Detroit Catholic Churches: St. Aloysius

St. Aloysius Church Detroit

As we were driving┬áto Comerica Park, I could have sworn that I saw a church. When I later began working in downtown Detroit, I’d learn that what I’d seen in a blur was St. Aloysius, pressed between other buildings on the block at Washington and State.

St. Al’s website has a fairly extensive history of the church, some of which I’ll quote here. Given it’s location downtown, St. Aloysius is one of a couple of churches near the city center that’s well-situated for a lunch-hour mass or prayer for those who work nearby.

Aside from the beauty of the building itself, St. Aloysius features a diverse and close community. The parish is also very active in helping those who are in need, so if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities to help Detroit’s needy, St. Aloysius is a good place to start.

About St. Aloysius

While St. Aloysius was originally built as a Presbyterian church. Catholic services began in 1873. The church’s website describes the context of St. Al’s early history this way:

The bells of the old church rang out as the First Michigan Regiment marched to the South in answer to the call of the immortal Lincoln. It stood guard on Washington Avenue before the first street railway was build in Detroit, before the first public library opened its doors, and even before the first Telephone was installed in the city.


After nearly 70 years, the old church structure was removed to make way for the church that you see today.

There’s one feature in particular that sets this church apart from others in the city and even the nation – the well. St. Aloysius has three levels. There’s an upper gallery, a street level and a “well.” The website explains the origin of the well:

The original idea for the innovation in St. Aloysius interior came from the great Cathedral of Milan, Italy, the third largest and one of the most beautiful in the world. In the center of that edifice, close to the altar rail, is an opening in the floor, circular in effect and probably a score of feet in diameter. Around the rail is one step where pilgrims can kneel.

St. Aloysius Church Detroit

St. Aloysius is certainly a unique church, and a mass with Fr. Loren is time well spent. So here are the details:

St. Aloysius mass times and location:


Weekdays – 12:15 pm
Saturday – 4:00 pm
Sunday – 11:30 am


Friday – 11:30 pm-12:00 pm
Saturday – 3:15 pm – 3:45 pm

Volunteering and support

This parish is very active in reaching out to help the community around them. St. Aloysius Neighborhood Services aid the hungry, the homeless and the poor every day in downtown Detroit. Click here to see ways that you can support the church, or visit the volunteer page to find volunteering opportunities.


Featured image: “St Aloysius Parish Interior” by Brian Wolfe

Sanctuary Image: “IMG_8520″ by Liza Lagman Sperl


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