The following is a message from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron to the people of the Archdiocese of Detroit:
The Archdiocese of Detroit today celebrates a significant milestone in its missionary transformation as 113 parish communities join together and form 26 Families of Parishes. The remaining 103 parish communities will follow next year, forming 25 additional Families of Parishes. These groupings are the fruit of embracing the graces of Synod 16 and our response to God’s call to renew our structures and align resources toward our common mission to share Christ with every woman and man in southeast Michigan.
This is the most radical transformation our parishes have experienced in decades. Teams of priests, deacons, religious and lay staff will work together to better share their gifts and talents with the whole Family of Parishes. This is not merging or clustering. In our model of families, each parish will keep its identity and charism but will share its gifts with all the parishes.
Our move to Families of Parishes is meant to rejuvenate and energize my brother priests, who will benefit from the key elements of collaboration and mutual support among the team. And you, the faithful of the Archdiocese, will also benefit from a larger group of priests, deacons, and lay staff ministering to you. But most importantly, I am confident that Families of Parishes will help us go on mission. This is what Jesus is asking of us; we are equipping our parishes to go out into the community to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone we meet. That is why we are willing to make this radical transformation.
I want to offer a few words of gratitude. To begin, I am grateful for our priests and deacons who will start their new assignments today in their new Families of Parishes. It takes great courage to embrace change. We need their courage and God’s grace to navigate this transition, so please join me in praying for our clergy and for all our lay staff who will support them in our new structures.
I also want to thank the many co-workers who have helped me discern, plan, and launch Families of Parishes. This is a significant undertaking, one we could not have accomplished without open discernment and discussion about concerns, ideas and vision. It is through active listening and prayer that we can follow the path down which the Holy Spirit is leading us.
Lastly, I want to express my deep appreciation and affection to you, the faithful of the Archdiocese, who are embarking upon this journey with us. You will play a large role in uniting your new Families of Parishes and contributing to the success of our shared mission. Thank you for trusting in this process and praying for its success.
As we bring together our first Families of Parishes today, we also celebrate the feast of St. Junipero Serra, the great missionary who was instrumental in bringing the Gospel to California in the 1700s. St. Junipero’s motto was “siempre adelante, nunca atrás,” which translates to, “always forward, never back.” It is providential to mark this milestone in the life of the Archdiocese under the intercession of Father Serra. United with Mary and the Twelve, we move forward, never back, confident that Jesus walks with us and that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will share with men and women of our time the hope, joy and salvation that can only be found in Christ.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit