Archdiocese announces 51 ‘family of parishes’ groupings; half to begin in 2021 (MAP)

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron celebrates Mass at St. Joseph Parish in Erie on Oct. 19, 2019. Under the Archdiocese of Detroit's “families of parishes” plan, 216 parishes will join together in 51 “family” groupings, sharing ministries, resources and human talent while retaining their unique, individual parish identities. (James Silvestri | Special to Detroit Catholic)

Parishes gear up for collaboration with neighboring parishes, emphasizing Church’s joint mission to ‘make disciples of all nations’

DETROIT — It’s about sharing resources, but most of all, it’s about sharing Jesus.

The Archdiocese of Detroit’s 216 parishes will come together in 51 groupings called “families of parishes,” with about half of those groupings beginning to operate as families by July 2021.

The long-anticipated list of family groupings (found at the bottom of this article) was released Dec. 9, along with an expanded frequently asked questions document at

The release of the list comes on the heels of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s pastoral note, “Led by the Spirit on Mission,” which outlines the vision and theology of the ambitious renewal of the archdiocese, spurred in part by a shortage of priests and Synod 16’s call to reimagine the structures of the local Church to support its evangelical mission.

In the vast majority of groupings, parishes will join families consisting of neighboring, contiguous parishes — often within vicariate boundaries — in order to effectively collaborate and share resources.

The groupings were developed after extensive discussion and consultation among the pastors of each family, along with their regional bishops and vicars, said Deacon Michael Houghton, director of missionary strategic planning for the archdiocese.

“This (list) was not something that came down from the curia or the (archdiocese),” Deacon Houghton told Detroit Catholic. “The priests were asked to work with their vicars to determine what made the most sense for their families, given a couple of parameters.”

Those parameters included the need for families to be contiguous — that is, each parish in the family should border at least one other parish — and that families should be roughly three to six parishes, Deacon Houghton said.

“In many cases, the pastors tried to find themselves in a family with parishes of similar spiritualities, similar socio-economic backgrounds, but that wasn’t a criteria that we gave them,” Deacon Houghton said. “We left all of that discussion to the priests, the vicars and the regional bishops.”

The new groupings will not be named, per se, so as to keep the identities of each individual parish intact. For instance, the family that includes the Sterling Heights parishes of Our Lady of Czestochowa, SS. Cyril and Methodius, St. Jane Frances de Chantal and St. Rene Goupil is referred to simply as “Central Macomb Family 2.”

Fr. Mark Prill, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Erie, smiles during a Mass in October 2019. Pastors of each parish were involved in the formulation of the “families of parishes” groupings, along with vicars and regional bishops. (James Silvestri | Special to Detroit Catholic)

The emphasis on contiguous boundaries was to ensure parishes can easily work together and efficiently share resources, Deacon Houghton said, but some exceptions were made.

For example, Detroit’s Assumption Grotto Parish and St. Joseph Shrine, which both emphasize the traditional Latin Mass, are grouped together in “Renaissance Family 3,” despite having other parishes between them geographically. Similarly, the archdiocese’s two Albanian parishes, Our Lady of Albanians in Southfield and St. Paul Albanian in Rochester Hills, also are grouped together.

Each of the groupings was created with the idea in mind that the closer collaboration would result in parishes that are more dynamically positioned for ministry, Deacon Houghton said.

“We’re doing this so we can be a more missionary diocese, and we’ve got to keep that focus,” he said. “It really is the most important reason for what we’re doing.”

A few parish families ended up with more than six parishes, particularly in cases where parishes were small enough that collaboration wouldn’t present a big challenge, Deacon Houghton said. An example would be “Trinity Family 2,” which includes seven parishes on Detroit’s west side. In other cases, parishes chose to keep their grouping at three, such as with “South Oakland Family 7,” which includes the three large parishes of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, St. Andrew Kim in Northville and St. Fabian in Farmington Hills.

