April 25, 2013

Farmington Hills parish merger complete; successful campaign enables Church expansion

Archbishop Allen Vigneron at St. Fabian parish

Archbishop Vigneron met with St. Fabian parishioners at a Changing Lives Together kickoff event in 2012.

After several months of planning and implementing the February merging of St. Fabian and St. Colman parishes in Farmington Hills, the months ahead will begin a flurry of construction and system upgrades made possible by the Changing Lives Together campaign at St. Fabian.

Saint Fabian interior

The St. Fabian church vestibule will be expanded and the altar enhanced in construction work set to begin in June.

Parishioners at St. Fabian, into which St. Colman was merged, have pledged nearly $986,000 to Changing Lives Together, with enough funds received to start a sanctuary renovation and vestibule expansion in June. While St. Fabian and St. Colman were in the same Together in Faith parish planning group, collaboration between the two parishes, located a few miles from each other, accelerated when Rev. Norbert Kendzierski, St. Colman pastor for 16 years, died in May 2012. His passing left St. Colman without a pastor, responsibilities quickly assumed by Rev. Jeffrey Day, pastor of St. Fabian.

Mike Van Dyke, a parishioner of St. Colman since 2001, a member of St. Colman parish pastoral council, and a parish representative in Together in Faith planning, says about 100 families from St. Colman have registered at St. Fabian with others going to area parishes like St. Owen in Bloomfield Hills. “We’re continuing to call St. Colman parishioners who have not registered at other parishes to ensure they’re welcomed at our new worship community at St. Fabian,” he explained. Before the merger, St. Fabian, founded in 1958, had more than 2,000 registered households. St. Colman founded in 1960, had nearly 400 households.

Rev. Jeffrey Day, Pastor of St. Fabian Parish

Rev. Jeffrey Day, Pastor of St. Fabian Parish, Farmington Hills.

St. Colman had operating deficits, a net parish debt, and facilities that needed extensive renovations. However, it was the lack of a pastor and a welcoming parish community in St. Fabian that primarily influenced the decision to merge. “We had some parishioners at St. Colman who told us if money was the issue, they’d take care of that,” recalled Van Dyke. “It became increasingly clear that Father Day and Father Craig Giera were really committed to our pastoral care,” he added. “They quickly proved to be sensitive, welcoming, solid stewards of resources, and excellent communicators.”

St. Fabian parishioners new and old will see construction begin this summer on the church and school campus. A successful Changing Lives Together campaign at St. Fabian and proceeds from the recent sale of the former St. Colman property will further strengthen the finances of the newly formed St. Fabian Parish. The Chaldean Catholic Church paid approximately $1.2 million for the former St. Colman property. Funds from the sale will be used to clear the St. Colman accounts and the balance retained by the new parish community, which will begin debt-free.

“We’re very pleased that St. Colman is staying in our faith as part of the Chaldean community, and that our Catholic sacraments will continue to be celebrated under that roof,” said Father Day. “We’ve done a lot of fundraising and planning in the last year, and now we’re really looking forward to growing our parish ministries and spreading the Gospel.”

Updated April 2013

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.