope that alumni, no matter where you might live, could come to see St. Alphonsus-St. Clement as YOUR second, or maybe even your first parish. Fr. Greg so sincerely in his homily offered this invitation this past Sunday. While in the months ahead, buildings will be coming down and our church and campus will remain as a tribute to one hundred seventy years of Faith with many more years to come. Alumni and friends; Welcome Home to the “ole neighborhood”!
From the Moderator by Fr. Terry Kerner August 7, 2022
The title “Moderator” is the name given by the Archbishop for the pastors who drew the short straw and got the job! In other words, the role is about being a facilitator for the parishes and their priests in the family of Parishes. Our Family is composed of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement, St. Barbara, St. Maria Goretti and St. Kateri. I want to make I quite clear that NOT ONE PARISH IS CLOSING! And each parish CONTINUES TO RETAIN responsibility for its own finances and assets. Parish life and activities will pretty much look the same except in areas where collaboration with the other parishes can be productive. An example of this is the work of St Vincent de Paul. (Already St. Alphonsus-St. Clement have met with St. Maria Goretti and are discovering ways to complement one another with goods and services). Other areas will be mentioned in weeks ahead. The new arrangement is driven by the shortage of clergy. Over the next decade the Archdiocese projects one third fewer priests. Almost two-thirds of our priests are already over 60. (No wonder you are asked to pray for vocations each week!) Understandably, the average Catholic does not feel a shortage because every time you attend Mass, a priest is present. But priests do feel the shortage and we recognize the need to minister and live parish life differently. Under the Family of Parishes, priests would be able to share one another’s burdens by coordinating ministry schedules, avoiding duplicate services and ultimately help their parishioners in their ministry efforts. It’s a good thing! Regarding Mass times, changes will be made but not until after the new year. Attendance numbers are an important factor in any decision to be made. Now is a good time to invite folks to Mass with you and even offering them a ride! For now, there are NO schedule changes planned to St. Alphonsus-St. Clement nor any other parish. The only exception is for the residents of Allegria Village (formerly Henry Ford Village). Their chapel Mass will be move from 9am on Sunday to 6pm on Saturday starting AFTER LABOR DAY, September 10.
With regards to our parish’s empty buildings, they will be coming down in the months ahead. This allows for some parking enhancement and green space that will encourage creative opportunities for celebrating our faith heritage. We hope to preserve many of the beautiful mature trees at the same time. The tedious work of asbestos abatement begins on August 8th and will conclude around mid-October when the actual demolition begins assuming all the City’s permits have been granted. The contractors have offered to set aside piles of the attractive brick from the convent and high school buildings. They can make memorable keepsakes especially for alumni.
Speaking of alumni, WELCOME HOME! This weekend has been set aside to honor your past and invite you to look forward to many, many years, and special times of celebrations at St. Alphonsus-St. Clement. We all look forward to building on the 170 years of Faith already celebrated by our support and commitment to the future of the parish. Every religious celebration in your future, regardless of where you live, can be a beautiful WELCOME HOME for you and your children. We only need to make it happen!
From the Administrator’s Desk, March 20, 2022 - Fr. Terry Kerner
I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to all the parishioners of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement. Archbishop Vigneron appointed me your temporary Administrator to fill the pastoral vacancy resulting from Fr. Linus returning home to serve his bishop in his home diocese of Meru. Fr. Linus lives a dedicated commitment to the Church and to his priestly ministry wherever the Lord has called him to serve. I am sure he remains in your prayers daily. I am no stranger to Dearborn, having arrived in town in 2006. I served as pastor of both St. Martha and St. Joseph churches which later merged in 2013 and took the new name of St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the first native American to be canonized. It is a vibrant parish with plenty of Lenten services and activities and I invite you to visit. Just go to our website for more information. It is truly a privilege to serve in the administration of St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish. The church of St. Alphonsus is a significant presence in Dearborn and will continue to be as it approaches in a few short years the 100th anniversary of its construction. There is no reason why the church building cannot continue to be a beautiful statement of Catholicism and the heritage of Faith it has nourished for generations. With my duties as pastor of St. Kateri and Moderator of our Family of Parishes, I must rely on Fr. Greg Deters and visiting priests to help celebrate masses and sacramental ministry. The parish is also blessed to have a very loyal and competent staff to manage the daily operations and maintain our property. For them I a most grateful. I would only hope that all our parishioners feel the same appreciation and continue to support generously St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish. Your faith is strong and blessed with a rich history of devotion. May it continue to flourish well into the future. Let us all enjoy our Lenten practices and our common journey to Easter!
Fr. Terry Kerner
Administrator - St. Alphonsus-St. Clement Parish
December 5, 2021 - Fr. Linus Kinyua
“I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confidence of this that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:4-5).
As we have started this Advent season of “patiently waiting” in preparation of the Birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, the church calls us to pray and reflect on our faith in the Son of God. Always being vigilant to recognize and welcome the Lord who comes to us every day, in the ordinary events, places and people in our lives.
This is to inform you that my bishop in Kenya has called me back to the diocese. “IT IS HARD TO SAY GOODBYE”, but the time has come for me to say... “Good-bye”.... I am really grateful to the Archbishop Allen Vigneron and my bishop Salesius, for allowing me to serve in the Archdiocese of Detroit beyond the 5 years that I was supposed finish my studies and go back to Kenya.
Saying goodbye is not easy, but I want to take this opportunity to thank you all, for your love and friendships we have shared here at St. Alphonsus-St Clement parish. I have been humbled as your servant in sharing the word of God and sacraments together for the last seven and half years here in Dearborn. Prior to coming here, I worked in Wyandotte, serving St. Joseph’s, St. Elizabeth, and St. Patrick parishes.
I am grateful for having associate pastors that have worked with me here, Fr. Jim, Fr. Aaron, and Fr. Greg, who have been very helpful to me in serving our parish family. God bless you fathers for your advice and devotedness to the Lord in service to his people.
The parish has been blessed with an incredible and dedicated staff both here and at the Henry Ford Village chapel, who really do all the work behind the scenes and often receive little credit. It is because of their hard work that our parish family has remained vibrant.
I would like to thank in a very special way, the parish pastoral and finance council members, the commission groups, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, Ushers and volunteers for working together so diligently in fostering the unity and growth of our parish and the merger and closure of St. Clement parish. Your counsel has brought us this far in helping the parish unite under the patronage of Saints Alphonsus and Clement.
For all those that I may have forgotten, please feel most appreciated for your prayers, love and support to our parish family. God bless you all.
Fr. Linus Kinyua, Pastor