Parishioners from both old parishes carried their parish registers and account books during the procession for them to be officially pronounced closed, while a stack of new ledger books for the new parish, which will retain the name of St. Fabian, stood nearby, still in their plastic wrappers.
The Mass also included the mixing of holy oils from each of the two former parishes.
Fr. Jeffrey Day celebrated the Mass for the new parish. He had been pastor of the old St. Fabian Parish, and had served as administrator of St. Colman after its last pastor, Fr. Norbert Kendzierski, died last May.
At the Unity Mass, whose congregation included those who had belonged to both of the former parishes, Fr. Day said the fact that Fr. Kendzierski had also once been pastor of St. Fabian was a “source of unity and strength” for the new parish.
Former St. Colman parishioners will also be able to see two icons from their former church now mounted at the front and back of St. Fabian Church, Fr. Day said.
The merger took place under the provisions of Phase II of the Together in Faith strategic planning process, which calls for the closing, clustering or merging of parishes to best maintain pastoral care for the Catholic faithful in the face of limited resources and a declining availability of priests.
St. Colman of Cloyne Parish’s facilities were at 32500 Middlebelt Road in Farmington Hills. They will be sold, and the new parish will continue to use the facilities of the former St. Fabian Parish, at 32200 West 12 Mile Road, also in Farmington Hills, which includes a grade school.
Besides having once had Fr. Kendzierski as their pastor, members of the two old parishes also had other things in common to strengthen their unity, Fr. Day continued.
“Both share a devotion to the Blessed Mother, and our faith and trust in Christ crucified,” he said. They also will draw strength from the Gospels and from the Holy Eucharist, Fr. Day added.
St. Colman Parish, founded in 1950, had a registered membership before the merger of 386 families. The old St. Fabian Parish, founded in 1958, had 2,017 families.
For more information about St. Fabian Parish, call (248) 553-4610 or go to www.stfabian.org. For school information, call (248) 553-2750.