Priests and parishioners chat after Mass in 2019 at St. Aloysius Parish in Detroit. St. Aloysius will join with the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of the Rosary and Old St. Mary’s Parish in Detroit as a “family of parishes” starting in July 2021. (Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic)

Twenty-seven of the 51 parish families will begin operating together in Wave 1, which will take place by July 2021, Deacon Houghton said. The other 24 parish families will start in July 2022.

Many of the families involved in Wave 1 volunteered for the assignment, Deacon Houghton said.

“We really want to be successful as we do this. If we have parishes raising their hands and saying, ‘I’m ready to go. I want to do this,’ then it makes sense to put them in Wave 1,” Deacon Houghton said. “Let’s get some wins under our belts, so to speak, so we can move forward with this effectively.”

Other situations will take time to sort out, such as with parishes that have operating agreements with religious orders that will need to be taken into consideration.

“In some cases, these parishes actually have written agreements that need to be discussed and rewritten, and we have to honor that,” Deacon Houghton said. “We obviously want to respect the spirituality of the religious order priests; we want to work that successfully into the family, and not take anything away from them. And that may take some time to work out the details.”

As Wave 1 families look to begin planning for a July 2021 launch, the archdiocese will work to finalize clergy reassignments for the spring — the time of year when new priest appointments are typically made, Deacon Houghton said, adding there are no plans for wholesale clergy reassignments across the archdiocese.

Canon Michael Stein, ICKSP, rector and pastor of St. Joseph Shrine in Detroit, holds a relic of St. Joseph for veneration during the feast of St. Joseph in March 2019. Some parishes, such as St. Joseph, have care agreements with religious orders that were taken into consideration in determining inter-parish collaboration. (Naomi Vrazo | Detroit Catholic) 

“There probably won’t be a lot (of new assignments), but there will be some,” Deacon Houghton said. “So we need to make sure we’re not making any long-term decisions for any families before the clergy are in place.”

Once those assignments are final, the first step for Wave 1 families will be getting to know one another, with clergy meeting regularly to determine how they’ll collaborate moving forward.

“Come March or early April, we hope to know all of the clergy for all of the Wave 1 families. We’ll then have a retreat for those clergy to come together to get to know one another, and to begin work on something we call the ‘family priests covenant,’” Deacon Houghton said.

The “covenant” will be an agreement among the priests in the family — written or verbal — about how they’ll serve, eat and pray together, Deacon Houghton said.

“We’re not requiring them to live in the same household, but they’re certainly encouraged to do so if they’d like to do that. At a minimum, they should get together regularly to share a meal, to pray with one another,” he said.

The covenant also could include priest “exchange” opportunities, in which the pastor or associate pastor of one parish celebrates Mass or preaches homilies at another parish in the family as a way to introduce himself and get to know the faithful.

Parishioners listen to a homily at St. Roch Parish in Flat Rock, which will join with five other Downriver parishes starting in July 2021. As part of the “family of parishes” arrangement, priests could offer homilies or celebrate Mass at multiple parishes within the family to introduce themselves to the faithful. (Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic)

Along with the list of parish families, the Office of Missionary Strategic Planning also released a families of parishes “playbook” that includes a summary of the roles and responsibilities for the clergy and lay leaders of each parish. The playbook is largely a summary of the decisions made by Archbishop Vigneron’s three parish family advisory councils, which focused on governance, “mission direct” and “mission support” roles.

Another early task for the priests of each family will be to decide between two governance models: the in solidum approach, in which the pastors of each parish operate as equals, with one pastor being designated as the “moderator” of the family; and the “one pastor” model, in which a single pastor oversees each parish in the family, with help from associate pastors and deacons.

Under the in solidum model, the moderator pastor is responsible for setting a common vision for sharing ministries within the family, coordinating sacramental and liturgical schedules, overseeing financial matters and working with parish consultative groups. The moderator reports directly to the archbishop on behalf of the parish family, and represent the family in official and legal matters.

Both models will free the priests in the family to more exclusively focus on pastoral responsibilities, a major goal of the transition, Deacon Houghton said.

“It’s really important to understand that we’re doing this to be more missionary,” Deacon Houghton said. “It is very true and very real that we have a priest shortage, and it is affecting the way we do ministry. The reason for the change is to allow us to be more missionary despite the priest shortage, despite the challenges we face.”

