Inspired by a dream and prompted by ambition, the dedication of St. Rafka Maronite Catholic Church in Livonia, MI has been a decade in the making. On Sunday, April 6, Bishop Elias Zaidan presided over the liturgy of dedication, which formally opened the doors of a newly purchased church on Lyndon Street.
On April 5, in order to celebrate the dedication and raise money to maintain daily church expenses, the tight-knit parish hosted a formal banquet at St. Mary Cultural Center in Livonia.
Impelled by the theme, “One faith, one family, one future,” the west-side parishioners were proud to finally have a church to call home.
“We wanted a place where there is no room for the few that separate us in our homeland. We want to have a place our kids can call their own,” said Shaheen BouMaroun, one of the coordinators of the banquet.
Close to 400 spiritual and financial supporters celebrated this milestone in the Metro Detroit Maronite community. The rite for the dedication of a church and altar is considered among the most solemn liturgical services.
Father Tony Massad called the historic day, “the result of determined dedication.”
“It is through your encouragement, criticism, support, and most importantly love that I have been blessed to come to this point,” Father Massad told the eager crowd of parishioners. “This new stage is a step, a big step, but it is only a step on the journey we hope to take.”
The journey began on October 4, 2004, when a group of ten people created a small chapel in the basement of Madonna University in Livonia. When the church began to expand, the parishioners moved into a temporary home at St. Maurice Catholic Church. After closing its doors in 2013, the St. Rafka Maronite Mission saw an opportunity to purchase the building and property.
“When we needed to come up with a down payment, over 90 families reached deep into their pockets and within a couple of months, we came up with over $250,000,” BouMaroun recalls.
Since the bishop has been entrusted with the care of the church, it is his responsibility to dedicate new churches built in his diocese.
“You have done it, the people of St. Rafka. Thank you for giving me the joy of dedicating your church. Now you have a home,” he exclaimed.
With resilience and dedication, the dream of St. Rafka finally became a reality.
“We all put our Christianity first,” BouMaroun said. “We now have it all. We are the family of St. Rafka.”