Parish Road Trip: Cross in the Woods Shrine in Indian River, Michigan

This fall we were finally able to make it to the Cross in the Woods Shrine in Indian River. According to the official website, "The Cross in the Woods is one of Michigan's best known and most visited shrines". I had been there as a kid and was glad to finally take my kids to see it. The boys were pretty excited about the outside grounds which include statues and the large Crucifix. The girls loved the doll museum and walking through the outdoor Stations of the Cross. It was a great experience for our family and we were able to take some time to pray and enjoy learning about saints old and new (the boys new favorite is St. Peregrine!). Our youngest son enjoyed it so much, we had to go back and climb to the foot of Jesus on the Cross one more time before we left for the day.

Here are a couple of links to learn more about Cross in the Woods Shrine, the Official Website has loads of info and you can also read an article from when Cross in the Woods was Designated as a National Shrine.

Here are a few of my pictures of the Shrine...

With St. Therese in the Hall of Saints

With now St. Kateri!

Cross in the Woods

Mary and the kids (unfortunately looking into the sun, haha)

6th Station of the Cross - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

"The Man on the Cross" weighs seven tons and is twenty-eight feet tall from head to toe

With St. Francis

St. Francis

The boys new favorite saint, St. Peregrine

A happy girl with Our Lady of the Highway

The boys liked the Doll Museum...

...and so did someone else!

A few of the over 500 dolls in the museum

With a couple of the mannequins!

Climbing the Holy Stairs

Still climbing

At the top

Beneath the Cross

Thanks for joining me on another Parish Road Trip. If you get a chance, take a drive over to Indian River and stop by the shrine and learn more about the Catholic Faith and spend some time in a very peaceful setting. As a bonus they have a huge gift shop with all kinds of great gift ideas!

Parish Road Trip: St. Joseph Bohemian Settlement in Maple City, Michigan

I have to admit that visiting St. Joseph's wasn't much of a road trip. St. Joseph's Bohemian Settlement is located a few miles outside of Maple City, Michigan on County Road 669. It is a true country parish surrounded by farmland and currently there is a yak farm next door and a llama farm across the road. I've been able to attend Mass here a few times and this particular Mass had a special visitor, Bishop Hebda. My oldest son was one of the altar servers and he was both excited and nervous once he heard the news.

I was trying to find some info out about the history and found a link at with some information including the following...

St. Joseph's was constructed in 1884 by Bohemian settlers in Cleveland Township, Leelanau County and is significant as the only church associated with a Bohemian community known as the Bohemian Settlement. Additionally, it is one of only a few surviving Catholic mission churches associated with Father Ignatius Mrak, an early Catholic missionary. Finally, the church was and still is the only church building in the relatively unpopulated, rural township. St. Joseph served its Bohemian Catholic congregation until 1970 when the parish was merged with a neighboring one and regular services in this building discontinued.

Here's a few photos that, for the most part, turned out...

Mass on May 7th at 7:00 PM

St. Joseph's Catholic Church

Still looking good!

The Beautiful Altar

A closer look at the Altar

Mass with Bishop Hebda and Father Libby

View from the Balcony

After Mass

Historical Marker

Thanks for viewing! As a bonus picture one of the men who helps take care of St. Joseph's took the picture below after Mass of Bishop Hebda, Father Libby, and the altar servers (my son is in the front on the left). A special thank you to him for taking this picture!

Bishop Hebda, Father Libby, and the Altar Servers after Mass

Parish Road Trip: St. Bernard Catholic Parish in Alpena, Michigan

Here's a few pictures of the other Catholic Church we visited while in Alpena this spring, St. Bernard Catholic Parish. The Diocese of Gaylord website says...

Come visit our Gothic style Church, established as the first Catholic Parish in Alpena by Bishop Frederick Baraga. The current Church structure constructed in 1884 is newly renovated and provides a warm, welcoming atmosphere to worship. We invite you to join us.

People were praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament during my visit. That was great to see. I didn't want to disturb anyone, so I was only able to take a couple of pictures.

St. Bernard Catholic Parish in Alpena, Michigan

Registered Historic Site in Michigan

St. Bernard of Clairvaux

The Sanctuary

St. Patrick

Love the steps!

Thanks for viewing my photos. I hope to add more parishes from the Diocese of Gaylord as time and travel permits. I have some great old parishes to visit right in Leelanau County which will probably be next.

Parish Road Trip: St. Anne Catholic Parish in Alpena, Michigan

I don't consider myself a professional photographer by any means, but thought I would share a couple of photos of St. Anne Catholic Parish in Alpena, Michigan.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a quick two-night trip to the other side of the state for our spring break (one of the perks of homeschooling!). We enjoyed lots of pool time at the Holiday Inn Holidome. The kids loved that our room opened right to the pool area. We had the hotel to ourselves the entire time.

We also visited the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which was alot of fun. The kids loved walking on the life-size replica of a 19th-century schooner "Western Hope of Alpena".

I wanted to stop by and see a couple of the parishes and St. Anne was first on our list. I became Catholic as an adult and so I am fascinated by the history and tradition of the Catholic Church and especially love visiting and admiring the beauty of older parishes. I didn't take many pictures and it was dark so I only ended up with a couple of pictures. Click on the photos for larger versions!

The kids loved the Angels

We were greeted by Our Lady

Beautiful Window

12th Station of the Cross, Jesus Dies on the Cross

My attempt at a picture of the Choir Loft and Organ

St. Anne Catholic Parish

St. Anne Catholic Parish (no kids in front)

I wasn't able to get a good picture of the sanctuary and the altar, but maybe I'll make it there again sometime. I'll try to add other parishes in our Diocese as time and travel permits.