Who is Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton? Meet Detroit's newest auxiliary bishop

Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton, 60, was appointed Sept. 28 as the 32nd auxiliary bishop in the history of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Since 2012, Bishop Monforton has served as bishop of Steubenville, Ohio. Originally a priest of the Archdiocese of Detroit, he previously served as Sacred Heart Major Seminary's rector and president (2006-12), and spent 18 years serving Detroit's faithful in various roles. His episcopal ministry in Detroit, in which he will assist Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron in the pastoral care of the archdiocese's 907,000 Catholics, will begin Nov. 7. (Courtesy photos)

Bishop previously was rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, cardinal's secretary and pastor of Metro Detroit's largest parish

DETROIT — On Thursday, Sept. 28, Pope Francis announced the Archdiocese of Detroit was being blessed with a new auxiliary bishop.

Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton, a Detroit native who has spent the past 11 years serving the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, will begin his new ministry during a 2 p.m. Liturgy of Welcome and Inauguration of Ministry on Nov. 7 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

In the coming weeks, Detroit Catholic will publish additional articles and features helping Detroit's faithful get to know Bishop Monforton.

Here's what to know about Detroit's 32nd auxiliary bishop:

Bishop Monforton was born May 5, 1963, in Detroit, the eldest of three sons of Marc Louis Monforton and Virginia Rose (Ackerman) Monforton. He is the older brother of David and Daniel.

Growing up in Westland, Bishop Monforton attended Tinkham Elementary School in Westland, John Marshall Junior High and Wayne Memorial High School in Wayne. His family were parishioners at SS. Simon and Jude Parish in Westland.

After considering the seminary out of high school and visiting with Detroit's vocations director, Bishop Monforton briefly attended Wayne State University before entering Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and attended the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he earned bachelor’s, licentiate and doctorate degrees in sacred theology.

After completing his studies, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit on June 25, 1994, by Cardinal Adam J. Maida at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

His first assignment out of seminary was serving as associate pastor of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica in Royal Oak (1994-96). During that time, he also taught religion at Shrine High School.

In 1998, Cardinal Maida invited then-Fr. Monforton to serve as his personal priest-secretary, a role in which he assisted the cardinal in his many duties throughout the archdiocese, visiting parishes, schools and ministries both at home and abroad. In 2005, he accompanied the cardinal to Rome for the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II, and remained in Rome as Cardinal Maida participated in the papal conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Later that year, Pope Benedict named Fr. Monforton a "chaplain to His Holiness," which carried with it the honorary title of "monsignor."

While serving as Cardinal Maida's secretary, Fr. Monforton assisted on weekends at St. Paul on the Lake Parish in Grosse Pointe Farms (1998-2002) and St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Sterling Heights (2002-05). He also served as a member of Sacred Heart Major Seminary's faculty from 2002-05.

In 2005, Cardinal Maida named Msgr. Monforton pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux Parish in Shelby Township.

From 2005-06, Msgr. Monforton was asked to serve as an apostolic visitor for the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education, evaluating U.S. seminaries and houses of formation. At the conclusion of his service, Cardinal Maida appointed him the 12th rector and president of Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary on Aug. 24, 2006.

While serving as Sacred Heart's rector from 2006 to 2012, then-Msgr. Monforton also served as a member of the Board of Trustees of Madonna University in Livonia.

In 2012, Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron asked Msgr. Monforton to become pastor of the largest parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit, St. Andrew in Rochester, with more than 5,000 parishioner families. That assignment lasted just two months, however, before Pope Benedict XVI appointed him the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, on July 3, 2012.

Bishop Monforton was ordained and installed in Steubenville during a Sept. 10, 2012, Mass at the Franciscan University of Steubenville's fieldhouse celebrated by Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr.

At the time, Bishop Monforton chose as his episcopal motto, "Faith Comes from Hearing," which takes its origin from Romans 10:17, citing his willingness to be close to the people he served.

As bishop of Steubenville, Bishop Monforton held several additional roles in the community, including as an adjunct faculty member at the Franciscan University of Steubenville from 2013-19. He became known for his enthusiasm for teaching the Catholic faith, hosting frequent question-and-answer sessions with students across the diocese. In 2020, he compiled material from these sessions into a book, "Ask the Bishop: Questions and Answers Over the Years."

As a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Monforton has served on several committees, including as chairman of the Subcommittee on Aid to the Church in Central and Eastern Europe, and a member of the bishops' National Collections, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Evangelization and Catechesis committees.

On the education front, Bishop Monforton served as a member of the board of governors of the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he studied as a seminarian, from 2012-18, as well as a member of the college's development committee. He also was a member of the Board of Regents and Priestly Formation Board for St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa., and a member of the Board of Trustees and chairman of the priestly formation and seminary life committee for the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.

Among Bishop Monforton's other roles, he served as episcopal moderator for the Diocesan Information Solutions Community (DISC), a member of the episcopal advisory board for the Diocesan Rosary Congresses, and a board member for the American Friends of the Vatican Library.

He is a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus, as well as a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Bishop Monforton's hobbies include bike riding, cooking and golf, and he is a certified scuba diver. He has met two saints, St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, and his mother met Blessed Solanus Casey.

On Sept. 28, 2023, Pope Francis appointed Bishop Monforton the 32nd auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. He will assist current Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron in the governance and pastoral leadership of the archdiocese's 907,000 Catholics over six counties in southeast Michigan.

Upon being given his new assignment, Bishop Monforton was given the titular see of Centuria, in modern-day Algeria.


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