St. Louise de Marillac marks 50 years as community of ‘living stones’

Archbishop Allen Vigneron blesses the new statue

Archbishop Allen Vigneron blesses the new statue of St. Louise de Marillac at the Warren parish.

Special to The Michigan Catholic

WARREN — Reflecting on his 24 years at St. Louise de Marillac Parish following the parish’s 50th anniversary Mass Oct. 6, Msgr. Thomas G. Rice said it has been “a delight and a privilege” to serve as its pastor.

He said he felt blessed to have served such “a wonderful parish community — people who are very generous in donating their time, talent and support for the parish.”

Msgr. Rice noted that the parish’s patroness was foundress of the Daughters of Charity, the congregation that founded Providence Hospital and that is now joined with the Congregation of St. Joseph in operating the St. Joseph Providence Healthcare System.

And he referred to his remarks at the end of Mass, about how the real work of the Church was not in erecting stone edifices, but in building up the “living stones” of the Body of Christ.

St. Louise de Marillac Church had just been filled with such “living stones” as an overflow congregation of more than 1,000 people had turned out to mark the parish’s golden anniversary.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron was principal celebrant for the Mass, joined at the altar by Msgr. Rice and other clergy who currently serve the parish or have served it over the years.

A great many of those who came for the Mass also joined Archbishop Vigneron and Msgr. Rice for the unveiling and blessing of a new bronze statue of St. Louise de Marillac by sculptor Conrad Moroder of Italy, which has been installed behind the church on the way to the parking lot.

“I’m happy to have been with Msgr. Rice for the 50th anniversary of his parish,” the archbishop said following the blessing of the statue.

“Monsignor has always been generous in serving the archdiocese, both as editor of The Michigan Catholic and as longtime pastor of this parish,” he continued, referring to Msgr. Rice’s 13-year tenure at the helm of the newspaper from 1999 to 2012.

Fr. Gary Tierney, a senior priest who helps out on weekends, echoed Msgr. Rice’s sentiments about the parish community. “It is a delightful community of people, who love their parish and work hard to maintain it,” he said.

Fr. Tierney added, “It is the kind of parish community every priest in active ministry would love to have.”

Members of that parish community also had good things to say about their parish and its pastor.

Billie Perucca said she joined St. Louise Parish about 1968, when the current church was under construction. “It’s been a wonderful parish to belong to; we are just a real big family. And Msgr. Rice has been a wonderful pastor — he’s very spiritual,” she said.

Theresa Dedenbach, a member for about 20 years, called it a “very friendly parish,” and noted that all her grandchildren had been baptized there.

Ann Schwartz said she had belonged to St. Louise about 15 years, but that her late grandparents — John and Julia Misner — had been among the founding members.

Schwartz said she loves to listen to Msgr. Rice’s homilies: “He has great homilies, even though Fr. Bob (Williams) kids him about them; they really are great homilies.”

St. Louise de Marillac Parish
2500 Twelve Mile Road, Warren
(586) 751-3340
Pastor: Msgr. Thomas Rice
Founded: 1963
Founding Pastor: Fr. Benedict Rembelski
Families: 1,400
Parish organizations, outreach: Ushers Club, Christian Women, Youth Group, Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference, MCREST rotating shelter participating parish