Archdiocese of Detroit News and Events

 

News and events in and around the Archdiocese of Detroit

  Archdiocese of Detroit Crest

 

February 9, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Sacred Liturgy, and particularly the Holy Eucharist, is the very heart and foundation of our Catholic faith. It is during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that the saving death and resurrection of Jesus is made present to us, our covenant with Our Lord is renewed, and God, in the person of Jesus Christ, comes to us and makes himself truly present for us in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It is an irreplaceable gift; a foretaste of Heaven itself.

When the pandemic first began, in the midst of tremendous uncertainty, it was necessary to suspend all public liturgies. During this time, we assessed the situation in light of public health information and explored a safe way to bring Christ to the people, both through the Word of God and the Sacraments. Given the gravity of the Sunday obligation to attend Mass, this decision was not undertaken lightly. Then, we cautiously returned to Mass with prudent restrictions, such as capacity limits and rigorous cleaning protocols, to allow for the resumption of essential public worship without undue risk of accelerating the pandemic. During these difficult months of pandemic, our pastors, parishes, and all the faithful have adapted in order to ensure the health and well-being of everyone in our local communities. I want to offer my sincere gratitude for the efforts that have been undertaken to implement and maintain the first-rate precautionary measures that have kept our parishes and schools safe.

As part of our adaptations, many of our parishes have broadcast Masses over the internet during these last several months. While this has been a means to help Catholics nourish their souls when they could not be present for Mass, we must remember that it cannot become the norm. God did not come to us virtually. He came to us — and continues to come to us — in the flesh. As Catholics, unmediated contact with the Real Presence of the flesh and blood of Our Lord in offering this sacrifice to the Father is irreplaceable and essential. We recall Christ’s own words when he foretold the gift of the Holy Eucharist:

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6: 54-56)

In recognition of the essential and central nature of the Eucharist Sacrifice in our lives as Catholics, and in acknowledgement of my duty as shepherd to care for the souls of everyone within our diocese, it is important that I lead more of us back to Mass, when and where possible. That is why the general dispensation from the Sunday obligation will be extended only for one month, until March 13. With its expiration, I intend to grant some particular dispensations to those in need. It is time for us to welcome back more of the faithful with a renewed amazement that we have a God who is so close to us and who has such a deep love for us that he comes to us in flesh and blood. Active participation in Mass is an occasion for all of us to avail ourselves of the immeasurable spiritual graces Christ desires for his faithful through his Paschal Sacrifice.

We know that there remains the concern for spread of infection, particularly among the winter months when we live indoors to a greater degree. All of us must remain vigilant to limit its spread, particularly among those most vulnerable. With this in mind, I am granting particular dispensations from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation for people in certain circumstances, including those who are ill and those who care for anyone who is at-risk of serious complications from COVID-19. I am making a particular request that those who are ill or think they might be ill to refrain from this in-person participation in the liturgy as an act of justice and charity to others. Those who would experience significant anxiety or fear of getting sick from being in a public setting are similarly dispensed from their obligation to attend. More information about the particular dispensations can be found hereIn allowing the general dispensation to expire, we welcome back to Mass all Catholics who have already been engaged in other activities that would present a similar or greater risk of exposure, such as eating out at restaurants, traveling, partaking in non-essential shopping, and widening one’s circle of contacts. These individuals should also prepare to return to Mass in recognition of its preeminence in our lives as Catholics.

The health and safety of our communities is and always will be paramount as we continue to closely monitor local conditions. For that reason, I am continuing the liturgical directive that all the faithful present at Mass, with the exception of small children, wear a mask or face-covering. If this proves impossible for you or a family member, please speak with your priest. Additionally, our churches will remain limited to no more than 50 percent of available capacity for the near future, and many other existing protocols will remain in place. The Archdiocese is committed to assisting pastors to adjust Mass schedules or offer additional public Masses, insofar as possible, to make it easier for as many of the faithful as possible to attend Mass while still practicing social distancing during the approaching Lent and Easter seasons.

At the beginning of this pandemic, I entrusted the Archdiocese of Detroit to Our Lady of Lourdes, patroness for those who suffer illness, asking that, through her intercession, God would grant healing and protection to the people of southeast Michigan and beyond. I ask you, brothers and sisters, to join me in offering prayers of thanksgiving to Our Blessed Mother for her intercession so far and to pray for her continued accompaniment. With her help, let us persevere in hope to face the challenges of this virus and continue to give witness to our confidence in the good news of the Lord’s victory over suffering and death.

