K. St. Helena Roman Catholic Church, Forest 753
This 200 family parish is preparing to celebrate its 80th anniversary in June 2005. Past and current members, and many friends, have come together to repair damage due to old age and a roof that was too heavy for the structure.
Renovations began with cleaning out a storage room that is now a hospitality center where churchgoers gather. The floor was sanded and coated with polyurethane. Walls were patched and painted. Mark Przygocki, spearheaded the cleanup.
Renovations so far have included electrical work, a restroom updated to be handicap accessible, and repairing of cracked walls in the religious education classrooms and stairwells. The confessionals are being updated and moved to allow space for a new stained glass window.
When St. Helenas was established in 1925, the school was built first, with plans to build a church later. However, after the war, returning soldiers moved away from the neighborhood. Combined with space limitations, resulted in plans for a separate church being scrapped.
Before St. Helena was built, young people walked nearly two miles to attend school at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the west side. Parents concerned about kids crossing the railroad tracks, approached the Detroit Diocese to have a school built on the east side. The school was approved, but as part of a new parish, St. Helenas.