By Sarah Shurge – Church bells aren’t heard as often as they used to be, but St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is excited and proud to keep the sound of church bells ringing in Wayne.
“It’s like a traditional thing,” said Father Francisco Radecki, CMRI (Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen). “All the other parishes I’ve been in and served at have had bells. It does a lot for people when you start Mass with a bell. It tells people something special is going on.”
Father Radecki came to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in 1993. St. Joseph’s was incorporated in the state of Michigan in 1991 and still offers traditional Latin Mass.
Latin Mass used to be offered all over the world, but in 1969 the first full revised Latin texts of Mass after the Second Vatican Council were released. The International Commission on English (ICEL) released its first full English translation in 1970.
“Latin Mass is growing,” said Father Radecki. “We started with one service and went to three.”
With the church’s growing services, renovations needed to be made.
“Many items used at St. Joseph’s were discarded from Catholic churches in other areas due to the Vatican II changes,” said Father Radecki. “We’re preserving little bits. Everything’s meant to be.”
The most recent item the church received was a church bell, believed to have come from a church in Cadillac, Michigan.
St. Joseph’s purchased the bell on June 8th, 2021 from Brosamer’s Bells, Inc. The 600 pound bell was made by Meneely Bell Foundry in 1918. Engraved on the bell is “St. Joseph pray for us” in Czech and “I praise the true God” in Latin. The bell was sandblasted and powder coated, but the patina original finish was kept.
The bell was blessed and the bell tower was mounted on the church on Tuesday, May 9th, 2023. Connelly Crane put up the bell tower and D&L Equipment secured the bell. Steve School and the Deck Barn also helped with the bell.
“We want to thank them and the officials because if it wasn’t for everyone involved, we wouldn’t have the bell,” said Father Radecki.
St. Joseph’s also redid the cross on top of the church.
“St. Joseph’s is trying to preserve Catholic tradition throughout the ages,” said Father Radecki. “When our parish beautified the sanctuary, the pillars came from Cincinnati, the capitals came from Chicago, the ornate plaster came from Cleveland, and the stained-glass windows from Canton, Ohio.”
The main altar is from Nebraska. The tabernacle is from Akron, Ohio. The crucifix above the altar, angel statues, and confessional is from Detroit. The baptismal font is from Dayton, Ohio. The Stations of the Cross are from Mancelona, Michigan. The church statues are from Nebraska, Lackawanna, New York, and Toledo, Ohio. The communion rail is from Wayne, Michigan. The pews are from Flint, Michigan. And the candle racks are from Ohio.
Fifteen years ago, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church built the choir loft that the rope to ring the bell now hangs in. The bell rings for Mass, weddings, and funerals. Members of the parish take turns ringing the bell.
“People love it because it’s so cool hearing a bell,” said Father Radecki.
St. Joseph’s has a soundproof cry-room in the back of the sanctuary for parents to take their babies or young children to during service if they are “cry babies.” The church’s next project is expanding the confessional and making it wheelchair accessible.
“People come from all over South-East Michigan, Ohio and even Ontario to hear our Latin Mass,” said Father Radecki. “It’s a great place to be in Wayne.”
There are prayer books in the pews that have both Latin and English, so people can follow along.
“It’s nice to see all the younger kids following along,” said Father Radecki. “I have a wonderful parish. They’re wonderful people and it’s great serving them. I never get tired of it. I’m really happy with what I’m doing.”
Father Radecki was also a scuba diver, flew helicopters, and did digital recordings. He filmed Mass at St. Joseph’s that sold in over 102 countries across the world. His twin brother, who was also ordained at the same time as him, is a priest in the Los Angeles area. The brothers have written four books together and are currently working on a fifth book this year. Father Radecki has written six other books on his own.
“Put your heart into everything you do and just recharge when you have to,” said Father Radecki. “I love serving God and helping people. I’ve helped a lot of people and everything is pretty special.”
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church has three Masses on Sunday at: 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., and 11:45 a.m. They have weekday Mass and school-day Mass twice a week. The church is located at 3521 Fourth Street in Wayne.