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Churches offer more than religion

By Dee Ryan – Father Francisco Radecki really gave me the cook’s tour.  He’s the Pastor of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and has been for 21 years.  You know St. Joseph’s— that’s the beautiful little church at 4th St. and Michigan Ave. In 1990 the church, rectory and parking lot were purchased.  It took sacrifice and hard work by parishioners to transform a meeting hall into a church adorned with statues, stained glass windows and Stations of the Cross.
In 1998 the school opened for students from K thru 12.  About 30 students attend the school.  You may have seen the photo of the girls at Petrou’s Dairy Queen, all dressed in their darling green plaid jumpers. The school has two nuns, joined by lay teachers.  The school Principal is Sister Mary Imelda.
St. Joseph’s celebrates the traditional Latin Mass and offers it daily. Or as Father Radecki would call it “The way it used to be.” He’s also served at Sacred Heart in Akron, Ohio, and Most Holy Rosary in Middleville, MI.  He has a twin brother, Fr. Dominic Radecki—they both attended Mt. St. Michael Seminary in Spokane, WA. and were ordained on the same day. The brothers have written two books together—“Tumultuous Times” and “What Has Happened to the Catholic Church.”
Alone, Fr. Radecki has written a lovely Catechism for young people. It combines simple language with wonderful pictures, drawn by children and parents.  It covers all the tenents of  Catholicism.  He’s also the author of two primers on Latin studies.
St. Joseph’s Mass schedule is: 7 a.m on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday at 9:15 a.m. and Saturday at 8 a.m.  Sunday Masses are offered at 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m and 11:45 a.m. Women please wear dresses or skirts—men shirts and ties. (Again—like it used to be.)
Fr. Radecki enjoys scuba diving and has learned to fly a helicopter.  He used to ski—but not so much anymore.
He also is active in many City of Wayne projects, especially the DACC.    Thanks Father Radecki, for the interview and tour.
Another member of the St. Joseph team is Jerry Dallaire. He’s the custodian of the church and school. He’s the man who keeps everything tip-top and ship-shape. Good meeting you Jerry.

St. John’s Lutheran School had a joyous time on Sunday, May 4th.   In 1913 the school started in one room—now they teach children from age 4 through 8th grades.  Presently, they have about 70 students.
Principal, Laurie Bartholomew, tells me the May 5 ceremony started with a special church service; 250 parishioners attended. The service was followed by a dinner and guest speakers.  Pastor Paul Doletzky was there as were scholars who had been taught by the original group of teachers.  They were Henry Timmernann, Barb Stobb and Gerry Pitt.  One of our neighbors, Jerry Heyer, went to St. John’s from 6th through 8th grade.
St. John’s School’s Mission is: first and foremost— Christian Education. Also, students regularly score better than one full grade above public schools on standardized tests. In the fall, a pre-school will be opening. It will also offer daycare and latch-key programs.
Originally St. John’s Church and School was located in Wayne. It moved during Urban Renewal.  Its former site was about where the Avenue Bar is now.
Ed McMurray (Friends Helping Friends) tells me he thinks marriages in St. John’s Church were made to last. He married Donna, one of Mike and Ruth Hartig’s daughters.  All four girls were married there by Pastor Press. Ruth has been married 55 years, Ethel 54 years, Donna 53 years and Mary 51 years.
St. John’s wasn’t the only church that was originally based in Wayne.  St. John’s Episcopal Church and Prince of Peace Lutheran Church both started in Wayne.

Have you seen all the flowers at the Veteran’s Plaza?  The purple flowers on the Wayne Rd. side are Azaleas and are gorgeous.  They were planted by the City.  All the squares between the Library and the parking structure are begonias.  Those were planted by Garden Club members, Lynn Higgs, Bridget Kelly, JoAnn Hanson, Darlene Hawley, Tina Butler, JoAnne Bondi, Janet Luke, Ruth Wenzel, Leora Smith, Carolyn Reynolds, and Lois Van Stipdonk. The roses survived the winter and should give us beautiful blooms until late fall.

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