October 10, 2013

Northville parish doubles campaign goal; transforms church building

olv northville floorplan

Construction work now underway at Our Lady of Victory church will result in a new floor plan featuring a reconfigured sanctuary, new tabernacle location on the altar platform, and relocated organ pipes. Church and choir entrances are repositioned for a more respectful flow around the church. A newly expanded and redesigned gathering area will help the parish accommodate evolving congregation needs. Photo courtesy Our Lady of Victory Parish.

OLV Northville Interior I

Work is progressing this fall on the Our Lady of Victory church interior. The extensive renovations were presented in categories to parishioners so they knew precisely what projects could be funded at certain levels of campaign gifts. “We are very blessed that the faithful responded by funding everything,” said Fr. Theroux. Photo courtesy Our Lady of Victory Parish.

Good stewardship of parish resources has been a longtime priority at Our Lady of Victory in Northville. Before the parish launched its Changing Lives Together campaign a year ago, the pastor, Rev. Denis Theroux, and parish lay leaders decided to retire a $1.1 million debt remaining from capital improvements made several years ago. “We wanted to start Changing Lives Together with a clean slate and a full focus on the final pieces of the parish master plan formulated in 1999 under the leadership of then-pastor Rev. Ernie Porcari,” recalled Fr. Theroux. “We outlined our campaign with specific milestones that we would achieve depending on the funds received,” he added.

OLV Northville Interior II

By renovating their church, parishioners at Our Lady of Victory are fulfilling a 14 year-old master plan, which has been accomplished in multi-million dollar phases. “The most exciting part of our campaign is that it didn’t solely rest on shoulders of a few big benefactors,” said Fr. Theroux. “We had two parish meetings to share information on the plans and many parishioners and families responded with pledges early in the campaign.” Hundreds of parishioners followed Fr. Theroux’s lead in making a personal gift of $10,000 to the campaign with one household contributing $50,000. Photo courtesy Our Lady of Victory Parish

A year later, parishioners have pledged more than twice the parish goal and have fulfilled almost half the pledges made. Construction work to transform the church worship space started in June and completion is expected before the holidays. “I’ll probably be pushing a vacuum around on Christmas Eve to clean up the remaining construction dust,” said Fr. Theroux, now in his eighth year as pastor at the Northville parish.

The Our Lady of Victory campus has steadily transformed since being founded in 1922. The first church building was razed in 1957 and replaced by the current structure. “In 1987 we added a gathering space, a chapel, and some other rooms,” explained Fr. Theroux. “In 2006, we opened a new school building and two years later converted the old school building into parish offices, while demolishing two older buildings on the property,” he continued. “All that work cost $2.5 million, which was paid in full before we started Changing Lives Together. We’re very thankful to be debt-free with a good amount of funds in the parish savings,” added Fr. Theroux.

OLV New Crucifix

A new crucifix, arrived recently from Italy, will be added to the new church sanctuary at Our Lady of Victory in Northville. Photo courtesy Our Lady of Victory Parish.

The school gym has been pressed into service for parish Masses as work on the church building progresses. The church was completely gutted over the summer, followed by the installation of a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system as well as new lighting. New pews and kneelers will replace chairs and the tabernacle will be relocated to the altar area. “There is great excitement over the project, especially as parishioners see the results of their campaign pledges taking shape less than a year after we started the initiative,” he said.

A prayer team was formed for the campaign and others volunteered for parishioner-to-parishioner phone calls to every parish family. Fr. Theroux included elements of the campaign in his homilies over four consecutive Sundays leading to the campaign launch. “A lot of this was evangelization and retelling the Our Lady of Victory story from our first Mass to the present,” said Fr. Theroux. “This is about building our future, building upon the legacy we received, and establishing our legacy for those who will follow.”

Updated October 10, 2013

 Changing Lives Together at
Our Lady of Victory Northville

Pastor: Rev. Denis Theroux
Parish founded: 1922
Registered households: 2,375
Campaign launch: October 2012
Goal: $1,165,218
Pledged: $2,429,836
Participating households: 747

Parish priorities:

  • Church interior renovation
  • Gathering space-atrium reconfiguration and expansion
  • Entrance canopy
  • Fr. Ernie Porcari Center heating, ventilation, air conditioning
  • Parking lot repaving