DETROIT — A pastoral plan for the Detroit Archdiocese that includes recommendations such as closing nine parishes, merging 60 parishes into 21 and establishing multi-parish teams or initiatives is a “plan to move the life of the church forward” over the next five years, said Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron.
In a media briefing Dec. 1, he told reporters the recommendations are likely to be implemented but not “set in stone.”
He received the recommendations from the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council the previous day and will now seek comment on them from the archdiocese’s other consultative bodies. He will then accept, reject or modify them, and is expected to release an archdiocesan-wide pastoral plan in February.
Reasons archdiocesan officials have given for the changes include a shortage of priests and the fiscal difficulties facing some of the archdiocese’s 270 parishes. The proposed changes have been posted on the archdiocesan website, www.aodonline.org.
In a letter distributed to parishes the last weekend of November, Edward Miller, chairman of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, said: “The recommended plans will focus on how we will, as one church, manage our resources to fulfill our seven mission priorities: evangelization and catechesis, Christian service outreach, youth and young Adults; lay leadership, stewardship and administration; Catholic school education and vocations.”
According to The Michigan Catholic, the archdiocesan newspaper, the recommendations are the result of the pastoral council’s consideration of the proposals that emerged from dozens of planning groups involving some 1,500 volunteers from throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit as they participated in the second phase of a pastoral planning process called “Together in Faith.”