St. Joseph's Detroit Church, History

The St. Joseph Malankara Catholic Church in Detroit was inaugurated on August 1, 2000. Prior to this date, for many years the Malankara Catholics in the Detroit area got together and held prayer meetings. Over these years, the advice and directions from Malankara Catholic Bishops and Priests who visited the area kept the small community active and motivated. Bishop Geevarghese Mar Timotheos, Fr. Jacob Vilayil, Fr. George Oonnoonny, and Fr. Peter Kochery are among those who visited the community and gave spiritual guidance. On several occasions Fr. Gigi Philip from Toronto visited several Malankara families, conducted prayer meetings and celebrated the Divine Liturgy. In December 1999, a delegation of Malankara Catholics from Detroit met with the then Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios, on his visit to Chicago and put forth a request to start a mission in Detroit. The diligent efforts of His Grace and the prompt consent from the then Detroit Archbishop Cardinal Adam Maida made this dream a reality.

His Grace Cyril Mar Baselios inaugurated the St. Joseph Malankara Catholic Mission at St. Kenneth Church in Plymouth, on August 1, 2000. He appointed Fr. Mathew Charthakuzhiyil the priest-in-charge. On behalf of Cardinal Maida, Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, personally offered Mar Baselios the wholehearted support of the Archdiocese to the Malankara Community in Detroit. Since the inauguration, the Holy Mass and catechism classes were held every Sunday at St. Sylvester parish and a warm welcome was extended by Rev. Fr. Gary Schulte and the community of St. Sylvester parish. On February 3, 2001, by a decree, Archbishop Cardinal Adam Maida raised the St. Joseph Malankara Catholic Church to the level of a “quasi-parish” and appointed Fr. Mathew Charthakuzhiyil its administrator. Since July 2003, with the admirable support of Fr. Alberto Bondy, the worship site was relocated to the Chapel of St. Clement Catholic Church in Centerline, MI. On February 29, 2004 Most Rev. Earl Boyea, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit rededicated the chapel of St. Clement for the Malankara Catholic community.

Since the inauguration of the Malankara Catholic Exarchate in USA on October 3, 2010, St. Joseph Malankara Catholic community in Detroit enjoys the imminant possibility of being raised to the status of a parish. Though small with around 15 registered families, it is a close knit vibrant community, always striving to do better. In addition to regular Sunday services, all the holy days of obligation and special occasions like parish feast, Re-union Day, memorials like Mar Ivanios Day etc. are observed with due importance. All the children attend catechism classes diligently. Monthly prayer meetings coupled with house blessings, are also held on last Saturdays of every month at the residence of individual members. Mathrusangham (Mother’s Forum) is a very active organization that holds regular meetings on Sundays under the spiritual guidance of Rev. Sr. Litty Maria DM. The parish is blessed with a lively unit of the Malankara Catholic Youth Movement (M.C.Y.M). It plays a vital role in channeling the youth’s creativity and enthusiasm for the greater good of the community.

The parish was blessed with the service of Rev. Fr. Koshy Chirakkarottu from October 2006 to June 2010 as its administrator. In 2008, the parish got its first vocation to priesthood. Bro. Jerry Mathew is currently doing his Philosophy studies at the St. Mary’s Malankara Seminary, Trivandrum. Sisters of the Daughters of Mary congregation have been extending their service to the parish since their arrival in 2004. The Sisters of the Imitation of Christ also used to help the community occasionally during their short stay in Detroit area. Rev. Fr. Saji George Mukkoot is shepherding this community as its pastor since July 2010. Rev. Fr. Varghese Vallikatt and quite a few other Malankara priests working in local dioceses are also pastorally helpful to the needs of this parish. The parish is ever grateful to all who have been laboring untiringly for the establishment and development of this community.