Fraternite Notre Dame Establishes a New Location
Tom McConnon was invited to attend opening ceremonies on Oct 5 of Fraternite Notre Dame's newly retrieved church in Detroit by Bishop Jean Marie Kozik, founder of Fraternitie Notre Dame. Fraternite, in addition to opening the church also opened a new food pantry
        Tom's Letter & photos inside.

Thomas McConnon Visits Fraternite Notre Dame in Detroit
Here's His Letter to Us, Sharing the Occasion

Dear Fellow New York Rotarians

It was really inspiring to visit one of our former RCNY members, Bishop Jean Marie Kozik. He was a frequent attendee at our meetings when he was able to visit New York much more often then he can now.

The Bishop as many of you know, is the founder of the French Catholic religious order Fraternitie Notre Dame. Our club has partnered with them for more than twenty years in feeding the hungry and running a Christmas toy drive. They run a Soup Kitchen on 1st Avenue and East 117th Street in Harlem and have other missions in several of the most destitute and forgotten neighborhoods in the United States including Chicago, Wisconsin, and California, as well as Haiti, Mongolia,and Niger.

The Bishop invited me to attend last weekend’s opening ceremonies of their newly retrieved church and food pantry in Detroit, Michigan. I was honored to attend the first Mass to be held at the New Holy Name Of Jesus Church on Van Dyke Ave in Detroit.

This Catholic Church and school that were built in 1950, were shut down more than 20 years ago. Last year, this once-vibrant church and elementary school that was thriving and beloved in the neighborhood was falling apart and seriously vandalized, as still is the surrounding neighborhood. Last year FND purchased the property with the help of a few very generous benefactors.

There is also a three-story school, convent, and rectory which they plan to restore this year. In just one year, the clergy of FND transformed this dilapidated Church back to life. To me, it was brought back even more beautifully than it's former beauty of the 1990’s.

On Saturday Oct. 10th, Bishop Jean Marie officiated the High Mass in Latin, and during the homily his stated message was that “without faith and prayer no community can prosper"... and “with faith and prayer everyone is prosperous".

It was about two decades ago that FND built the Soup Kitchen on 1st Ave in Harlem that also provides spiritual and physical nourishment to our beloved city. The Bishop founded the Harlem mission when our beloved city was also going through its most difficult days.

FND is now providing the same nourishment to the blighted neighborhood in Detroit. I can only call it a “Miracle on Van Dyke Street”. This Church is unquestionably now the most beautiful and remarkable centerpiece of the community for miles around. It symbolizes a breath of fresh air to one of the most blighted and forgotten neighborhoods in our great country. The Church is now one of the most beautiful and inspirational I have ever attended. The High Mass on Saturday was “Standing Room Only” yet Bishop Jean Marie insisted on personally administering communion to all of the hundreds of the faithful, even though there were several priests available to help out.

 Visit Fraternite Notre Dame - click

Photos from Detroit


Some Appropriate Information about Detroit
According to Wiki in 2017, there were 267 murders in Detroit down from 303 in 2016. The violent crime rate of 2,057 per 100,000. Both statistics are roughly 12 times the nation average, exceeding every country in the world including Venezuela and Iraq. Only El Salvador has a higher per capita murder rate. In recent years some neighborhoods in the downtown area of Detroit have seen a significant decline in crime, while the crime rate remains very high in most of the city and has a significant impact on daily life especially in the Van Dyke area.

Typical conditions near the Church
Fraternite's Newsletter Story on the Event