On July 1, the Archdiocese of Detroit began its first wave of Families of Parishes. Our family includes the parishes of Old St. Mary’s in Greektown, St. Aloysius (one with Our Lady of the Rosary church), and the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. As Moderator of our family, my role is to help guide, support, and pray for the efforts of all our parishes. Each parish will continue to have an on-site lead pastor (Fr. J.J. at the Cathedral, Fr. John at OSM, and me at St. Aloysius). I am writing to parishioners of all three of our parishes today to give you more information about particulars within our family.
Our family name: Resurget Cineribus, Detroit. We take our name from a portion the motto of the City of Detroit given us by Catholic priest, Fr. Gabriel Richard. In the midst of uncertainty after a fire devastated the city, he famously declared, We hope for better things, it will rise from the ashes. While neither our city nor our parishes are in ashes, we recognize that what we long for, and what God promises us, is that we will rise from the ashes—the dust from which we were created. As a family, we are on this journey together encouraging one another, praying for one another, and worshipping together.
Why Families of Parishes? It’s cliché, but we are better together. It’s no secret that resources are tight. When I say ‘resources’, immediately we think of money. While this is true, our greater need comes in human resources. This new model will allow the priests, deacon, and lay staff associated with each parish to better share their gifts and talents with the whole Family. Moreover, in 10 years, the Archdiocese of Detroit will have 100 less priests and there’s never a guarantee that a religious order will stay at a particular parish. In my case, I was assigned to St. Aloysius in 2019 after the parish had been served by the Franciscans for more than 27 years. They simply did not have another priest to send and therefore, had to return the parish to the care of the AOD. At this point, only one of our parishes is served primarily by a religious order. To be clear, there is no indication that the Holy Ghost fathers are leaving Old St. Mary anytime soon, if ever (thankfully)!
How will your parish be affected? For the average parishioner, you probably will not notice much from week to week aside from the rotation of family-priests on the fourth Sunday of the month. An immediate concern is the changing of Mass times. At this point, there are no plans to change or eliminate Mass times. There may come a day when we are forced to because of a reduction of priests assigned to the family—but not today!
Each parish will continue to have its own finance council as mandated by canon law—the law which governs the Church. Each parish within a Family will remain solely responsible for its own financial viability. This includes establishing appropriate parish budgets, coordinating parish fundraising, and controlling parish costs. New to the Family of Parishes structure is the need for a Family Finance Team to help the Moderator in matters which span the Family. A Family’s Finance Team is chaired by the Moderator and is comprised of the Family Mission Support Director (Randy Bowers) and two representatives from each parish in the Family.
Parish councils are not mandated by canon law. Moving forward, two to three individuals from each parish will serve as the voice of the parish and as advisors to the pastors. The priests and I would like to publicly thank those women and men who have so faithfully served on their parish councils and given of their time and talent for the good of their beloved church. Each parish will be informed who these two individuals are after the new year and be given information on how to contact them. They will meet regularly with the on-site pastor, advise him on parish matters, and also serve on the family pastoral council. Having the same individuals on the parish and family level helps to keep consistency and clear communication.
I’d also like to address a couple common misconceptions. Neither the priests of the family nor the Archdiocese of Detroit desires to make our parishes homogenous. We see the beauty in each parish’s history, diversity, community, and tradition. Further, there are no plans to change any parish’s style of worship or music. As stated above, each parish is also responsible for their own financial obligations. It is false to say or think that one parish might become burdened by the limited financial resources of another parish. There is no sharing of finances except when it comes to activities that span the family. For example, when we had our family picnic in September, each parish paid their fair share.
I will be writing more regularly to keep you updated on our progress. This is a time of transition which requires our patience, prayers, and docility to the Holy Spirit. I am confident that God will be with us every step of the way. May God bless all of you as we begin this Advent season.
With my prayers,
Fr. Mario Amore, Moderator