Good clean (and cold!) fun on a winter day.
Good clean (and cold!) fun on a winter day.
On my To-Do List for a long time now: An article on Detroit’s historic Assumption Grotto Catholic Church.
Founded in 1830, the parish was in the news in November, when the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Pastoral Council submitted to the archbishop their list of recommended parish closures and consolidations. Under the proposed plan, 60 parishes would merge down to 21 and an additional seven church buildings would close. One of the parishes at risk if the proposal is accepted is Assumption Grotto: the Pastoral Council recommended that it be merged with another church and closed down in the future, if Father Perrone retires and a replacement is not found.
Assumption Grotto is an historic church—in fact, it’s the second-oldest parish in Detroit—and although I’ve moved far away, it’s always been a part of my life.
In 2008, Bishop John Quinn and Fr. Frank Pavone celebrated Mass there and held a burial for the unborn, burying the remains of three children who died due to miscarriage and seven aborted fetuses.
This week, Assumption Grotto has been in the news again. That’s because pastor Fr. Eduard Perrone, a classical musician, has composed a full orchestral score for Catholic Mass. Called “Fountain of Beauty,” the work is intended for a 65-member choir and 38 instruments. Father Perrone explains that it’s dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the most beautiful of God’s creatures.
“Fountain of Beauty” was performed with a full orchestra for the first time on December 21; but there are still two opportunities to enjoy the performance this Christmas season: on January 1 and January 8. Click here for details regarding upcoming performances.
And for an excellent report (with photos) about the recent musical performance, check this article by Detroit Free Press staff writer Niraj Warikoo.
The neighborhood has certainly changed since I lived just a few blocks away, on the other side of Gratiot Avenue. The school closed long ago. Many of the parish’s members have moved to newer homes in the suburbs. It’s difficult to imagine, though, that Assumption Grotto, with its heritage in the city, its beautiful worship music, its shrine and cemetery, its devoted worshippers, and its rich Tridentine traditions, will be forced to close its doors.
God bless and keep the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, its parish staff, and its congregants who drive from throughout the metro area.
I love to see the Sisters in treatment at Guest House. From around the country and around the world they come, bringing their burdens and their fears, but also their hope. Behind our gates, they confront the addiction that has caught them, interrupting their service to the world and to their Heavenly Father. They stay with us for four to six months or longer–praying and learning and studying, changing the ebb and flow of their days, working the 12 Steps.
And when the time is right they go home, renewed and reinvigorated, to once again share their gifts with the people they meet– in the classroom or the nursing ward or the parish office or on the street.
For those of us who live an ordinary life in an ordinary family or community, the simplicity of the sisters’ lifestyle and their gifts from the heart are an inspiration and a joy. In the administrative offices, we don’t see the sisters every day–but when we are invited to join with them for liturgy, their song and their thoughtful prayers are rich and warm. At a departure luncheon, when a sister leaves to return to her community, the friends she’s made prepare a special send-off: perhaps a song, a poem, a poster, a short play.
So it was that this year, seven sisters currently in treatment prepared a special song for our staff. With one on guitar and six angelic voices, they first sang it for us, then invited the Guest House staff to join in a sing-along to the tune of Marty Haugen’s “All Are Welcome.” Because of confidentiality requirements, I can’t share the happy photos–but here is the song, topped by their hand-painted manger scene.
Merry Christmas, dear sisters. May God bless you and accompany you on your journey to recovery.
If you’re interested in learning more about the work of Guest House or its mission, check out the website.
|Kathy Schiffer is the wife of a deacon and mother of three grown children, and currently works as Director of Publicity and Special Events for Ave Maria Communications.|
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