Msgr. Browne named Northwest Region moderator; Fr. Palazzolo to be judicial vicar

On April 14, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron announced the appointments of Msgr. Ronald Browne, 67, left, as episcopal moderator for the Archdiocese of Detroit's Northwest Region, and Fr. Salvatore Palazzolo, 43, right, as judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Msgr. Browne was also appointed a member of the in solidum team of priests serving the West Maple Family of Parishes, primarily ministering at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Beverly Hills. (Archdiocese of Detroit photos)

Archbishop Vigneron praises both as 'faithful priests dedicated to serving the people of God' in Archdiocese of Detroit

DETROIT — Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron announced April 14 two key appointments in the governance of the Archdiocese of Detroit, naming Msgr. Ronald Browne as episcopal moderator for the archdiocese's Northwest Region and Fr. Salvatore Palazzolo as judicial vicar.

Both appointments will be effective July 1.

Msgr. Browne's appointment fills a vacancy left by the coming departure of Auxiliary Bishop Gerard W. Battersby, whom Pope Francis named the 11th bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis., on March 19.

Bishop Battersby, who previously served as the archdiocese's Northwest Region moderator, will be installed as bishop of La Crosse on May 20.

Although Msgr. Browne is not a bishop, his appointment as episcopal moderator means he will assist Archbishop Vigneron in the pastoral and sacramental care of the Northwest Region, which includes Oakland and Lapeer counties. The Archdiocese of Detroit's three other pastoral regions are currently overseen by Auxiliary Bishops Arturo Cepeda (Central), Robert J. Fisher (Northeast) and Jeffrey M. Monforton (South).

Msgr. Browne, 67, currently serves as judicial vicar for the Archdiocese of Detroit's Metropolitan Tribunal, the body that assists the archbishop in overseeing and processing canon law inquiries, especially related to requests for marriage nullity.

A canon lawyer who studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Msgr. Browne has served in various capacities in the Metropolitan Tribunal, including as judicial vicar under both Cardinal Adam J. Maida (1999-2001) and Archbishop Vigneron (2015-present).

From 2009 to 2013, Msgr. Browne served as moderator of the curia on loan to the Diocese of Marquette in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. After his return to the Archdiocese of Detroit, Msgr. Browne served as secretary of the archdiocese's Synod 16.

In addition to his appointment as episcopal moderator, Msgr. Browne will serve as a member of the in solidum team of priests who care for the West Maple Family of Parishes in Oakland County, primarily serving Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Beverly Hills, beginning July 1.

Of his new appointments, Msgr. Browne said he was "surprised and honored that (Archbishop Vigneron) believed I was competent to fulfill these special duties and responsibilities" and added, "I trust Archbishop Vigneron’s discernment and am confident that the Holy Spirit will provide me with the gifts and tools necessary to meet the duties and responsibilities of this assignment.”

Fr. Palazzolo, 43, will succeed Msgr. Browne as judicial vicar.

While the bishop of a diocese has chief canonical authority, he appoints a judicial vicar — one who acts vicariously for him — as chief judge, overseeing the tribunal and handling canonical matters, including marriage annulment requests.

The Metropolitan Tribunal handles hundreds of formal annulment requests each year, in addition to hundreds of cases involving various applications of canon law.

Fr. Palazzolo has served in the Metropolitan Tribunal since 2021, including as defender of the bond (2021-22) and collegiate judge (2022-present). In addition to these responsibilities, Fr. Palazzolo has provided weekend sacramental assistance for the Merciful Love of Jesus Family of Parishes, which includes Holy Family Parish in Memphis, St. Augustine Parish in Richmond, and St. Mary Mystical Rose Parish in Armada.

Fr. Palazzolo studied canon law at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Fr. Palazzolo said he was "pleased to serve" as judicial vicar and pledged to “give my best effort to provide pastoral care for the faithful through the administration of justice and truth in a timely manner, and to assist my brother priests in their ministries by sharing knowledge and correct application of Canon Law to the law’s supreme aim: the salvation of souls. May all we accomplish be to the glory of God, and may Jesus Christ be praised!”

Archbishop Vigneron praised both priests for their faithfulness and service to the Archdiocese of Detroit, expressing his confidence in their new roles.

“Msgr. Browne and Fr. Palazzolo are both faithful priests dedicated to serving the people of God. I am grateful that they have accepted these new assignments, and I look forward to working with them to advance the mission the Holy Spirit has given us," Archbishop Vigneron said. "I would particularly like to offer prayers of thanksgiving for the more than two decades of service Msgr. Browne has given to our Metropolitan Tribunal. His commitment to ensuring that all who have business before the Tribunal are treated equitably and pastorally is to be commended.”


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