St. Mary Cathedral Celebrates 100 years

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LANSING (WILX)-- Monday night was not your ordinary mass at St. Mary Cathedral in Lansing.

The Catholic church held it's centennial service, marking 100 years since it officially became consecrated by the Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit.

Before the church on Seymour Ave. was built, Catholics in Lansing worshipped in a log cabin and the state senate chamber in the old capitol building.

A lot has changed in the last century. A hundred years of sermons, marriages, deaths and prayers; St. Mary Cathedral has been the center of it all. The church has undergone several renovations since 1913. It's gone from being a simple house of worship to the elaborate display of faith it is today.

"This church has been open every day. People pray here everyday... That is what makes this a holy place," said Msgr. George Michalek, Church Historian .

The outside looks much like it did when it was consecrated in 1913, but the inside wasn't decorated until the 1920's.

"Because it was debt free it didn't have all the bells and whistles that we have now. Now we have the stain glass windows and the stations of the cross, which are hand painted on copper," said Michalek.

Over the hundred years there have been four major renovations says Michalek. Most of the changes happened at the altar. The biggest and most controversial renovation was when the church decided to demolish the altar's original scene of "Sacrifice on Calvary" in the 1960's.

"It didn't make people happy, but making space was the point of the renovation."

The altar with the wooden panels that the church has now wasn't built unitl 1985. But no matter how much or little things changed, the church is still home to generations of parishioners.

"This is my church family and I call all these people my church family," said LaVerne DuPard, church member.

"My husbands parents were life long parishioners. My husband actually went to grade school here," said Karen Parker, Church Member.

Built to last, the church will continue to be an icon for the Lansing faithful.

Michalek did say the church is due for another major renovation, but says there's nothing in the works just yet.

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