Welcome to this special update on the Diocese of Lansing’s Realign Resources for Mission process. It’s now 12 months since the Realign Resources for Mission committee submitted their Key Findings and Recommendations to Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing.
Over the past year that vision been going through a process of implementation. That process has now reached some concrete conclusions. Here is an update from Deb Amato of the Diocese of Lansing’s Office of Implementation & Sustainability for Realign Resources for Mission followed by a short video by Father Mathias Thelen who was Chairman of the Realign Resources for Mission Committee. Deb writes:
In November 2021, the Diocese of Lansing’s Realign Resources for Mission Committee published its Key Findings and Recommendations.
That publication followed two years of prayer, study, and consultation by the 14-person committee as they discerned a way forward for the parishes, schools and other agencies of the Diocese of Lansing in order to help our diocese better fulfill the divine mission given to us by Jesus Christ:
“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,” Matthew 28:19-20.
Over the past year it has been for Bishop Earl Boyea to assess both the principles and practicalities of the Realign Resources for Mission Committee’s recommendations with the assistance of me, as the Office of Implementation & Sustainability, which was created for this very purpose. It’s been a thorough and worthwhile 12-months. So where are things currently? Here are six key updates:
1. The principles of Realign Resources for Mission (RRM) remain unchanged and are being implemented. Two of the three key findings by the RRM committee focused on the need for strong pastoral leadership within our parishes. The vision of a healthy parish recognizes the necessity of priests who are focused upon health, holiness and collaboration so they can work collectively amongst parishes to help us all grow in personal holiness and missionary zeal. Of course, a healthy presbyterate is not the sole factor in making this happen but it is a sine qua non to revitalizing the local church in each area.
2. The practicalities of Realign Resources for Mission have been amended in some regards. Soon after the RRM recommendations were given to the bishop, we received word that the Vatican will not allow priests “in solidum” to be pastors of individual parishes. That’s the Latin term found in Canon Law which describes priests operating a shared pastorate over a group of parishes. Further, while the priests of the Diocese of Lansing largely welcomed the opportunity to pray and work alongside each other, they saw significant challenges with the proposed “in solidum” governance model. Instead, our priests prefer the intimacy that exists between a pastor and his people, between the shepherd and his flock. This was good feedback and has duly been incorporated into the implementation of Realign Resources for Mission.
3. With the “in solidum” model off the table, Bishop Boyea then amended the configuration of proposed parish groupings. Out went the 21 parish groupings and 3 stand-alone parishes. In came 22 parish groupings eliminating the three stand-alones. The parish groupings are still expected to seek ways to collaborate with one another on the Vision of a Healthy Parish and the priests of those groupings are still expected by Bishop Boyea to seek ways to support one another in their pastoral roles. To that end, the stand alone parishes are eliminated and those three pastors are now part of a parish grouping.
4. Recognizing the importance of collaboration and accountability, Bishop Boyea then instituted a newly revised vicariate – or deanery – structure within the Diocese of Lansing. The current six vicariates will be replaced with 10 deaneries as of July 2023. A list of the new parish groupings and deaneries can be viewed below at the foot of this memo.
5. The names of the newly appointed deans will be announced in Spring 2023. The selection process is still ongoing. Stay tuned. Each dean will be charged with the coordination of common pastoral activity; pursuing the bishop’s initiatives; emphasizing the care and wellbeing of the priests; regular visits to the parishes in the deanery; and regular reports back to the bishop on the state of the local church in each area.
6. Oh, and we are rebranding the implementation process from “Realign Resources for Mission” to “Made for Mission”. We are rebranding to “Made for Mission” because we believe this more closely reflects the long-term goal of our realignment process: to reinforce the reality that each one of us is Made for Mission: the mission of Jesus Christ to form missionary disciples in our homes, parishes, neighborhoods and world.
So, there we go. Six key updates regarding the implementation of Realign Resources for Mission, sorry, Made for Mission. 12 months on, the principles remain but the practicalities are amended. The prayer and work of setting each parish ablaze with apostolic zeal continues. Come Holy Spirit!
Yours in Christ,
Office of Implementation & Sustainability
Made for Mission, Diocese of Lansing
PS. Here’s the list of the 10 deaneries with their constituent 22 parish groupings:
* Southern Deanery:
1. Hillsdale/West Lenawee Parish Grouping: Sacred Heart, Hudson | St Anthony of Padua, Hillsdale | St Mary on the Lake, Manitou Beach.
