St. Kenneth or, Canice, whose feast is celebrated on October 11th, was an abbot from Scotland and Ireland (from approximately 599 AD). He was chosen patron for our Parish, located on Haggerty Road between Five Mile and Schoolcraft. St. Kenneth Parish was established on June 21, 1967 by the Archbishop John Dearden. Father James Machak was appointed as the founding pastor. Tanger Elementary School was the temporary gathering space for our first Mass, celebrated four days later on June 25, 1967. Construction was underway for the first church and rectory, and, upon completion, the building was dedicated by Archbishop Dearden on February 23, 1968. Father Machak served with dedication from 1967-1975.
In 1969, a steering committee was formed to establish a Parish council and commissions for worship, service and education. A representative for the Vicariate was also named. In 1970, the first Parish Council was elected and Father Hilary Muscat, O.P., became our first assistant priest, serving until 1985.
The church was growing, and so too were activities. The Women’s Guild began serving luncheons after funerals. Signage for the church was erected. The first Family Fun Festival was held September, 1974. The Liturgy Committee, The Seniors, Seder Meal, the Nursery, and the Millionaires Party, all had their beginning in 1975.
Father John Anthony Lombardini served as pastor from 1975 to 1978. Under his leadership, young women in the Parish were commissioned new roles as Ministers of the Altar in 1976. An Arch Cross and Statue of the patron St. Kenneth were made possible by the generosity of individual donors, whose names appear on plaques in the former church entrance, which is today the Parish Hall.
Joining as the third pastor for our growing Parish was Father William Pettit, from 1978-1997. Father Bill has the distinction of serving the Parish of St. Kenneth longer than any other pastor to date. Under his watchful guidance, the Parish prospered and became deeply rooted in the Township of Plymouth. The atmosphere of worship and community life was enhanced through the installation of air conditioning in the church and hall in the summer of 1979. Fr. Hilary Muscat O.P. became the first assistant from 1970-1985. In 1985, the Parish was debt free. The ceremonial mortgage burning was held during the Parish Picnic. This was also the year in which Father Paul Berg joined the parish to provide weekend support to Father Bill. Deacon Gene Krezminski served the parish from 1981-2000.
With significant growth in the parish, thoughts again turned to the feasibility of erecting a new church. Long term planning analysis indicated sufficient growth in the area to begin a drive to fund a new building. Over a five-year period, careful saving and a Building Fund drive that netted over one million dollars allowed the construction on the new church to began in 1989. Cardinal Szoka dedicated the church on April 28, 1990. Cardinal Szoka having officiated over the dedication marked a new beginning, not only for the Parish of St. Kenneth, but also for his personal service to God, as he traveled to Rome, shortly after the dedication, to assume a new role for Pope John Paul, II. By September of the same year, the Social Hall was refurbished and enlarged, making way for additional classroom space to accommodate the growing number of children in the religious education program. Two programs were added, LOGOS (for teens), and Liturgy of the Word for Children.
Father Bill laid a sturdy foundation for the next pastor, Father Joseph Mallia. This was Father Joe’s first assignment as a pastor. He quickly won the hearts and admiration of all. He continued to be assisted by Father Paul, whose deeply philosophical homilies were tempered only by his deep admiration for ice cream. Father Paul started the St. Kenneth Ice-Cream Social, which takes place every spring.
The 1993 church choir traveled to Rome. Highlights included a celebration of the Mass with the St. Kenneth Choir singing at St. Peter’s Basilica, for His Holiness, Pope John Paul, II.
Plans were developed to add 8,000 square feet of office and meeting room space to the existing Social Hall. Occupancy of the new space took place in January of 2000. The rectory was renovated the following spring, and with the additional space, The Mary K. Lynch Conference Center (now known as the St. Laurence Room) became a welcome addition in which to hold meetings. Additional space meant the opportunity to add additional ministries, including: St. Vincent de Paul Society; Healthcare Ministry; Stephen’s Ministry, Adult Bible Study, and Family Religious Education. Our parking lot was enlarged and resurfaced, to keep up with the fast paced community of the Parish of St. Kenneth.
St. Kenneth Parish was blessed in February, 2004. Father Thomas Belczak now serves as our fifth pastor. Even at the time of this writing, Father Tom has set a pace of worshipping and working which will certainly keep us all joyfully busy in our service to the Lord.
We have since had several weekend and part-time priests that have helped out such as Father Chris Valka and currently Father George Charnley, who arrived in 2012, and manages to keep the laughter alive in the parish.
In 2009, the parish renovated the social hall and kitchen. The social hall was repainted; a new ceiling put in, stone tile floor installed and a new roof was put on the building. In an awareness of being good stewards of our earth and environment, a state of the art dishwashing area was built so we could use real dishes, cups, and silverware at all our functions. The kitchen was enlarged to accommodate the ever growing number of volunteers and those that attend Coffee and Donuts, The Lenten Fish Fry, Pancake Breakfast and the many other events that gather the community together.
In 2015 Deacon Dennis DeVooght joined the staff as our part-time Pastoral Support.
The history of St. Kenneth includes much detail about church construction. Yet, our true calling is not to build a building but to live in ways that reflect and demonstrate God’s love and saving grace. The Parish of St. Kenneth is a vital, living organism of relationships, through which we experience God. It is through these experiences, that God has built this church. He is the sole owner, the master architect, and the builder.
|Fr. Machak||Fr. Lombardini||Fr. Pettit|
|Fr. Mallia||Fr. Belczak|
|Fr. Muscat||Fr. Berg||Deacon Krezminski|