November 11, 2012

Livonia parish uses Changing Lives Together to expand, upgrade church building

St. Colette Exterior sm

The new vestibule at St. Colette is twice the size of the original built in 1984, which proved insufficient to accommodate growing parishioner and ministry use.

St. Coletted old entrance

The old church entranceway at St. Colette often overflowed with parishioner generosity and involvement. The new vestibule has created more room for food and clothing drives as well as sign-up space for parish blood drives, Christmas gift tags, youth group sales, Christian literature, parish news, and notices of upcoming events.

St. Colette Vestibule Interior

The St. Colette vestibule expansion was completed in September.

After several years of dreaming and planning, it took just a few months a for parishioners at St. Colette in Livonia to use their Changing Lives Together campaign to build a bigger, better church vestibule. More than 780 parish households committed over $963,000 to the initiative earlier this year, enough to start construction in June and complete the job in September. Rev. Gary Michalik, who has shepherded the faithful at St. Colette as pastor for two years, said the poor economy had many parishioners hesitant to launch Changing Lives Together, but support for the project grew as more parishioners became convinced it was something needed, overdue, and part of a larger parish plan.“Our old vestibule just didn’t provide the space we needed as a gathering area before and after Masses, for those attending large parish sacramental events like first Communions and confirmations, and it was pretty tight when we did sign-ups for parish ministries or donation campaigns,” explained Father Michalik. “The expansion is enabling us to comfortably and simultaneously accommodate our people and our ministries as well as overflow crowds at holiday Masses.” A new sound system allows parents with infants to hear Mass when they have to take children out to the vestibule. Other projects to be funded through Changing Lives Together at St. Colette include installing new carpeting in the church, painting the interior church walls, and energy efficient lighting improvements.

Father Michalik credits strong parishioner leadership and involvement for a successful campaign. “We had been talking about this for years, everyone agreed we needed to get it done, and we decided to tackle it now to avoid escalating construction costs,” he said. “We also decided to make this a cash project – we don’t have any parish debt and we didn’t want to go into debt. Our campaign leadership team combined veteran parishioner volunteers and those new to ministry involvement. I’m extremely happy with the results, which are there for all to see. We have a closer parish family, which is even more important than the bricks and mortar.”


Fr. Gary Michalik, Norbert Giczewski (St. Colette Changing Lives Together co-chair), Sylvia Giczewski; Robert Gansen (co-chair), and Carolyn Gansen at a campaign reception.

Updated October 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.