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Detroit, Michigan: Old Saint Mary’s Church


About Old Saint Marys Church:

Old Saint Mary’s is hard to miss when you’re touring Detroit. Walking around town, you will catch glimpses of its tall, striped towers.

It was first built on the present site in 1841 by a parish of German Catholic immigrants at a time when the total population of Detroit was not much over 5,000. Not including labor, the original brick church cost a little over $239.

The present church, replacing the earlier structure, was constructed in 1884, and styled in Victorian Gothic by Peter Dedericks, a native architect. It provides that lofty, big church experience – high ceilings,and grand old wooden confessionals. The beautiful polished columns inside are of solid granite and impossible to replace today

Before she gained the title “Old”, St. Mary’s was known as the “Church of the Grottos.”

There are three: the grotto of Gethesemane, depicting Christ’s agony in the Garden of Olives; the Baptismal Grotto, depicting Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (complete with running water); and the Lourdes Grotto, which is a replica of that French shrine.

One of the priests here has described Old Saint Mary’s congregation as traditional. Not that they want to turn the clock back before Vatican Two, but the church has old-style confessionals, Eucharist at the communion rail and a traditional choir, rather than folk or electronic music. Most Masses are in Tridentine Rite Latin Masses. He said it’s a place where people can come and worship with other people, but not have to hug everyone.


Traveling to Old St. Mary’s Church in Detroit:

The Church is located near downtown. Over time this area became known as Greektown, due to the many immigrants from that country.

Address: 646 Monroe Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48226

Tel:   +1 (313) 961-8711      Fax:   +1 (313) 961-4994

​Click here for the official website of Old Saint Mary’s Church in Detroit


Photos courtesy travel writer Teresa Bergen

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