Landmark church in Bay City to become housing for low-income res - WNEM TV 5

Landmark church in Bay City to become housing for low-income residents

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

A landmark church in Bay City will become an answered prayer for those in need.

St. Joseph’s Church hasn’t been consistently used since 2014. Now a company is transforming it into the embodiment of helping thy neighbor.

The church is often referred to as the mother parish of the Saginaw Diocese.

“This church meant a lot and it goes back a long way,” said Dennis Litka, former parishioner.

In recent years, the church has seen little use and had to be closed off for safety concerns.

The diocese merged the parishes of St. Joseph and St. Jude Thaddeus in 2014. Ever since then St. Joseph has only been used for special occasions.

Litka said closing it hasn’t changed his commitment to his faith.

“Home means a lot to folks. Home church means a lot. But the gathering is what’s central,” he said.

The building will instead be renovated for low-income housing.

Father Dale Orlik, of St. Jude Thaddeus, said he gets the connection many have to their former parish.

“I understand it. It’s emotional for folks. I feel that myself,” Orlik said.

He said whenever a church building is sold the Catholic church has a tradition of removing all faith based items from the building.

“A church policy that you have to remove all the Catholic identity, all the religious objects. And since the bells were consecrated when the church was consecrated, you have to remove the bells,” Orlik said.

Despite the building’s new purpose, Litka said he is glad his home church is not being torn down.

“That’s one great thing about older facilities. If they’re put to some other good use,” Litka said.

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