With assurances of my prayers for you, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron

Archbishop of Detroit

 

 

Dispensation from Mass extended until Monday, November 23; Catholics obligated to continue keeping holy the Lord's Day

The Communications Department shares the following message from Father Stephen Pullis, Director of the Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship and member of the liturgical team advising Archbishop Vigneron during the coronavirus pandemic:

In light of the continued spread of the coronavirus in southeast Michigan and the impossibility for parishes to safely accommodate all Catholics for Mass on Sundays, Archbishop Vigneron has extended the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation for all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit, as well as for all travelers during their time within the territory of the Archdiocese of Detroit, until Monday, November 23, 2020.

While the dispensation from the grave obligation to attend Sunday Mass is in effect, all baptized Catholics are reminded of the grave necessity they have to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Archbishop Vigneron wrote a pastoral note entitled “The Day of the Lord” little more than one year ago calling to mind this important spiritual obligation. As the day of the Resurrection of our Lord, Christians from the earliest days set Sunday apart as a day unlike others. When it is not possible to participate in person in the Sacrifice of the Mass, it is vitally important for every member of the Catholic Church to nourish his or her soul during these days. This means cultivating a prayer life in their homes, reading Sacred Scripture – especially the prescribed readings for the Sunday Mass – and making Christ the center of one’s home and being his disciple the central identity of one’s life. It also means continuing to understand Sunday as a day set apart for the Lord. This means activities on Sunday should be different from the pursuits of the rest of the week. Prayer and time for God, time for family, and works of charity should be central to a Catholic’s Sunday.

The obligation to attend Mass (when not dispensed) on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is a grave call for us who have been incorporated into Christ by our baptism to share in the sacrifice of Christ to the Father. It is an obligation that we worship God in a way far superior to our most creative and ingenious efforts because it is not our work but Christ’s. Therefore, we enter into the work of Christ (as members of his body) and we share in the graces of this sacrificial worship. While the dispensation remains in effect, it is imperative that we remember what awesomeness it is to participate at Mass, particularly in receiving Christ in the Holy Eucharist. To lose the centrality of the Mass in our lives would be a spiritual tragedy.

A general dispensation to all the faithful has been given so as not to unduly bind the consciences of those who are greatly troubled by the destructive potency of the coronavirus as well as to care for the most vulnerable among us. Catholics who engage in other activities that would present a similar or greater risk of contamination (eating out at restaurants, traveling, non-essential shopping, widening one’s circle of contacts, etc.) should begin to return to Sunday Mass as they are able. While one does not commit a mortal sin by absenting one’s self during these days due to the dispensation, one would be deprived of the immeasurable spiritual graces Christ desires for his faithful when they actively participate in the Mass.

Archbishop Vigneron and his advisors will continue to monitor and adjust this dispensation as needed for the spiritual and physical health of Catholics in southeast Michigan. Let us continue to invoke our patroness St. Anne for her protection of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Detroit and for a swift end to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Pastoral care regarding the Vatican's Note on Baptism

 

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

On August 6, 2020, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a response to questions regarding the validity of baptisms in which the words used by the priest or deacon are different than those in the approved liturgical text. Specifically, to say, “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” does not convey the Sacrament of baptism. Rather, ministers are to allow Jesus to speak through them and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

By recently watching a family video taken at the time of his baptism as an infant and then reading the note issued by the Vatican, Father Matthew Hood was devastated to learn that a deacon decided to change the proper words (formula) to baptism. Father Hood immediately contacted the Archdiocese and the proper steps were taken to remedy his situation. He has now been validly baptized, confirmed and ordained.

We offer the information below as a resource to all the faithful. We encourage you to read the letter from Archbishop Vigneron and the frequently asked questions. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your parish or use the form below to contact the Archdiocese of Detroit.

 

LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP VIGNERON TO THE FAITHFUL OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DETROIT

Earlier this month, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an important doctrinal note alerting the Church throughout the world that baptisms were not valid in which a particular word or words were changed. Specifically, to say “We baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” does not convey the sacrament of baptism. Rather, ministers must allow Jesus to speak through them and say, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

In making this clarification, the Congregation pointed to the Second Vatican Council, which established that no one “even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.”

One of our priests in the Archdiocese of Detroit received this news with particular devastation. Father Matthew Hood, a graduate of Sacred Heart Major Seminary who sought ordination to the priesthood in June of 2017, had recently viewed a family video taken at the time of his baptism as an infant and realized the celebrating deacon decided to change the proper words (formula) to baptism, using “We baptize” as opposed to “I baptize.”

Read Archbishop Vigneron's full letter in English and Spanish

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

These frequently asked questions are also available in Spanish.

