Our Family

Family Sent on Mission

Year-end Report

Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM

     Family Moderator


Our Family of Parishes is now one year old!

I’d like to give you a very brief, high level summary of some of the things that have happened this past year.

We chose a name to bond our four parishes:

Family Sent on Mission

We had four initial gatherings to get to know one another. The Priests meet regularly and have developed a covenant to guide their working relationship.

 We were officially installed on March 31 by Bishop Cepeda and have filled four of the Director Positions:

            Mission Support Director – Sharon Myers

            Director of Engagement – Deacon Dan Darga

            Director of Worship – Deacon Dan Darga

            Director of Discipleship formation – Chris Ihlenfeldt

Two Director Positions remain unfilled:

Director of Family Life / Director Evangelical Charity

We have formed the required Advisory Groups.  These groups have just begun to meet and understand their roles.

Family Leadership Team

Fr. Jeff Scheeler, Sharon Myers, Dcn Dan Darga,

Chris Ihlenfeldt, Catherine Palazzolo, Al Kaunelis


Family Pastoral Council: Priests with:

   Church of the Transfiguration: Carolyn Romzick Clark, Mac Mangrum

   Divine Providence Lithuanian: Janina Udrys, Kristina Reinhardt  

   Our Mother of Perpetual Help: Rene Reiter, Chris Hickner

   Our Lady of La Salette: Mary McCaffrey, Joe Panozzo


Family Finance Team: Fr. Jeff, Sharon Myers, with:

   Church of the Transfiguration: Jon Fox, Jim Clement

   Divine Providence Lithuanian: Kastytis Giedraitis, Alma Butkunas 

   Our Mother of Perpetual Help: Kathleen Donald, Charles White

   Our Lady of La Salette: Greg Mulcahy, Allan Watson


The Clergy and Directors met to develop a Missionary Strategic Plan which will guide our efforts in the coming months.  You will be hearing more about this as we develop and refine the plan.

Events where parishioners joined together include: Penance services in Advent and Lent, quarterly priest rotation, joint confirmation celebration, Vacation Bible School, Racism discussion group, and Bible Study.


Sharon Myers

    Mission Support Director


I have met with staff responsible for each parish location, toured and reviewed their property and grounds, and coordinated Family Finance Team meetings.

As the Family Mission Support Director I am developing a proposal for allocating central costs to each Parish in the Family. I see a need for common tools and software. We will need to simplify our sharing of accounting data, and will be converting financial software to the Intacct database for all parishes in the family. I will be overseeing the standardization of accounting and finance systems, including but not limited to accounting software, parish offertory, and payroll processing. I oversee the parish budgets and the budget for the Family of Parishes that concerns shared expenses.

We are currently discerning the need for common information technology software, and are beginning to coordinate the work of the Parish Finance Councils and Family Finance Team, for which the Moderator (on behalf of all the Priests In Solidum of the Family) remains responsible.


Christine Ihlenfeldt

    Director of Discipleship Formation   

I am so very happy and excited to walk with all of you in your spiritual formation! So far I have met with the coordinators/volunteers from each parish, in order to determine what ministries were currently in progress and running smoothly at each parish. I also had team discussions to determine what religious education classes and Children’s Liturgy of the Word we would begin this fall. I helped coordinate the Confirmation mass on May 28th at Our Lady of La Salette for 8 students from OLLS and 3 students from Transfiguration. We are holding Vacation Bible School this summer from August 1 – 4 at Transfiguration.

I have participated in various workshops pertaining to ministry support to our parishes – as well as a monthly training meeting for all Directors within the AOD. I am researching other areas of faith formation ministries (workshops, speakers, bible studies) to strengthen Adult Faith Formation within our family.

I participated with our clergy and other Directors in our Missionary Strategic Planning meetings, led by a representative from the AOD. These meetings were designed to help us discern some initiatives for our Family of Parishes. I look forward to implementing these initiatives with you.

Deacon Dan Darga

     Director of Worship and Engagement

I have assisted at the weekend Masses and have scheduled the deacons at each of the churches in our Family of Parishes. Our parishes all have a particular style of worship and I have become familiar with the unique ways we pray together at Sunday Mass. During the coming year, I’ll gather our liturgical ministers to reflect on their particular roles during the celebration of Holy Mass, and help them grow in their ministries, using Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Letter, Desiderio Desideravi.

I planned and coordinated the Mass of Commissioning for our priests in solidum, celebrated in March at the Ferndale campus of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish (St. James Church). The Mass was a special way for us to come together as a Family Sent on Mission.

The Church of the Transfiguration and Our Lady of La Salette Parish celebrated the sacrament of Confirmation together at the end of May. I planned the liturgy for Bishop Cepeda. We look forward to another celebration of the sacrament in the Spring of 2023.

The Church has embarked on a Eucharistic revival for the next three years. I will assist this effort as we focus on renewing our belief in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We will find ways to celebrate this great gift together.

I am working with the archdiocese to find ways that all our parishes can use digital technology to Unleash the Gospel. We must take advantage of all the methods at our disposal to reach out to our parishioners and those outside our communities. I began this by offering online registration for our summer Vacation Bible School. We can offer registration for any of our events and classes online. Our Family of Parishes website is online at www.gotomatthew28.com. I established this site as a convenient place for our parishes to share the ways they worship, educate and serve all God’s people. Our online calendar is at www.calendarwiz.com/fsom.

I was a member of the group that worked together for the last few months to develop our missionary strategic plan. I am also part of the family leadership team.




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.


Fr. Jeff Scheeler

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.


Fr. Jonikas

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.


Family Sent on Mission - Our Parishes

Church of the Transfiguration Parish, Southfield

Click here to visit Transfiguration's website

Divine Providence Parish, Southfield

Click here to view Divine Providence's website

Our Lady of La Salette Parish, Berkley

Click here to view La Salette's website

Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish, Oak Park


Click here for Interactive Map


For more information on frequently asked questions, what Family of Parishes means and will impact Our Mother of Perpetual Help please visit https://www.aod.org/families-of-parishes