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Catholic archbishop finishes first year at the head of Detroit archdiocese

Marking his first anniversary this week as the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Detroit, the most Rev. Allen Vigneron told The Michigan Catholic that his greatest challenge was reorganizing the Central Services of the archdiocese and its finances.

In the interview, the archbishop said he also wants to renew the emphasis on religious studies in Catholic schools, which will allow the archdiocese make a better pitch for financial assistance for students whose families might not be able to afford a Catholic school education.


Archbishop Allen Vigneron celebrated his first
anniversary as head of the Detroit archdiocese
this week. Vigneron is pictured here celebrating
the 50th anniversary of one of the archdiocese's
parishes last summer.
(Photo by Gregory Piatt)

Last fall, the archdiocese announced a major financial restructuring plan that called for decreasing 264 employees by about 29 percent, the sale of buildings and moving administrative support offices to a more cost-efficient location. The moves, newspaper reported, resulted from the archdiocese losing about $42,000 per day.

Reorganizing the finances were needed so the archdiocese could have the resources to do its mission, Vigneron said.

“The changes that we've had to make here in the Central Services operation are going to mean that certain functions, certain kinds of services, have had to be combined,” Vigneron said. “But I think part of the result of the reorganizing effort has been to make sure that what we do is of service to the people.”
Even though the staff is smaller, the services the archdiocese provides will be more immediately available and more relevant to the parishes, he said.

Along with the reorganization, Vigneron spoke of re-launching Catholic education in the archdiocese’s schools and an effort to help families afford that education.

“I think we need to … have a renewed affirmation of the mission and importance of the schools as part of the apostolate of the Church,” he said. “I think, part of how we're going do that means even more intense involvement of parents in the life of the school and in the catechizing of the children in the school.”

Vigneron added that faculty will need more intense formation so they are “advancing the catechetical goals of the school.”

“With that renewed identity, then I think we make the best possible appeal we can for financial assistance, (and also) set up vehicles to provide assistance,” the archbishop said. “I will ask people to be sacrificially generous for the schools, for tuition assistance. I can do that on the basis of giving them reasonable assurances that the schools are important for the sake of helping people be better Catholic citizens of the United States.”
 

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