Apnewsbreak: Detroit Goes from 267 to 214 Parishes

By David N. Goodman
Livingston Daily
February 20, 2012|newswell|text|Frontpage|p

Southeastern Michigan's 1.3 million Roman Catholics will have 53 fewer parishes by year's end though a mixture of mergers and closures made necessary by population shifts and a shortage of priests, Archbishop Allen Vigneron said Monday.

Vigneron described the wide-ranging restructuring of the Archdiocese of Detroit at an afternoon news conference releasing results of the latest phase of an intense, months-long study called "Together in Faith." It involved 1,500 lay people as well as clergy.

"The life of the church here in the Archdiocese of Detroit cannot simply continue without significant changes," Vigneron said in an open letter to Detroit-area Catholics that was released in advance to The Associated Press. "Faith and prudence demand that we act now to ensure that we will be able to do God's work effectively in the years to come."

The archdiocese now has 267 parishes and will have 214 by the end of 2012. Vigneron says two parishes will close outright, while others will merge, reorganize or go through financial reviews to determine their future.

The plan released Monday follows the announcement Dec. 1 of a proposal to close nine parishes and merge 60 others into 21. Vigneron has been reviewing the plan.

"The church, here in southeast Michigan and throughout the western world, is facing an unprecedented set of challenges," Vigneron said. They include "the abandonment of Sunday Mass and confession to a great many Catholics, a sharp decline in the number of our priests ... the secularization of our culture and dramatic economic and demographic changes," he said.

Slated for closure as parishes and elimination as Catholic worship sites are St. Donald Parish in Roseville and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Harper Woods, both in Detroit's northeastern suburbs.

Six parishes are under orders to submit and win approval of debt repayment plans by June 30, Vigneron said. Otherwise, he said they may have to close or merge with a neighboring parish. They are Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Detroit, SS. Simon and Jude in Westland, St Alexander in Farmington Hills, St. Clare of Assisi in Farmington Hills, St. Florian in Hamtramck and St. Mel in Dearborn Heights.

A number of parishes have more than one church building now, and in cases where parishes merge, their buildings may continue in use for worship, the archdiocese said.








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