Warren Purcell works daily at sawing fallen tree branches, shaping the evergreen trees, and more, at Saint Claude Chapel on Beaconsfield, north of Fourteen Mile Road in Clinton Township.
He was "buzzing" away at the branches to pile at his "FREE Fire Wood" sign when I stopped by to greet the 82-year-old parishioners who stewards well the multi-acre pastoral property that belongs to the Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit's Archbishop. Landlords from a distance, however, don't seem to keep an eye on precious, God-given land, like the investment of local residents.
Numerous people like Mr. Purcel manage to give weekly offerings to the upkeep of the aging buildings and sprawling wooded-area that "makes me peaceful," Mr. Purcell admits.
After thanking him for his enduring care for Saint Claude's, one of the merged parishes, with more to come soon, the life he pours into this evergreen wooded-area makes this writer, at least, feel good when it seems that there is only bad news coming out of Catholic communities these days. Insufficient numbers of priests and fewer baptized babies works against what were vigorous churches half a century ago. My parents were among those who made parishes thrive while so much implodes these days.
One person at a time is how Jesus seemed to care for his flock. And, it will take others, like Mr. Purcell, to keep an eye on elderly or abandoned edifices as he ages well chopping wood and trimming trees these days as snow holds off.
Thanks be to God. Sto lat! (Polish for "one hundred years," may he live).