Saint Josaphat Catholic Church
Location Name: Saint Josaphat Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Catholic)
Year Completed: 1901
Saint Josaphat parish was founded in 1889 both to alleviate the growing Polish parish of Saint Albertus and to compete with the then-renegade church, Sweetest Heart of Mary. Sweetest Heart was built to be an independent church by Polish Catholics and clergy who chose not to accept the authority of the Bishop of Detroit. Saint Josaphat was built just blocks west of Sweetest Heart while Saint Albertus just was blocks east. Named after Polish Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, the first combination church and school building were dedicated on 02 February 1890.
Architects Joseph G. Kastler and William E. N. Hunter were called on to build a new, permanent church for Saint Josaphat parish. Their structure, which is the current building today, was completed in 1901. Designed in the Late Victorian Romanesque style, the new building is dominated by a central steeple measuring 200 feet in height. This main steeple is flanked by two smaller, 100 foot steeples making the East Canfield facade an impressive entryway for the beautifully decorated church. Built of red orange brick, the exterior is heavily trimmed with Bedford, Indiana buff limestone. The sanctuary features 65 foot ceilings and ample white oak woodwork. The stained glass windows were designed by Detroit Stained Glass Works.
Saint Josaphat and its surrounding parishes have suffered from shrinking membership for decades. The schools closed in 1960 due to declining enrollmen. tIn June 2003, the parish was clustered with nearby Sweetest Heart of Mary (which had joined the Diocese in 1894) and in May 2004 Saint Joseph joined the cluster. The cluster now controls three of Detroit’s finest churches, and their beauty gives them appeal to prospective members. Saint Josaphat also offers Tridentine Mass services (in Latin) which further serves to bring people to their church.
Saint Josaphat Catholic Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.Sources