It’s official: St. Lads to hold its last Mass before closing for good

This Saturday will be the last day that a Mass will be held at St. Ladislaus. The parish will be closing its doors for good after Saturday. The parish said the building will be used in the future for secular purposes. This is the first Catholic Church to close in Hamtramck. File photo


By Charles Sercombe
In a move that was expected, St. Ladislaus Church will close for good, with a final Mass to be held this Saturday, June 29, at 4 p.m.
The announcement came from St. Florian Parish, which has been overseeing the church for the last several years. It is the first Catholic Church to close in Hamtramck, leaving St. Florian and Our Lady Queen of Apostles as the two remaining ones.
Holy Cross Polish National Catholic Church, on Pulaski St., is not recognized as being officially aligned with the traditional Catholic Church.
News of the imminent closing of St. Lad’s, as it is affectionately called, did not come as a shock to most.
Former City Councilmember Joe Karpinski, who was baptized at the church, graduated from the high school in 1980, and eventually married his wife, Cheryl, there said the city’s changing demographics, with the city becoming home to a large Muslim community, led to the inevitable closing.
“It’s very sad, but it’s changing times,” Karpinski said.
One event that made a lasting impression on him was a visit by Pope John Paul II at the church, prior to him being appointed to that position. Karpinski recalled the event.
“Another big (memory) was meeting Cardinal (Karol) Wojtylo; a nun told us that he was a very famous Polish cardinal who someday may be pope. I was in second grade. That’s when we met him, and he did become the pope. A special day,” Karpinski said.
This isn’t the first time St. Lad’s had been rumored to be closing. There were two previous attempts, in 2014 and 2016, but parishioners were able to persuade the Detroit Archdiocese that there was enough support and money coming in to keep its doors open – although the number of Masses held there were limited.
But, according to the press release issued on Monday, St. Lad’s did not survive the pandemic, wherein the number of parishioners greatly declined, along with the church’s finances.
The future of the building was not discussed. The Review reached out to St. Florian’s Pastor, Rev. Tomasz Pietrzak, but he did not respond.
According to a source, the building’s future use will be for “secular” purposes, but not for “unbecoming use.” It was not immediately known what would be considered “unbecoming use.”
The Parish celebrated its 100th anniversary four years ago.
St. Lads has the distinction of being the first Catholic Church in Hamtramck to establish a four-year high school program, in 1935. The parish continued to grow as the city’s Polish immigrant population grew to over 50,000 people.
But in the 1970s and 1980s, the city’s population began steep decline to about 20,000. That loss of residents eventually forced the parish to close the high school in 1982.
Its elementary school closed 10 years later, as the Polish population in Hamtramck continued to decrease with more and more families moving to the northern suburbs of Warren and Sterling Heights.
The school has now morphed into a public charter school.
The church will be open this afternoon, Friday, June 28, for those interested in taking photos of the interior.
Posted June 28, 2024

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