Fr. Derik Peterman receives a chalice from Archbishop Vigneron during his ordination Mass in June 2019. Associate pastors and newly ordained priests will serve the entire parish family to which they’re assigned under the “families of parishes” model, but may be given a pastor “mentor” to help guide them in their vocation. (James Silvestri | Special to Detroit Catholic)

Associate pastors and deacons will be assigned to minister to the entire parish family, although associate pastors could also be assigned a pastor “mentor” under the in solidum model.

In addition, the creation of a number of new lay ecclesial roles and positions will benefit the entire family. For instance, a new “director of mission support,” will oversee non-ministry positions for each family, and lay directors could be appointed to oversee mission areas such as discipleship formation, engagement, evangelical charity, family ministries and worship.

Each parish family will also have a “Family Pastoral Council,” which will include two parishioners from each parish along with all of the clergy of the family, and a “Family Leadership Team” appointed by the pastor or moderator.

Additional changes will impact the way parish finances, schools, consultative bodies and staffing interact within the entire family of parishes.

At the end of the day, all the changes are designed to facilitate a greater focus on the reason parishes exist in the first place, Deacon Houghton said.

“It would be a mistake to think that we’re restructuring for restructuring’s sake. That’s not what we’re doing,” Deacon Houghton said. “We’ve got to find a way to continue proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and getting the message out no matter what obstacles we face, because that’s what the Holy Spirit asked us to do in Synod 16, that’s what we learned through Unleash the Gospel, and that’s our main calling as disciples of Christ.”

Families of Parishes

To learn more about “families of parishes” in the Archdiocese of Detroit, or to view a list of frequently asked questions, visit

Central Region

Genesis Family 1 (Wave 2)

  • Mother of Divine Mercy, Detroit
  • Our Lady Queen of Apostles, Hamtramck
  • St. Florian, Hamtramck
  • St. Hyacinth, Detroit
  • St. John Paul II, Detroit

Genesis Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • Our Lady Queen of Heaven-Good Shepherd, Detroit
  • St. Jude, Detroit
  • St. Raymond-Our Lady of Good Counsel, Detroit

Renaissance Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit
  • Our Lady of the Rosary, Detroit
  • St. Aloysius, Detroit
  • Old St. Mary’s (Greektown), Detroit

Renaissance Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • Nativity of Our Lord, Detroit
  • Sacred Heart, Detroit
  • St. Augustine and St. Monica, Detroit
  • St. Charles Borromeo, Detroit
  • St. Elizabeth, Detroit

Renaissance Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto), Detroit
  • Holy Family, Detroit
  • St. Joseph Shrine, Detroit

Southwest Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Holy Cross (Hungarian), Detroit
  • Holy Redeemer, Detroit
  • Most Holy Trinity, Detroit
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe, Detroit
  • Basilica of Ste. Anne, Detroit
  • St. Francis D’Assisi-St. Hedwig, Detroit
  • St. Gabriel, Detroit

Trinity Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Corpus Christi, Detroit
  • Presentation-Our Lady of Victory, Detroit
  • SS. Peter and Paul (Westside), Detroit
  • St. Juan Diego, Detroit
  • St. Mary of Redford, Detroit
  • St. Scholastica, Detroit

Trinity Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Christ the King, Detroit
  • Gesu, Detroit
  • SS. Peter and Paul (Jesuit), Detroit
  • St. Charles Lwanga, Detroit
  • St. Moses the Black, Detroit
  • St. Peter Claver, Detroit
  • St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven, Detroit

Northeast Region

Blue Water Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Holy Family, Memphis
  • St. Augustine, Richmond
  • St. Mary Mystical Rose, Armada

Blue Water Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • Immaculate Conception, Ira Township
  • Our Lady on the River, Marine City
  • St. Mary, St. Clair
  • St. Mary Queen of Creation, New Baltimore

Blue Water Family 3 (Wave 1)

  • Holy Trinity, Port Huron
  • St. Christopher, Marysville
  • St. Edward on the Lake, Lakeport
  • St. Mary, Port Huron

