DETROIT – After more than 100 years, a Roman Catholic church in Detroit is closed, partly because the Hispanics who worship there fear of immigration agents.
The last Mass of All Saints in the Church will be celebrated Sunday in Detroit’s southwest side. The congregation of 300 families are encouraged to take part in St. Gabriel, a nearby church.
All Saints was founded in 1896 and is on the current site since the early 1900s, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.
The pastor of the St. Gabriel, the Rev. Marc Gawronski, said: there are many reasons for the closure of All Saints. The church has weak public finances, needs repairs and is losing members. A construction project on Interstate 75, has hurt attendance.
Gawronski said that there has been an increase in raids and the enforcement by federal immigration agents in the community.
Immigration agents have an “informal agreement that they have confirmed that they are not to the churches, and no hassle of people go to church,” he said. Nevertheless, “people are even nervous about the fact that be able to in the morning and go to church.”
Only three people participated in a Spanish Mass on a recent Wednesday night, the Free Press reported.
In 2012, the Detroit archbishop told All Saints and St. Gabriel to make plans for a possible merger.
Ila Mae Lancendorfer, 81, lives just a few blocks from All Saints. It is a place for many of her personal milestones, such as baptism, First Communion and marriage. She was the music director for 30 years.
“The church is just a very important part of my life — my life,” Lancendorfer said.
Information from: Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com