Parish History

St. Regis Parish is part of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. The parish began as a mission of Holy Name Parish in 1959, thanks to the foresight of Msgr. Eugene E. Paddock.  The school was built very quickly – from the laying of the cornerstone on May 31 to the first Mass being celebrated in the building on September 13. The parish was established on June 19, 1962 by Cardinal Dearden and named after his patronal saint – St. John Francis Regis. Our founding pastor, Reverend Thomas Shields, was known for “fostering the spirit of the family of St Regis.”   Our parish experienced significant growth during his leadership.  Along with this growth was the building of necessary facilities to serve the community: rectory (March, 1963), convent (December, 1964), and church (1968), and activities center (gym and lunch room – 1969).  Fr. Shields resigned on October 22, 1978 due to ill health.

Fr. Daniel Murphy was appointed pastor on January 11, 1979. St. Regis parish developed many outreach activities during Fr. Murphy’s leadership.  The parish adopted a refugee family from Cambodia in 1981; the family became Catholic in 1984.  The parish also supported the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and began an annual Giving Tree at Christmas.  Fr. Murphy had to address some maintenance issues on our facilities in 1985, including: repairs on the school roof, school windows, church carpeting and parish office.   The parish celebrated its 25thanniversary on June 14, 1987. Fr. Murphy established a long range planning committee in 1998 to study future facility needs.  Fr. Murphy retired in 1999.

Fr. Norman Nawrocki was named pastor by Cardinal Adam Maida in 1999. Fr. Nawrocki continued the long range planning process.  This led to a development of a master plan that included the refurbishment of the church, a gathering, space, small chapel, new parish offices, a social hall and an addition of a junior high wing.  A campaign was launched called Moments in Faith, which financed the junior high wing.  This addition strengthened the school and increased enrollment.  The parish’s outreach went international by assisting with a school and hospital in Cameroon and providing supplies to the Spanco Mission in Ghana.

Msgr. Charles Kosanke was named pastor by Archbishop Allen Vigneron in 2011.  Msgr. Kosanke immediately began a pastoral planning process to acquire input from parishioners on the future of the parish.  A parish assembly was held on November 11, 2011; subsequently the parish commissions developed goals and action plans. The assembly also voiced concerns about the conditions and limitations of the current parish facilities. The assembly resulted in the development of plans by each commission of the parish and began the next step to obtain feedback from parishioners regarding the long range for the facilities. A massive process began in January 2012 to transform our junior high into an academy program by the opening of the school year in 2012. The parish celebrated its 50th anniversary on June 16, 2012. Plans were developed and six receptions were held in the fall of 2012 to obtain feedback from parishioners.  The result of this planning and subsequent fundraising was the renovation of our church building, which was completed in June, 2015. A gathering space was also completed.

Fr. David Buersmeyer became pastor of St. Regis on July 1, 2016. When Fr. Buersmeyer came to St. Regis construction was already underway for a new chapel. In December 2016, the new chapel was completed and blessed by Archbishop Allen Vigneron. Future plans for St. Regis include increasing the size of the gathering space, building a new parish office center and building a Family Center.


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