Service Opportunities Within Our Family of Parishes
Franciscan Outreach (at Transfiguration)
Needy families from all over and beyond the Archdiocese of Detroit come seeking assistance and receive food from our program. It is staffed by volunteers and run on donations made to the program. It receives no direct financial support from the parish.
During 2020, more than 700 food packages were distributed each month. In November, in addition to the food bags, 230 families received turkeys and sides for a complete Thanksgiving meal. For Christmas, 137 families received a turkey and enough side dishes for a complete Christmas meal. Additionally, toys were provided to 254 boys and girl in those families, including 28 bicycles provided by a local Southfield business.
In total during 2020 we served 1756 families of which 1002 wear new clients. We gave out 701,450 pounds of food! We are always able to use donations and able bodied volunteers to help pack non-perishables food, check peopling, and assist those who cannot navigate the stairs, and help when there are large deliveries.
For more information contact John Grden, Director / Franciscan Outreach Program. 25225 Code Road, Southfield, 48033. 248-356-6350 / [email protected]
Reverend Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, with the concurrence of his Superior, Very Reverend Mark Soehner, OFM, appointed Moderator of the In Solidum team of priests who, with the other priests of the team, will lead the newly formed South Oakland Vicariate Family 5 (Church of the Transfiguration Parish, Southfield; Divine Providence (Lithuanian) Parish, Southfield; Our Lady of La Salette Parish, Berkley; Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Oak Park), effective July 1, 2021. Father Scheeler currently serves as Pastor of Church of the Transfiguration Parish, Southfield.
On Our Family of Parishes
Introducing the Pastors
From Fr. Paul Chateau
Pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
I am Fr. Paul Chateau and I have served as Pastor of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish for the past 7 years. In 2012 St. James in Ferndale was clustered with Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Oak Park where I had been pastor since 1972. In 2014 we merged and became Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish with two worship locations—one in Ferndale and one in Oak Park where the parish office is located. I have lived at the rectory in Oak Park for the past 48 years.
I was brought up on the east side of Detroit living near St. Anthony Church on the Boulevard and Gratiot and Guardian Angels at Kelly and Whittier. Sadly, both parishes are now closed. I went to Sacred Heart Seminary from 1954 through 1962 and then to St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth until my ordination in 1966. Following my ordination, I served at St. Cecilia in Detroit, Queen of All Saints in Fraser, St. Martin de Porres in Warren, and St. Joseph’s in Monroe. In 1972 I came to serve at Our Lady of Fatima in Oak Park as Co-Pastor with Fr. Tom Flynn.
I am eager to broaden my own personal outreach as well as that of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish with our neighbors and new family members at Our Lady of La Salette, the Church of the Transfiguration and Divine Providence. I was familiar with La Salette and Transfiguration but only recently was at Divine Providence. I was delighted and impressed when I had the opportunity to visit Divine Providence and meet with Fr. Jonikas and some of the parishioners.
While I am saddened that thirteen churches within a three-mile radius of our church have closed over the years closed I am enthusiastic by the inclusion in our Family of Parishes. My hope is that together we will continue to flourish and bring clearer light and life through greater cooperation. Working together in areas will help us to be more efficient. I look forward to being enriched by the wisdom and faith of our family and bring hope and excitement as we walk into the future together.
From Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
Pastor of Church of the Transfiguration
I am Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, and have been pastor of the Church of the Transfiguration for three years. I am 68 years old, and in 2021 will be a professed Franciscan Friar for 46 years and ordained for 41 years. Prior to coming to Transfiguration, I served in parishes in Galveston, Texas; Lafayette, Indiana; and Cincinnati, Ohio (my home town). I also served as part of a team of friars working with men as they entered our fraternity, as a campus minister at Rice University in Houston, and was part of administration/leadership of our Franciscan province for a time. I have enjoyed the variety of ministries that have been part of my spiritual and ministerial journey. The various roles have allowed me to be part of different dioceses and to meet Franciscans from the various Franciscan provinces in the US and other countries.
I look forward to getting to know the other parishioners in our Family. I hope that we can support and strengthen each other, and perhaps work together on various projects. I would imagine that we could share some things like religious education, outreach and service projects, etc. I hope each parish can learn from one another and grow stronger from our working together. I would imagine that there are things in each parish that work well, and areas where we could benefit from working together. Transfiguration has a strong outreach program, distributing food twice a week. We are also a relatively small and aging parish with few young families, children, and young adults. I would hope our collaboration might help strengthen our ministry to these groups. I imagine that the clergy would celebrate Eucharist from time to time in the various parishes of the family.
We are looking forward to the adventure, trusting in our cooperation with God’s grace and goodness.
From Fr. Gintaras Antanas Jonikas
Pastor of Divine Providence
My name is Gintaras Antanas Jonikas (Gintaras means Amber in Lithuanian) I am the Pastor of Divine Providence Lithuanian Catholic Church for 11 years now and was ordained as a Catholic Priest in 1989 in Panevezys, Lithuania. I am 57 years old.
Originally, I came from a very beautiful and green country by the Baltic Sea - Lithuania. On March 11th, 1991 the Lithuanian Parliament declared its Independence of the State and left the USSR forever. Lithuania as a country was occupied by Russian Bolsheviks for 50 years and for this reason the Catholic Church suffered enormous oppression and persecution.
As a Lithuanian Catholic Priest, I'm also serving the American-Lithuanians in Atlanta, GA, and Palm Beach, FL.
I'm so glad to be a part of Our Family of Parishes. The people of Divine Providence Church have big hopes to keep our National-Ethnical Church strong in faith and everything that unites us with Jesus Christ and one another. As a priest, I'm ready to work in cooperation with my fellow brother priests and to share my personal spiritual experiences. Divine Providence Lithuanian Catholic Church can’t wait to share with you our culture, because we love Lithuania and we love the United States of America.
Fr. Jeff Scheeler sent a very good message in which I agreed with totally - I would imagine that there are things in each parish that work well and areas where we could benefit from working together.
Let Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, and our Savior Jesus Christ lead us in this new adventure of the Catholic Church in the Detroit, MI area.
From Fr. Patrick Connell
Pastor of Our Lady of La Salette
Father Connell was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Elmhurst, a Chicago suburb. In 1975, he moved with his family to Troy, Michigan where he attended Boulan Park Middle School and Troy High School. He graduated from Troy High in 1981. After high school, Father attended Oakland Community College for two years. He was going to attend the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana to become a lawyer. As he was involved in this process of discernment he decided to answer the call he heard in high school to become a diocesan priest.
Fr. Connell enrolled in Sacred Heart Major Seminary in 1983, planning to stay a year. He soon realized his call was to the priesthood and stopped the Notre Dame entrance process and fully entered into the program of priestly formation at Sacred Heart.
During his seminary studies, Father Connell earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy and a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in medical ethics and moral theology. He was ordained on June 27, 1992. He was first assigned as Associate Pastor of St. Thecla Church in Clinton Township from 1992 until 1995. Father’s second assignment was Associate Pastor of St. Regis Church, Bloomfield Hills. In addition to his duties as associate pastor and pastor, Father Connell has also served as Chaplain of Brother Rice High School and Marian High School, and was Director of the Office of Alumni at Sacred Heart Major Seminary for one year.
In early 1998, Father Connell became pastor of Our Lady of La Salette Parish.
Father enjoys Notre Dame football, reading, astronomy and computers.