2. Eastern Lenawee Parish Grouping: Holy Family (includes St. Mary of Good Counsel and St. Joseph Oratory, Adrian), Adrian | Light of Christ (includes St. Alphonsus and St. Peter the Apostle Oratory, Blissfield), Deerfield | St Elizabeth (includes St. Dominic Oratory, Clinton), Tecumseh.
* Jackson Deanery:
3. The Lakes Parish Grouping: Our Lady of Fatima, Michigan Center | St. Joseph Shrine, Brooklyn | St Rita, Clarklake.
4. Jackson Parish Grouping: Queen of the Miraculous Medal, Jackson | St. Catherine Laboure, Concord | St. John the Evangelist/St Joseph the Worker (includes St. Joseph Oratory, Jackson), Jackson | St. Mary Star of the Sea (includes St. Stanislaus Oratory, Jackson) and Sagrada Corazon Community, Jackson.
* Lansing Deanery:
5. Lansing North Parish Grouping: Church of the Resurrection, Lansing | St. Andrew Dung-Lac, Lansing | St. Mary Cathedral, Lansing | St. Therese, Lansing.
6. East Lansing/Shiawassee Parish Grouping: St Mary, Morrice | St. Thomas Aquinas (includes St. John Church & Student Center, East Lansing), East Lansing.
7. Eastern Ingham Parish Grouping: St Martha, Okemos | St Mary, Williamston.
* Northern Deanery:
8. Clinton Deanery: Most Holy Trinity, Fowler | St Mary, Westphalia.
9. Clinton/Shiawassee Parish Grouping: St Isidore, Laingsburg/Holy Family, Ovid | St Joseph, Saint Johns | St Jude, DeWitt.
* Western Deanery:
10. Lansing South Parish Grouping: Cristo Rey, Lansing | Immaculate Heart of Mary, Lansing | St Peter, Eaton Rapids | Saints James, Cornelius and Cyprian (includes Saints Cornelius & Cyprian Oratory, Leslie), Mason.
11. Eaton County Parish Grouping: St Gerard, Lansing | St Mary (includes St. Ann Oratory, Bellevue), Charlotte | St Michael, Grand Ledge.
* Northeastern Deanery:
12. Shiawassee/Genesee Parish Grouping; Good Shepherd, Montrose | St. Mary and St. Joseph Parish (includes St. Joseph Oratory, Gaines), Durand | St Mary Queen of Angels, Swartz Creek | St Paul (includes St. Joseph Oratory, Owosso), Owosso | St Robert Bellarmine, Flushing.
13. Southern GeneseeParish Grouping: Holy Family, Grand Blanc | St. John the Evangelist, Fenton | St Mark the Evangelist, Grand Blanc.
* Flint Deanery:
14. Flint Parish Grouping: Christ the King, Flint | Holy Redeemer, Burton | Our Lady of Guadalupe, Flint | St John Vianney (includes St. Mary Oratory, Flint), Flint | St Matthew, Flint | St Pius X, Flint.
15. Eastern Genesee Parish Grouping: Holy Rosary, Flint | Saints Charles & Helena, Clio | St. Francis Xavier, Otisville | St John the Evangelist (includes Blessed Sacrament Oratory, Burton) ,Davison | St Mary, Mount Morris.
* Livingston Deanery:
16. Western Livingston Parish Grouping: St Agnes Parish, Fowlerville | St. Joseph, Howell.
17. Northeast Livingston Parish Grouping: St Augustine, Howell | St. John the Baptist, Howell | St Mary Magdalen, Brighton.
18. South Livingston/North East Washtenaw Parish Grouping: Holy Spirit, Brighton | St. Mary, Pinckney | St Patrick, Brighton | St Patrick Parish, Ann Arbor.
* Ann Arbor Deanery:
19. Downtown Ann Arbor: St Francis of Assisi, Ann Arbor | St. Mary Student Parish, Ann Arbo | St. Thomas the Apostle, Ann Arbor.
20. Eastern Washtenaw Parish Grouping: Christ the King, Ann Arbor | St John the Baptist, Ypsilanti | St. Joseph, Ypsilanti.
* Southwestern Deanery:
21. Southern Washtenaw Parish Grouping: Immaculate Conception, Milan | St Andrew, Saline | St. Mary, Manchester.
22. Western Washtenaw Parish Grouping: St. Joseph, Dexter | St Mary, Chelsea.