Monroe-area young adults bring party bus to Detroit for 'Church Crawl' experience

Participants in the Monroe Vicariate Evangelization Committee's “Church Crawl” pose for a group photo in front of the altar at historic Ste. Anne de Detroit Parish. The group's unique spin on the “pub crawl” idea attracted young adults from across the vicariate and beyond. (Photos courtesy of Joe Boggs)

DETROIT — A party bus, 21 young adults, a night out in Detroit, and a church tour?

No, it's not an alternate universe. It's what actually happened a few weekends ago when a large group from Monroe County descended upon the Motor City for food, fun, and lessons about the history of Detroit’s faith community.

The “Church Crawl,” coined and organized by the Monroe Vicariate Evangelization Committee (MVEC), began at St. Charles Borremeo Parish in Newport, where the group piled into a large party bus provided by a donor and departed for Detroit. 

Participants included parishioners from St. Joseph in Erie, St. Mary and St. John in Monroe, St. Charles in Newport, Divine Grace in Carleton, St. Mary in Rockwood, St. Roch in Flat Rock and even members of some Protestant denominations.

Most Holy Trinity Church in Corktown, a historically Irish parish founded in 1834, was the first stop. Together, “Church Crawl” members filled up three pews at the 4:30 p.m. Saturday vigil Mass. Following Mass, the tour group was provided 15 minutes to explore the awe-inspiring church. The group was particularly impressed by Most Holy Trinity’s magnificent organ and stately colonnade.  

The next stop was nearby Ste. Anne de Detroit. The group was greeted at the front doors by a tour guide for the parish, founded in 1701. She captivated her visitors by telling of Ste. Anne’s long and tumultuous history in Detroit, pointing out unique features of the church’s spectacular neo-Gothic architecture, and sharing stories and anecdotes associated with the historic parish. 

The highlight of the tour was praying for the intercession of Jesus’ grandmother, Ste. Anne, whose relic is on display in the church, and visiting the tomb of Fr. Gabriel Richard, arguably the most important figure in Detroit’s long and illustrious history.

Following the tour, the Church Crawl headed to Corktown, where participants split off to enjoy dinner and beverages at many of its award-winning restaurants. Some went to Slow’s Bar BQ to feast on their world-renowned beef brisket, chicken and pork. Others in the group headed to Mercury Bar for classic burgers and adult milkshakes. Another contingent went to Grandma Bob’s, a new pizza joint that serves up distinctive pies.

The group returned to St. Charles around 10:30 p.m. Rose Tibai, a 19-year-old graphic design student and a parishioner at Divine Grace, said, “Overall, it was a lovely experience with an amazing group of people.”

Plans are under way for the next Church Crawl during the Advent season.

Joe Boggs is co-chairman of the Monroe Vicariate Evangelization and Catechesis Committee. Contact him at [email protected]