ST. STEPHEN'S PARISH HISTORY
NEW BOSTON, MICHIGAN
In 1874, about twenty persons organized and attended the first services of a Roman Catholic Church in New Boston, Michigan, at the home of Mr. Anthony Reiser, on what is now known as Sibley Road. Mass was celebrated by the Reverend Louis Florent Gillet, C.S.S.R., who traveled by horseback from Monroe, Michigan. To deal directly with the needs of the local families, a parish, under the patronage of St. Stephen, first deacon Christian martyr, was planned. While places of worship were contemplated, the faithful gathered on the upper floor of a red brick building at the corner of Huron River Drive and Craig Street. This building was used as a general store and was owned and operated by Mr. Steven Sims. Visiting priests from Dearborn, Michigan, came once a month to minister to the community.
On the corner of Craig and Evans Streets, a lot was purchased for $200.00. A small pink brick church, with seating capacity for 250, was erected. It was used for the first time on November 26, 1875, but was not consecrated until September 14, 1884. Reverend Edward J005 performed the ceremony of dedication. At that time, the parish was under the care of the Reverend Bernard G. Soffers of Monroe. In May, 1885, it was placed in the charge of Father Stephens and other monks from the St. Bonaventure Monastery of the Capuchin order in Detroit, Michigan.
In October 1888, Reverend John Lovett was assigned to New Boston and lived on Evans Street. He left within the year, and for the next eleven years, the parish continued as a mission of Sacred Heart, Dearborn, Michigan. The Reverend John Marker came on the third Sunday of every month. After this, New Boston became a mission of St. Joseph's, Whittaker, in Washtenaw County, under the care of Reverend John Frances Needham. Father Needham was succeeded in 1909 by Reverend Lawrence Henry Soest, who left the parish in 1991. Then, Reverend Francis J. Hardy administered until January 1920. His successor was Reverend Charles Joseph Dillion, the last pastor from Whittaker parish, to take care of St. Stephen's
As last in 1920, St. Stephens s received its first resident priest, Pastor Reverend Alphonse Nowogrodzki. The parish was beginning to overflow and Father Nowogrodzki perceived the need for a new church and rectory. He then proceeded to purchase the present grounds at Huron River Drive and Sibley Road. The rectory was built in 1922.
On September 31, 1923, ground was broken for the new St. Stephen's. The parishioners willingly contributed their time with picks, shovels, horses, and sorely needed money. All this volunteer help aided in keeping down the church cost. Later, Father
Nowogrodzki became to ill too continue his pastorship. Reverend Peter Wyrzykowski assumed the pastorate, which was short-lived. He died suddenly in the rectory on December 18, 1946. Father Nowogrodzki died December 14, 1947.
On December 19, 1947, Reverend Edward Miotke succeeded Father Nowogrodzki. At the time, Father Miotke began the annual Third Sunday in August Festival. He placed booths behind the Church, purchasing the present woods and acreage behind the structure for this purpose. Earlier festivals had been held at various Huron Township locations.
In 1949, plans were drawn up for the parish school. on May 28, 1950, groundbreaking ceremonies took place. Father Miotke was then transferred to Detroit.
In June 1950, Father Ignatius Czapski was named new pastor. In October of 1951, the school doors, with four classrooms, were opened for 180 children. In 1957, Father Czapski with the help of a number of dedicated parishioners, had the Blessed Mother shrine built. on May 7, 1959, he suffered a heart attack and died. From June 12, 1959 until January 18, 1967, Reverend Ladislaus Golas, from St. Albertus in Detroit, became the fourth resident Pastor. The parish continued to grow and this had a bearing on the school enrollment. The four classroom school was quickly becoming inadequate.
After Father Golas's transfer, Father Alexander J. Wytrwal on January 18, 1967 an assistant priest from St. Albertus in Detroit, became Pastor. He was appointed pastor by John Cardinal Dearden, Archbishop of Detroit. He was installed as pastor of St. Stephen Church, New Boston, Michigan on January 20, 1967 by Msgr. Hebert F. Weier Dean of Wayne Western County Dearborn, Michigan, pastor of Divine Child and in the presence of Fr. Joseph Kernosek pastor of St. Aloysius, Romulus Michigan. Fr. Andrew Nieckarz Pastor of St. Simon and Jude, Westland Michigan, and also Fr. Albert Folta, Pastor of St. Anthony in Belleville, Michigan. He then leased two portable classrooms for temporary use by the school children. In 1968, on July 21, groundbreaking ceremonies took place on January 31, 1969, the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight grades moved into the new classrooms. The third and fourth grade classrooms occupying the portable schools were able to move back into the permanent structure, where all the children were housed under one roof once again.
The construction of the Parish Activity Center was completed in 1995