Central Macomb Family 1 (Wave 2)

  • San Francesco, Clinton Township
  • St. Hubert, Harrison Township
  • St. Louis, Clinton Township
  • St. Peter, Mount Clemens

Central Macomb Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Czestochowa, Sterling Heights
  • SS. Cyril and Methodius (Slovak), Sterling Heights
  • St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Sterling Heights
  • St. Rene Goupil, Sterling Heights

Central Macomb Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Grace (Vietnamese), Warren
  • St. Anne, Warren
  • St. Faustina, Warren
  • St. Louise de Marillac, Warren
  • St. Mark, Warren
  • St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families, Warren

Central Macomb Family 4 (Wave 2)

  • St. Blase, Sterling Heights
  • St. Ephrem, Sterling Heights
  • St. Martin de Porres, Warren
  • St. Michael, Sterling Heights

Central Macomb Family 5 (Wave 1)

  • St. Malachy, Sterling Heights
  • St. Paul of Tarsus, Clinton Township
  • St. Ronald, Clinton Township
  • St. Thecla, Clinton Township

North Macomb Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • St. Kieran, Shelby Township
  • St. Lawrence, Utica
  • St. Matthias, Sterling Heights

North Macomb Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • St. Francis of Assisi-St. Maximilian Kolbe, Ray Township
  • St. Isidore, Macomb
  • St. Therese of Lisieux, Shelby Township

North Macomb Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • SS. John and Paul, Washington Township
  • St. Clement of Rome, Romeo
  • St. John Vianney, Shelby Township

SERF Family 1 (Wave 2)

  • Holy Innocents-St. Barnabas, Roseville
  • Our Lady of Hope, St. Clair Shores
  • St. Isaac Jogues, St. Clair Shores
  • St. Margaret of Scotland, St. Clair Shores
  • St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Roseville

SERF Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady Star of the Sea, Grosse Pointe Woods
  • St. Basil the Great, Eastpointe
  • St. Joan of Arc, St. Clair Shores
  • St. Lucy, St. Clair Shores
  • St. Veronica, Eastpointe

SERF Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • St. Ambrose, Grosse Pointe Park
  • St. Clare of Montefalco, Grosse Pointe Park
  • St. Matthew, Detroit
  • St. Paul on the Lake, Grosse Pointe Farms

Northwest Region

Lakes Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Our Lady of the Lakes, Waterford
  • St. Anne, Ortonville
  • St. Daniel, Clarkston
  • St. Rita, Holly

Lakes Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Church of the Holy Spirit, Highland
  • St. Mary, Our Lady of the Snows, Milford
  • St. Patrick, White Lake
  • St. Perpetua, Waterford

Lakes Family 3 (Wave 1)

  • Our Lady of Refuge, Orchard Lake
  • Prince of Peace, West Bloomfield
  • St. Benedict, Waterford

Pontiac Area Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • St. Andrew, Rochester
  • St. Irenaeus, Rochester Hills
  • St. Mary of the Hills, Rochester Hills

Pontiac Area Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Christ the Redeemer, Lake Orion
  • St. John Fisher Chapel University Parish, Auburn Hills
  • St. Joseph the Worker, Lake Orion

South Oakland Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Christ Our Light, Troy
  • Guardian Angels, Clawson
  • St. Anastasia, Troy
  • St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Troy
  • St. Lucy (Croatian), Troy

South Oakland Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Holy Name, Birmingham
  • Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Beverly Hills
  • St. Owen, Bloomfield Hills
  • St. Regis, Bloomfield Hills

South Oakland Family 3 (Wave 1)

  • St. Damien of Molokai, Pontiac
  • Sacred Heart, Auburn Hills
  • St. Hugo of the Hills, Bloomfield Hills
  • St. Thomas More, Troy

South Oakland Family 4 (Wave 1)

  • National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Royal Oak
  • St. Justin-St. Mary Magdalene, Hazel Park
  • St. Mary, Royal Oak
  • St. Vincent Ferrer, Madison Heights

