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St. Josaphat's Roman Catholic Church


St. Josaphat's Roman Catholic Church

St. Josaphat Roman Catholic Church
Basic information
Location 715 East Canfield Street
Detroit, Michigan
Geographic coordinates 21|21|N|83|3|10|W| name=


Affiliation Roman Catholic
Year consecrated 1901
Leadership Fr. Gregory Tokarski
Architectural description
Architect(s) Joseph G. Kastler, William E. N. Hunter
Architectural type church
Architectural style Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival
Completed 1901
Capacity 1,200
Length 132 feet (40 m)
Width 56 feet (17 m)
Height (max) 200 feet (61 m)
Materials brick, limestone
St. Josaphat Roman Catholic Church
Built 1901
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 82000555[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 8, 1982
Designated  1985

St. Josaphat's Roman Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic church located at 715 East Canfield Street in Detroit, Michigan. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982[1] and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1985.[2] It is one of three churches that make up Mother of Divine Mercy parish.


In 1889, the Polish community of St. Albertus Roman Catholic Church was outgrowing the capacity of the church, and the parish of St. Josaphat was started on June first[3] to serve the burgeoning community.[4] The church is named after St. Josaphat Kuntsevych, who was a Greek Catholic priest and was appointed archbishop of Polotsk, Poland in 1617.[5] He was martyred in 1623 but not canonized until 1867, which implies that this parish, founded only 22 years later, was one of the first to bear this name.

The church was located on Canfield not far west of the Sweetest Heart Of Mary Roman Catholic Church. It is possible that the choice of location was intended to compete with Sweetest Heart, which was at the time a Polish Catholic church unsanctioned by the diocese.[4] On February 2, 1890, the first building for the St. Josaphat parish, a combination church and school, was dedicated.[3] However, in the next decade, the church grew to over 1,000 families[4] under the leadership of Father Razadkowski.[5] In response, Razadkowski raised funds to build a new church, which is the one still extant today. The church was built in 1901, along with a rectory and janitor’s home.[4] A school was built in the 1920s.

By 1960, the Polish community that had once attended the church had scattered to the suburbs.[4] The school was closed and demolished, and St. Josaphat struggled with dwindling membership and the upkeep of the aging church. However, the parish began a building rehabilitation program, and it continues to serve the Polish community.[4]

In 2004, St. Josaphat became the home for the Archdiocese of Detroit's first regular celebrations of the Tridentine Latin Mass since the liturgical reforms following the Second Vatican Council. Attendance at weekend Masses has significantly increased as people from all over southeastern Michigan travel to St. Josaphat for this liturgy. St. Josaphat has also developed a choir and music program to accompany the Tridentine Mass. Since Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 widened permission for the 1962 form to be used as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, St. Josaphat has added weekday and Holy Day Masses and special events for its Latin Mass Community.[6]


The Victorian Romanesque Revival and Gothic Revival style church was designed by Joseph G. Kastler and William E. N. Hunter. It was built by the Jermolowicz Brothers and local carpenters, Harcus and Lang.[3] The church measures 132 feet (40 m) by 56 feet (17 m), with a 65-foot (20 m) ceiling and a seating capacity of 1200.[3] The main steeple is 200 feet (61 m) tall, while the two side steeples are each 100 feet.[3] The exterior of the church is built from red and orange brick, extensively trimmed with Bedford Indiana buff limestone.[5] The stained glass windows, depicting Mary & Joseph and the twelve apostles, were made by the Detroit Stained Glass Works.

The interior of the church contains five altars. On the main altar there is a painting of St. Josaphat, dressed in the vestments of an eastern rite bishop.[3] The side altars are dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, and in the transept of the church are altars dedicated to Saints Anthony of Padua and Francis of Assisi.[3] The woodwork in the church is crafted of white oak, and there is an extensive collection of murals on the walls.[3]

Current information

The church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and received historic recognition from the city of Detroit in 1983, and as a Michigan State Historic Site from the state of Michigan in 1985.[4]

On June 19th, 2013 by a decree from his excellency Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, the clustered parishes of St. Josaphat, Sweetest Heart of Mary and St. Joseph were merged to create the new Mother of Divine Mercy parish.[7]

Effective July 1, 2013, Fr. Gregory Tokarski was appointed the new pastor of Mother of Divine Mercy parish.

See also


Further reading

External links

  • Official site of St. Josaphat parish.
  • St. Josaphat from the Archdiocese of Detroit.
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