DETROIT (WJBK) - A Catholic church that has deep roots in the city of Detroit is experience a recent rebirth in congregation but the building is still in need of vital repairs.
St. Joseph Oratory Catholic was founded more than 150 years ago in Detroit. As the city has bounced back in recent years, the church is seeing something similar: a boost in its congregation. A new campaign hopes to give the historic property new life.
"If you love music and arts, or if you love serving the poor, or if you love architecture, if you love Detroit, whatever the case may be, this project is for you," Father Cannon Stein said.
The church's $2.5 million fundraising effort to to repair and renovate this classic church near Eastern Market in Detroit is ambitious. They hope to raise $1 million in the first year and $750,000 in each of the following two years.
"Anytime you see a structure, especially when it's as stuningly beautiful as something like this, I think it's incumbent upon this generation - that's how I take it: this is my generation's responsibility to step up and to save this for another 144 years or longer, God willing," Finance council chairman Jeremy Chisholm said.
The church was built in 1873 and is showing its age: there's water leaking from the roof and walls, electrical systems as well as heating and cooling, all out of date.
The first item to fix is the church's 200-foot steeple which was damaged in a wind storm in 2016.
"Once the steeple, the roof and stonework is restore and in good shape, then we can work on the inside of the churhc - which would be fruitless if we were stilld ealing with water penetration," Father Stein said.
The church is doing what they can to give to others - including a food pantry, concerts, confessions, mass, and more - but they're hoping the Metro Detroit community can offer support in return.
"We have people not only communting, as people have for a long time, from the suburbs, but we have Detroit coming to church hear again and I love it. It's a wonderful thing to see," Chisholm said.