South Oakland Family 5 (Wave 1)

  • Church of the Transfiguration, Southfield
  • Divine Providence (Lithuanian), Southfield
  • Our Lady of La Salette, Berkley
  • Our Mother of Perpetual Help, Oak Park

South Oakland Family 6 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Albanians, Southfield
  • St. Paul Albanian, Rochester Hills

South Oakland Family 7 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington
  • St. Andrew Kim (Korean), Northville
  • St. Fabian, Farmington Hills

Thumb Family 1 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Emmett
  • Sacred Heart, Yale
  • St. John the Evangelist, Allenton
  • St. Nicholas, Capac

Thumb Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • Immaculate Conception, Lapeer
  • Sacred Heart, Imlay City
  • St. Cornelius, Dryden

Thumb Family 3 (Wave 1)

  • SS. Peter and Paul, North Branch
  • Sacred Heart Mission, Brown City
  • St. Mary Burnside, North Branch
  • St. Patrick Chapel, Clifford

South Region

Downriver Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Our Lady of the Angels, Taylor
  • SS. Andrew and Benedict, Detroit
  • St. Alfred, Taylor
  • St. Andre Bessette, Ecorse
  • St. Constance, Taylor
  • St. Frances Cabrini, Allen Park
  • St. Mary Magdalen, Melvindale

Downriver Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • Christ the Good Shepherd, Lincoln Park
  • Our Lady of the Scapular, Wyandotte
  • St. Pius X, Southgate
  • St. Vincent Pallotti, Wyandotte

Downriver Family 3 (Wave 1)

  • St. Cyprian, Riverview
  • Our Lady of the Woods, Woodhaven
  • Sacred Heart, Grosse Ile
  • St. Joseph, Trenton
  • St. Roch, Flat Rock
  • St. Timothy, Trenton

Monroe Family 1 (Wave 2)

  • Divine Grace, Carleton
  • St. Gabriel, Ida
  • St. Mary, Our Lady of the Annunciation, Rockwood

Monroe Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • St. Anne, Monroe
  • St. Charles Borromeo, Newport
  • St. John the Baptist, Monroe
  • St. Mary, Monroe
  • St. Michael the Archangel, Monroe

Monroe Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Temperance
  • St. Anthony, Temperance
  • St. Joseph, Erie

Northwest Wayne Family 1 (Wave 2)

  • Church of the Holy Family, Novi
  • St. James, Novi
  • St. Joseph, South Lyon
  • St. William, Walled Lake

Northwest Wayne Family 2 (Wave 1)

  • Our Lady of Victory, Northville
  • St. Colette, Livonia
  • St. Edith, Livonia
  • St. Kenneth, Plymouth

Northwest Wayne Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Loretto, Redford
  • St. Aidan, Livonia
  • St. Genevieve-St. Maurice, Livonia
  • St. Gerald, Farmington
  • St. John XXIII, Redford
  • St. Michael the Archangel, Livonia
  • St. Priscilla, Livonia
  • St. Valentine, Redford

Northwest Wayne Family 4 (Wave 2)

  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth
  • Resurrection, Canton
  • St. John Neumann, Canton
  • St. Thomas a’Becket, Canton

West Wayne Family 1 (Wave 1)

  • Church of the Divine Child, Dearborn
  • Sacred Heart, Dearborn
  • St. Anselm, Dearborn Heights
  • St. Linus, Dearborn Heights
  • St. Sabina, Dearborn Heights

West Wayne Family 2 (Wave 2)

  • St. Aloysius, Romulus
  • St. Anthony, Belleville
  • St. Stephen, New Boston

West Wayne Family 3 (Wave 2)

  • St. Alphonsus-St. Clement, Dearborn
  • St. Barbara, Dearborn
  • St. Cunegunda, Detroit
  • St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Dearborn
  • St. Maria Goretti (St. Sebastian), Dearborn Heights

West Wayne Family 4 (Wave 1)

  • SS. Simon and Jude, Westland
  • St. Mary, Wayne
  • St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy, Westland
  • St. Richard, Westland
  • St. Thomas the Apostle, Garden City