Curia coworkers say goodbye to Bishop Battersby, give him Michigan mementos

Bishop Gerard W. Battersby chats with coworkers at the archdiocesan Chancery during a farewell gathering May 6 as the bishop prepares to depart for his new post at the 11th ordinary of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis. A lifelong Detroiter and a Detroit auxiliary bishop since 2017, Bishop Battersby will be installed in La Crosse on May 20. (Photos by Daniel Meloy | Detroit Catholic)

DETROIT — Bishop Gerard W. Battersby’s coworkers in the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Central Services don’t want the bishop to forget his Michigan roots.

As the former Detroit auxiliary bishop prepares to depart for his new post May 20 as the 11th bishop of La Crosse, Wis., members of the archdiocesan curia gathered May 6 to wish him well and say so long — but hopefully not goodbye.

Bishop Battersby, a Detroit auxiliary bishop since 2017, greeted dozens of coworkers at the downtown Detroit Chancery as Fr. Jeffrey Day, moderator of the curia, presented him with a gift basket filled with Michigan-made products, including Better Made potato chips, Faygo pop and two bottles of Vernors, urging him not to forget his Motor City bona fides.

“With his appointment as the 11th bishop of La Crosse, Bishop Battersby said, ‘While I may don the shades of yellow and green, Honolulu blue will always be my color.’” Fr. Day joked, referencing the rivalry between the Detroit Lions and Wisconsin’s Green Bay Packers. “We’re going to hold you to that, Bishop.”

The centerpiece of the gift basket, a gift card to the Polish Village Café in Hamtramck, came with “a catch,” Fr. Day added: “You have to come back here in order to use that.”

Fr. Jeffrey Day, moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Detroit, presents Bishop Battersby with a gift basket filled with Michigan-made products and mementos, a reminder of his roots as he departs for Wisconsin.
Fr. Jeffrey Day, moderator of the curia for the Archdiocese of Detroit, presents Bishop Battersby with a gift basket filled with Michigan-made products and mementos, a reminder of his roots as he departs for Wisconsin.

Curia staff expressed similar sentiments as they met with the bishop as Bishop Battersby pledged to visit his hometown often.

Over the past seven years, Bishop Battersby has served as a key leader in the Archdiocese of Detroit’s efforts to live out the graces of Synod 16, including serving as chairman of the archdiocese’s Unleash the Gospel Pastoral Council since 2020. As a close adviser to Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, Bishop Battersby led with “a particular emphasis on ensuring that our efforts are focused on the mission of Synod 16 and unleashing the Gospel,” Fr. Day said.

“You see that every time he speaks; all of his emphasis is on a personal encounter with Jesus,” Fr. Day continued. “As he often says, we’re washed in the blood of the Lamb, and that’s not just him saying that — this is a man who deeply believes in the role of Jesus in his life.”

Bishop Battersby returned the kind words, saying he’s “grateful to have had the privilege to work with men and women of such faith.”

“So I take you in my heart to Wisconsin, and I’m deeply grateful for the privilege of building up the kingdom here in Detroit with you,” Bishop Battersby said.

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