St. Barbara finds mercy has many utilities

City councilman Dave Bazzy, parish business manager Judi Kadela and Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski stand in front of the new banner outside St. Barbara Parish in Dearborn. Dan Meloy|The Michigan Catholic

City councilman Dave Bazzy, parish business manager Judi Kadela and Fr. Zbigniew Grankowski stand in front of the new banner outside St. Barbara Parish in Dearborn.
Dan Meloy|The Michigan Catholic

Dearborn — Thanks to the advocacy of a city councilman and an “on fire” parishioner, motorists driving down Schaefer Road in Dearborn now know just how much St. Barbara Parish cares for them.

A banner reading “Mercy is our mission,” with the intention of broadcasting the welcoming mission of the parish, hangs upon a DTE Energy pole outside the west Dearborn church.

“We want this banner to show that everyone else is welcome here, that none of us are better than any other,” said Judi Kadela, St. Barbara business manager. “We’re promoting no-fear confession; we have people who write and say they haven’t been to church in many years, but they come back. We just want to tell everyone, regardless of who they are, that the doors are open, and they’re welcomed here.”

It wasn’t as simple as it sounds, though.

“We tried to hang the banner up on the pole, but it was difficult with city regulations,” Kadela said. “So we had a councilman, who attends the 6 p.m. Mass, who’s on fire with enthusiasm about his faith who helped us out.”

The Dearborn city councilman is Dave Bazzy, president and COO of Kenwal Steel and Kenwal Pickling, who looked into the issue and offered a solution.

“Judith came to me about six months ago, saying they would like to put a banner up, but the poles are DTE poles,” Bazzy said. “The City of Dearborn has an agreement with DTE about the weight and size on what you can put on DTE poles.”

So Bazzy worked with Mayor John B. O’Reilly Jr.’s office to work out the details, including the nature and purpose of St. Barbara’s message.

“You don’t want an independent banner on every light pole, but this is certainly proliferation of what everyone should be trying to do, be merciful to others,” Bazzy said.

Bazzy said the hold up on placing the banner on the light pole was based on establishing the proper parameters of the banner, but its common practice for groups in the community to put up banners for special occasions.

“Because St. Barbara is a religious institution, I thought it was important to put the banner up; St. Barbara is a bastion of the community,” he said.