What happened to Father Matthew Hood?
My child/grandchild was baptized before Father Hood found out that he was invalidly baptized and therefore invalidly ordained. What does that mean for my child/grandchild?
I was confirmed by Father Hood before he realized that he was invalidly baptized and therefore invalidly ordained. Was I validly confirmed?
I went to confession before Father Hood realized he was not validly ordained. Did I receive absolution of my sins through him?
Father Hood married us before he was validly baptized and validly ordained. Is our marriage valid?
I went to Mass where Father Hood presided before he was validly baptized and validly ordained. A.) Did I satisfy the grave duty I have to meet my Sunday obligation to keep the Lord’s Day holy by attending Mass? B.) Was the Mass intention(s) for which Mass was offered fulfilled? C.) Did I receive the Eucharist when I went to Holy Communion?
I or a loved one was sick and was anointed before Father Hood was validly ordained. Did I/they receive the Sacrament of the Sick?
What happened if someone has died after being baptized invalidly by Deacon Springer or after going to confession with Father Hood before he was validly ordained a priest?
Did Deacon Springer invalidly baptize other people?
It has been determined that I (or my child/grandchild) was invalidly baptized by Deacon Springer. Are my other sacraments valid?
What happened to Deacon Springer?
What will you do to remedy this situation of all the people that thought they received the sacraments?
What has been done to remedy Father Hood’s situation?
Isn't it legalistic to say that, even though there was an intention to confer a sacrament, there was no sacrament because different words were used? Won’t God just take care of it?
Why are we being told now?
How many other deacons and priests are in the situation that Father Hood was in?

FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you have questions or concerns about the validity of your sacrament(s), we invite you to submit questions using this online form.

NOTE: For those who have specific concerns about their sacraments and wish to discuss those concerns with a priest, please check the "Yes, I wish to speak with a priest" box and provide a phone number where you can be reached.

May 31: Archbishop Vigneron Letter regarding Families of Parishes

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I write today with gratitude for the many blessings God has granted the Archdiocese of Detroit during our missionary journey. Six years ago, we asked God to send his Holy Spirit upon us in a New Pentecost, to fill us with an unshakable inner conviction of the truth of the Gospel and a love that compels us to share the good news with those around us. Two years later, through Synod ‘16 we received clarity that God wanted us to reclaim our Church’s missionary identity and we set out with a promise to trust and follow him.

We began in earnest the work of a generation, to unleash the Gospel in southeast Michigan and beyond. Last year, we announced the next phase of this missionary movement, a plan to transform our parishes and schools, making them places where individuals and families can encounter Jesus anew, grow as disciples, and be equipped as witnesses of the Risen Christ.

This continues to be our mission today, even now in the midst of a historic pandemic. The current health and economic crises have disrupted our lives and the life of the Church. This new reality has exacerbated some of the challenges we were already facing. Even before the pandemic, we knew that the way we function in our parishes needed to change. In addition to the shortage of priests available to serve in our parishes and the shortage of vocations for future ordinations, the parish structures we inherited served our mission well in the past, but they needed to be renewed and aligned for mission.

And so, in prayer and in consultation with others, I’ve discerned that now is the time to respond in faith to the challenges we face and to take the necessary steps to better equip our parish communities for mission. Over the next two years, parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit will join together to form new groupings called “families of parishes.” These groups – these families – of three to six parishes will work together and share human and material resources to further advance our shared mission. This new model will allow groups of priests, deacons, and lay staff to better share their gifts and talents with their entire parish families.

We are not the same diocese we were six years ago when we began this journey. God has been at work in us, in our communities, in our parishes, and in our schools. We have learned to be more docile to the Holy Spirit. We have learned to walk with apostolic boldness and confidence in God. We are committed to working in a spirit of innovation and collaboration. And most importantly, we have resolved to place Christ and his mission above all else.

Over the next several months, groups of clergy and lay faithful will help me discern the leadership and governance structure of the families of parishes and the ways in which this new structure will help all our parishes become vibrant posts of missionary activity. At Advent, my hope is to announce the groups of parishes that will form each family, with the first of them expected to begin to function as a family in July of 2021.

I invite you to visit the website www.familiesofparishes.org to learn more about this process and to sign up for updates. Please join me in praying for this very important step in the life and mission of our local Church. Let us give thanks to God ahead of time for the great work he is doing in our midst. God is with us. He has given us his Holy Spirit as the initiator, guide, and driving force of our mission.

Blessed Solanus Casey, Detroit’s own priest, pray for us. Our Lady of Lourdes, protector of the sick, pray for us. And dear St. Anne, patron of our Archdiocese, pray for us.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit

 

 

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