Sacred Heart Major Seminary begins expansion project

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron blesses the old apartment building that is to be demolished to make way for green space as part of Sacred Heart Major Seminary’s two-and-a-half acre expansion.

Seminary to create more space for hosting events

Detroit — Rain, winds, occasional thunder and the sight of people huddled beneath a tent couldn’t dampen Msgr. Todd Lajiness’ mood about Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Msgr. Lajiness, rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, welcomed seminary staff and members from the Boston-Edison Neighborhood Association April 20 to the dedication and blessing of the seminary’s expansion with the purchase of a two-and-a-half-acre lot that will serve as green space and auxiliary parking for events.

“This is a very happy day for the seminary, the neighborhood and the city,” Msgr. Lajiness said. “I’d like to thank Archbishop (Allen H.) Vigneron for his support of the seminary, and his unwavering support for all we do.”

Sacred Heart purchased the lot of land across Lawton Street, bounded by Chicago Boulevard and Joy Road, a year ago from the City of Detroit for $1, with the promise to demolish a derelict art deco apartment building on the corner of Lawton and Chicago Boulevard.

Details of Sacred Heart Major Seminary’s expansion across Lawton Street include demolishing the derelict apartment building to make room for green space and overflow parking.

“By demolishing the building, we’re enhancing the security of the neighborhood,” Msgr. Lajiness said.

Archbishop Vigneron blessed the property, commenting how the land was originally the seminary’s property and is now coming “full circle” back into the seminary’s possession.

“During the Depression, Bishop (Michael) Gallagher sold this property so there would be money to buy food for the seminarians,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “So in a roundabout of history, this property is coming back to the seminary.

“I’m grateful for all those times this institution of the Church has been here in the City of Detroit. We want to be part of the neighborhood. We could have moved, but we didn’t. We want to be part of the city. We expect this project to be part of our growth in the ministry in Detroit, for the citizens of Detroit.”

During a reception inside the seminary, Msgr. Lajiness said the expanded green space and landscaping that will replace the dilapidated building is a manifestation of the seminary’s commitment to being good neighbors in the Boston-Edison neighborhood.

“The Black Jesus statue is a daily reminder to us of the community we’re called to serve,” Msgr. Lajiness said. “It’s a blessing Cardinal Szoka kept the seminary in Detroit, stabilizing the area. The seminary is here for the long haul. There is no betterplace to prepare priests, deacons, lay ministers than right here in the City of Detroit. We proclaim Jesus as Lord, as servants for His sake, right here in the city.”