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“We Are Blessed to Be Part of God’s Plan!”
First family mission program held in Detroit area.

missionary kids jumping
Pumped up for the mission! (Photo courtesy of Marek Dziekonski.)

By Kelly Luttinen

Pontiac, Michigan - During the holiest days of the year, Regnum Christi families in the Detroit area were blessed to be part of the first ever RC Family Mission program in the area. 

Kim DiSalle, organizer of the mission program with her husband Tony, said, “God gave us unexpected encounters with Him through others, and others encountered Him through us.” 

Ninety-two adults and young people participated in the mission, which took place in conjunction with Holy Week activities at St. Damien of Molokai parish in Pontiac, Michigan.  The parish includes three church locations, St. Michael’s, St. Vincent de Paul and St. Joseph Shrine, whose congregations were recently merged under one pastor. 

Missionaries helped pastor reach his community

“The priest there wanted our support in reaching out to the neighborhoods served by the parish,” said Kim.  Mission participants visited two neighborhoods, Clintonvilla in Waterford, MI, and College Heights in Auburn
living Stations of the Cross
The living Stations of the Cross at St Damien of Molokai parish. (Photo courtesy of Marek Dziekonski.)
Hills, MI, to invite residents to attend the Holy Week services at the parish.

The mission began with a Commissioning Mass on Wednesday, March 31, at the Boys’ School Chapel at Everest Academy in Clarkston, Michigan, and ended with a closing Mass on Easter Sunday in the same chapel.  Both Masses were celebrated by Fr. Jose Rivas LC, Everest chaplain. 

Some of the highlights of the mission program included two of the missionary families bringing in farm animals to the Clintonvilla neighborhood park for the area children to enjoy.  That same day, neighborhood and missionary children participated in a Station of the Cross devotion, and later that day, the missionaries attended the Mass of the Last Supper at the St. Michael location in Pontiac.

Experience is memorable for family

On Good Friday, missionary families joined the St. Damien congregation to witness the traditional Living Stations of the Cross event put on by the
missionaries doing stations of the cross
The first family mission in Detroit gave the participants a chance to live the holy mysteries more intensely. (Photo courtesy of Marek Dziekonski.)
parish.  Young parishioners act out the stations while walking through the neighborhood of the St. Vincent de Paul cathedral site of St. Damien’s parish.  For the Fenske family missionaries, the experience was very memorable.

Elliot Fenske, age 12, said the experience affected him body and soul. "I thought doing the Live Stations of the Cross was cool because not only was it spiritual, but it was a physical workout which gave us a small taste of the true Way of The Cross!"

His 10 year old brother Simon said, "I liked it when people came from their homes to join us!”

Mom Kristi Fenske said that participating in the live stations was the highlight of the mission for her.  “It was a powerful experience to give witness to our faith in such a blatant and public manner.  I was inspired by the reverence shown by the Hispanic community, young and old.  You could
children in Via Crucis
The children participated in their own Via Crucis on Thursday.
´feel´ the love they have for our Lord.”

St. Damien parish has a large portion of Spanish speaking parishioners and its services are celebrated in both English and Spanish. 

Mission organizers have big dreams

Looking at the future, Kim said she is hoping to organize single day family missions in the Detroit area at a few more parishes during Advent to get people prepared for the next Holy Week Missions. “This way, they will know what to expect, and God willing will invite us wholeheartedly to serve their parish next year.

“We can hope and dream to one day to fill the Palace (of Auburn Hills – Home of the Detroit Pistons basketball team) with family missionaries for opening and closing Easter Mass, but it is up to Him as to when and how it will happen.  Most likely He has a bigger dream up His sleeve.”

For more information about missions in Detroit, contact Tony and Kim DiSalle at



Related links

Helping Hands Medical Missions
St Rafael Guizar y Valencia Missionary Center

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