Autobiography of Donald Archambault
Fr. Donald Archambault was born a twin and sixth of seven children to his parents, Paul and Yvonne Archambault, who met in Detroit in 1926 after they had emigrated from Canada. He attended St. Rita School in Detroit and was busy with sports, paper routes and school activities. He decided to enter Sacred Heart Seminary as a day student in the eleventh grade of high school.During his last years of college in the middle 60's, Fr. Don was very involved in the city and worked in day camps for youth in mostly African American sections of Detroit. After receiving a BA (English major), he attended St. John's Major Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan. He continued to work in the day camps in the city and decided to live with an African American family in Detroit in the summer of 1967. It was the summer of the riot (rebellion) in Detroit. There he learned first hand the pain and suffering of racism.
After concurrently gaining a Masters of Divinity from St. John's Seminary and a Masters of Arts from University of Detroit, he was ordained a priest and begin his first assignment as an associate pastor at St. Bede Parish in Southfield (1 year) followed by Ascension Parish (3 1/2 years). Cardinal Dearden then appointed him to be Vocations Director for the Archdiocese (5 years). While working in vocations, he was asked to be a part time spiritual director at the seminary. To get a better background for the work, he was allowed to obtain a Masters in Christian Spirituality a Creighton University.
In 1981 he became a pastor of an entirely Black city parish, Presentation/Our Lady of Victory in Northwest Detroit. He was the only white person on the staff and they the people were very patient and loving to him as he learned the challenges and delight of being a pastor in the city. Two years later Cardinal Szoka assigned him to the Formation Team at St. John's Seminary, While at St. Johns, he did part time volunteer work as a chaplain to prisoners.
In 1988 Fr. Archambault was named pastor at St. Gerard in Northwest Detroit. Early in his time at St. Gerard Fr. Archambault saw the need to repair boarded up houses and sell them to first time homebuyers. He and Mr. James Pack co-founded New Hope Non Profit Housing and Community Development Corporation. He was active on the Board of New Hope for seven years and then left to help found the Northwest Detroit Youth Coalition, a non-profit which offers opportunities for growth for the youth of the community.
For the last six years he has been pastor of multiple parishes along the Eight Mile corridor in Northwest Detroit. Last year Fr. Archambault led the effort to creatively merge Immaculate Heart of Mary and St. Gerard Churches to form a new community called Corpus Christi Church.