Save Our Parish Community
Parishwatch Michigan

Archdiocese of Detroit

Right to Eucharist: Detroit Priests, Laity Take Action On March 19 Fr. Jim Coriden and FutureChurch’s Emily Holtel-Hoag gave a presentation to over 200 people on The Parish in a Time of Diminishing Numbers of Priests at Sacred Heart Church in Detroit. “Many, many parishes now in our country are without the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist, because there aren't enough priests; and we won't let anybody else lead the celebration of the Eucharist,” said Coriden. “...And that's in a sense an infringement of the basic rights of the parish - I'm talking about Canons 213 and 214 specifically in that one.” (The full text of Coriden’s presentation is available at

Holtel-Hoag spoke about FutureChurch’s Do Not Stifle the Spirit! statement naming best practices for preserving vibrant parishes and addressed proactive strategies for keeping parishes open contained in FutureChurch’s Save Our Parish Community resource.

The talk was sponsored by Elephants in the Living Room, a Detroit group of priests and laity committed to preserving urban parishes.

After the forum, the Elephants group established an ad hoc committee composed of two priests and one lay person to meet with parish teams who are discerning their future to offer materials and counsel not being provided by the Archdiocese Department of Parish Life. The most vulnerable parishes are those within the city of Detroit. (Spring 07)

Detroit Priests Meet with Maida about Gumbleton, Clusters. Five priests representing the group Elephants in the Living Room met with Cardinal Maida to express their concern about the removal of Bishop Gumbleton from St. Leo’s parish where he had ministered for decades. Maida said Pope Benedict himself made the decision to remove Bishop Gumbleton because of his January 2006 testimony before the Ohio Legislature on extending the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse. The priests also raised concerns about recent statements from diocesan officials that clustering was merely a temporary step toward merging parishes to accommodate the declining numbers of priests, and predictions that 36 Detroit parishes would be reduced to six and by July 2008. Cardinal Maida stated parishes could remain clustered and arranged a meeting with Bishop John Quinn who agreed to review directives with the Department of Parish Life. (Spring 07)

Detroit Laity/Priests Take Action. At their December meeting, a group of Detroit clergy and laity called Elephants in the Living Room approved and sent FutureChurch's “Do Not Stifle the Spirit” best practices statement to every parish in the Archdiocese. Detroit's priests are retiring, dying or leaving the ministry significantly faster than they can be replaced. Today, 311 parishes are led by 262 pastors. In 20 years there will be less than 90 priests available for these parishes. The “Elephants” group is also sponsoring a March 19 event featuring preeminent canon lawyer Fr. James Coriden and FutureChurch's Emily Holtel Hoag. Organizers are distributing the SOPC resource packet to interested parishioners.

Marquette Diocese is Consulting with Parishioners and considering closing at least five rural churches because of the priest shortage. “In 1950 we had 150 priests...Today we have 55. We have too many parishes and missions to serve with the priests we have.” said a diocesan spokesperson. The decision is scheduled to be made by spring. (Winter 07)

Diocese of Lansing

St. Agnes Catholic Church closes doors, the last of three Flint churches to officially merge with St. John Vianney 8/17/08


Flint churches prepare to say goodbye 7/27/08

Flint Catholic churches, Scared Heart, St. Luke and St. Agnes, prepare for final weeks before closings 7/24/07


Lansing Diocese plots parishes' future.  Bishop says consolidation, larger role for lay people likely, based on report 7/10/08


Some parishioners at Flint church saved from closing are upset over name change 6//15/08 by Rose Mary Reiz | The Flint Journal Sunday June 15, 2008, 2:00 PM


Parish review could lead to eventual closings of some Catholic parishes 2/7/08 by Rose Mary Reiz | The Flint Journal


Long-time parishioners mourn closings of three Flint churches 6/9/08 by Rose Mary Reiz | The Flint Journal


St. Agnes, Saint Luke and Sacred Heart Catholic churches in Flint will close by Aug. 1 6/8/08 by Rose Mary Reiz | The Flint Journal


Flint-area diocese gets new leader in auxiliary bishop from Detroit 2/28/08


The Flint Journal - - Flint,MI,USA
Boyea's appointment comes at a critical time for the diocese, which faces probable church closings due to shifting parish populations and a shortage of priests.

New bishop must address sharp drop in congregations 2/2908>
The Flint Journal - - Flint,MI,USA
Boyea's appointment comes at a crucial time for the diocese, which faces probable church closings due to shifting parish populations and a shortage priests.

Diocese of Saginaw

Saginaw's Catholic schools reach out in attempt to boost enrollment 8/17/08


More churches closing in county 8/11/08

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