June 20, 2012

Pastor’s house visits and home blessings help families prioritize their faith

Our Lady of Albanians

Father Nue Gjergji and the Changing Lives Together leadership team at Our Lady of Albanians

The pastor of Our Lady of Albanians in Southfield for the last 14 years, Rev. Nue Gjergji fulfills an annual obligation to the faithful in his parish in which he visits hundreds of parish families and blesses their homes. Father Gjergji tries to ensure the entire household is present when he makes his parishioner home visits and blessings between Advent and Easter. This ongoing effort to solidify the presence of Christ among his flock is one reason why the Changing Lives Together campaign has been so successful at Our Lady of Albanians, which has more than tripled its archdiocesan goal of $54,000 with over $185,000 in pledges.

“When I bless their homes, I explain to the families what Changing Lives Together is about and where the money they give goes in our parish and throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit,” said Father Gjergji. “We talk, I answer questions, I ask for their pledge to the campaign, and more often the not, they respond,” he said. More than 300 families have pledged the campaign at Our Lady of Albanians, which began in the fall of 2011.

Gjon Pashku (left) and Martin Camaj (center) from Our Lady of Albanians chat with Mike Clement, Parish Council President at Holy Name Parish in Birmingham at a Changing Lives Together event in 2011

Parish priorities identified through the campaign at Our Lady of Albanians include replacing the church roof, resurfacing the parking lot, updating the church altar, re-carpeting the worship space and upgrading the church restrooms. “As pledges are fulfilled, we hope to begin work on these improvements later this year,” said Father Gjergji.

The last few years have been busy for Father Gjergji and the Our Lady of Albanians parish family, moving from their previous church building off 13 Mile Road in Beverly Hills to the former St. Ives worship site off Southfield Road in Southfield. St. Ives closed in 2007 when the parish merged with four other area parishes to form the Church of the Transfiguration. While the area’s Albanian population fluctuates, the parish sacramental trends at Our Lady of Albanians are positive. Father Gjergji performs about 75 baptisms annually, approximately 80 children received their first Holy Communion this year, and earlier this month, nearly 80 young adults were confirmed in the parish.

“I’m continuing my house visits and home blessings,” said Father Gjergji. “It’s good to be with families making their faith a priority and gathering in prayer.”

More than 60 families have made nearly $88,000 in pledges for several upgrades at St. Mary Burnside, which is approaching its 160-year anniversary. “We want to replenish parish savings we used last fall to install new church furnaces and for ceiling insulation work,” explained Father Treml. “We want to drill a well at the parish cemetery, do some electrical work in the church, improve the artwork above the altar, install new sidewalks around the church, and improve the sound system,” he added. “We’re kept up our buildings pretty well and we want them to stay in good shape,” said Father Treml.

Updated June 2012

Changing Lives Together is a series of parish campaigns to generate resources to fulfill parish-developed plans and priorities. Learn more about the initiative in your parish.