St. Hubert celebrated as ‘anchor’ of maritime community

A children's choir accompanies the bell choir during St. Hubert Parish's 50th anniversary Mass on June 18 in Harrison Township. Mike Stechschulte | The Michigan Catholic

A children’s choir accompanies the bell choir during St. Hubert Parish’s 50th anniversary Mass on June 18 in Harrison Township.
Mike Stechschulte | The Michigan Catholic

Harrison Township — The first thing you notice when you walk into St. Hubert Parish in Harrison Township is the aura of nature.

The risen Christ overlooks the doors leading from the narthex to the church, where sunlight floods the wooden pews on a summer afternoon.

It’s a church, but it’s also an atrium. Surrounding the half-circle nave, clear windows give view to lush trees and gardens planted and encased in glass, with some of the greatest heroes of faith guarding their watch: St. Francis of Assisi and St. Valentine on one side, St. Therese of Lisieux and St. Anthony on the other.

But it isn’t for beautiful churches that Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron told the congregation gathered there June 18 to be thankful.

“All of the things I ask you to remember — the baptisms, confirmations, weddings, the teaching of the Gospel — they’ve all been about you, this parish, being a community of disciples who confess that Jesus of Nazareth is not a charlatan and he’s not a fool and he’s not just one speaker among many. He is God’s promised messiah,” Archbishop Vigneron said, preaching during the celebration of St. Hubert’s 50th anniversary Mass.

St. Hubert, today led by Msgr. Ricardo Bass, was founded in 1966 because nearby St. Louis Parish in Clinton Township had “gotten too big,” said Karen Zeoli, a St. Hubert parishioner for all 50 years.

“We all belonged to St. Louis. I went to St. Louis from first grade through 12th grade,” said Zeoli, who moved with her family to the new parish when it first opened. “It felt a little weird, our first Mass being in L’Anse Creuse High School’s gym. We felt a little discombobulated for a while, but it’s worked out very well.”

The current church was built in 1996 in the shape of the bow of a ship, a nod to the community’s maritime culture, Zeoli said, but also befitting the parish’s spirit.

“This is the anchor,” Zeoli said. “I go to St. Louis sometimes and to St. Peter in Mt. Clemens, but I always anchor back here.”

From it’s “wonderful children’s program” to ministries making blankets for the sick and the Christmas giving tree, St. Hubert is known for being generous on multiple fronts, said Zeoli, who also sings at funerals with the parish’s resurrection choir and helped with the parish’s 50th anniversary committee.

“When something comes up, when there’s a calamity or a disaster, the parish all comes together,” she said. “If there’s a special donation that’s needed, we seem to always meet the mark. People just help each other out.”

Msgr. Bass, after the liturgy, acknowledged many of the parish’s former clergy in attendance, as well as all who helped make the parish into a 21st century model of faith.

“You have made this parish what it is, and it’s remarkable in many ways,” he said.