Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fire at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary - Thursday Night

Source: Joe Kohn The Michigan Catholic
Archbishop Allen Vigneron (second from left) surveys the damage with (from left) dean of studies Fr. Todd Lajiness, the archbishop’s secretary Msgr. John Kasza, and director of undergraduate seminarians Fr. Mark Hamilton

One thing Archbishop Vigneron did not need in this economic downturn is a fire at his seminary.

From the Michigan Catholic:

Detroit -- A fire Thursday night, Feb. 12, burned a hole in the ceiling of the main chapel at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, also causing damage to several pews, the floor, and smoke damage to other pews and the chapel walls.

Seminary rector Msgr. Jeffrey Monforton on Friday morning said the fire apparently was electrical and caused by a light fixture. An assessment of the damage was being conducted, he said, and repairing the damage "is going to entail serious costs."

The hole in the ceiling doesn't expose the chapel to daylight -- the roof is intact above the ceiling -- but pieces from the ceiling fell onto some pews, burning them, and damaged the original floor of the chapel, which was built in the 1920's.

On Friday morning, as Archbishop Allen Vigneron was talking with seminary staff and surveying the damage, the chapel's tabernacle had been emptied and the hymnals were stacked near a side altar.

As bad as the damage was, Msgr. Monforton said it could have been much worse. Seminarians were in the chapel at the time of the fire for Eucharistic Adoration. No smoke or fire detectors went off when the fire started shortly before midnight, but the seminarians and staff were quick to notice and respond.

"I give all credit to Divine Providence that we had men in the chapel at that time," said Msgr. Monforton.

"The fire alarm last evening was human, not mechanical," he added. "It's a great disappointment, yet at the same time I'm very proud of the men and how they responded."

Continue reading about the Fire at SHMS in the Michigan Catholic (there are many more photos in this link)

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