December 21, 2015
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Commitment to parish and Catholic schools spans generations in Dearborn

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 on new science wings at the Divine Child elementary and high schools as well as an entirely new outdoor athletic complex, including a multi-purpose synthetic playing surface, seating for 1,900, locker rooms, restrooms, lighting, an eight-lane track, and facilities for track and field.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2016 on new science wings at the Divine Child elementary and high schools as well as an entirely new outdoor athletic complex, including a multi-purpose synthetic playing surface, seating for 1,900, locker rooms, restrooms, lighting, an eight-lane track, and facilities for track and field.

Now in his ninth year as pastor of a parish with about 2,200 households, overseeing two schools with a combined enrollment of 1,355 students, and a parish-school payroll of more than 150 staff, time management relies on ongoing divine intervention for Rev. Jim Bilot at Dearborn’s Church of the Divine Child.

The original stained glass windows at Divine Child Church are being removed, disassembled, restored, and replaced using funds contributed through the parish Changing Lives Together campaign.

The original stained glass windows at Divine Child Church are being removed, disassembled, restored, and replaced using funds contributed through the parish Changing Lives Together campaign.

Founded in 1950 and like many metro Detroit parishes with schools, Divine Child is home to successive generations of the faithful, a place where faith is lived through the sacraments, prayer, in the classroom, and through dozens of ministries. The constant use of parish and school facilities requires near-continual upkeep and fundraising, sometimes postponed during challenging economic times.

As the faithful at Divine Child complete their pledges to the parish Changing Lives Together campaign, and with a series of improvement projects complete or underway, Father Bilot is now leading another capital campaign, a $6 million Investing in Excellence effort to replace science wings at both schools and athletic fields. More than $2 million has been committed early in the alumni-focused campaign, which comes on the heels of nearly $1.5 million in parishioner commitments to the Changing Lives Together campaign in 2012.

About 932 parish households made pledges to Changing Lives Together, which resulted in a completely renovated auditorium used by K-12 students at Divine Child schools. A project to restore and preserve stained glass windows in the church is nearing completion, while repairs to the church ceiling and 24-hour adoration chapel are underway. School savings funded extensive renovations completed over the summer to restrooms and locker rooms used for soccer, football, and track, as well as a room used for youth ministry. About 820 students are enrolled in Divine Child High School and approximately 540 attend the parish elementary school.

Funds from the Divine Child school savings accounts paid for extensive renovations to restrooms, locker rooms, and youth room facilities over the summer.

Funds from the Divine Child school savings accounts paid for extensive renovations to restrooms, locker rooms, and youth room facilities over the summer.

“Through all of this, we have stayed out of debt by design and through the grace of God,” said Father Bilot. “Changing Lives Together was fortuitous timing for us. Three years ago, I explained to parishioners why our stained glass needed to be fixed, I showed why the ceiling needed repairs, and outlined our other priorities. They responded, as they always have, though without Changing Lives Together, I’m not sure we would have gotten so much done so quickly. That campaign provided us the means to raise funds for the parish, the schools, and to help Archbishop Vigneron with needs throughout the Archdiocese. It was a real blessing.”Father Bilot hopes to also construct a small outdoor prayer location dedicated to the Blessed Mother near the entrance to the new athletic complex, as well as to make technological improvements at both schools. “I learned long ago that good facilities are necessary to conduct strong parish ministries. Our school parents and parishioners tell me they like what they’re seeing.”

 Changing Lives Together at
Divine Child Parish
(Dearborn)

Pastor: Rev. Jim Bilot
Parish founded: 1950
Registered households: 2,200
Campaign launch: Fall 2012
Goal: $1,830,179
Pledged: $1,461,829

 

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