St. Joseph Shrine in Detroit receives national grant to restore sacred places

Posted at 4:23 PM, Oct 22, 2020

DETROIT (WXYZ) — St. Joseph Shrine near Eastern Market is experiencing a revitalization. The church is one of 16 sacred places of worship around the country that will receive some funding.

“When you step into this church, you see how gorgeous the architecture is,” said Canon Michael Stein.

St. Joseph Shrine on Jay Street near Gratiot Avenue has a long history in the city, dating back to the 1850s. Just like Detroit, it’s had it’s ups and downs. But, the city is experiencing a renaissance.

“This church has known a great rebirth in the last four years,” Stein explained. “In normal times, we are up to a 1,000 communions a Sunday. We have three Sunday masses. We have two daily masses.”

For the last few years, the structure has been in desperate need of repairs, from the steeple to the heating unit. The stonework repair will cost $1.5 million.

“You can imagine the incredible maintenance a historic building like this would require,” Stein said.

The church is on the National Register of Historic Places because of the special stained glass from Germany. It was the very first in the U.S. They do mass in Latin, adding to the church’s uniqueness.

Thanks to a grant from the National Fund of Sacred Places, the church was one of 16 religious buildings chosen to receive a $250,000 matching grant.

Gianfranco Grande is the executive vice president of Partners of Sacred Places.

“Preservation is always for the future it’s never for the past,” Grande said.

Because it is a matching grant, St. Joseph Shrine needs to come up with $500,000.

“In helping them, we are going to help the architecture and the history of Detroit as well as the future,” Grande added.

Canon Stein says with more people attending this church, the more money they hope to raise.

“The life is back, as we call the living stones is back," Stein said. "Now, we can take care of the material stones as well.”

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