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Archdiocese of Detroit to ‘reclaim’ holy day with shift away from youth sports on Sundays, seeking renewed focus on rest and family worship

In his latest pastoral note to the faithful, Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron unveils new policy to cease youth sporting activities on Sundays 


The Archdiocese of Detroit on Wednesday announced a new policy to cease youth sporting activities on Sundays, in a renewed effort to “reclaim Sunday” as one for worship, rest and family time.


In a new pastoral note titled “The Day of the Lord,” Archbishop Vigneron introduces the policy alongside a discussion of the scriptural and traditional foundation for Catholics honoring Sunday as a holy day. Dating to the early years of the Church, he said, Catholics set aside Sunday for rest and worship in recognition of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost Sunday, and the first “rest” of God after the work of creation.

“In our time, Sunday has slowly lost its pride of place,” Vigneron said in the pastoral note. “In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we are committed to setting aside this day as much as possible for God-centered pursuits” such as Mass, personal prayer and Bible studies as well as dedicated family time and activities centered on sharing faith with others.

Youth involved in sports through the Catholic High School League (CHSL) and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) will see the policy implemented this fall in their practice and game schedules. Officials with CHSL and CYO will ensure teams enjoy a full line-up of practices, scrimmages and games, taking advantage of a Monday through Saturday schedule.

“This policy will help reduce the distractions for families in their pursuit of reclaiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day,” said Vic Michaels, Director of CHSL and of the Archdiocese’s Department of Health, Athletics, Physical Education and Safety. “In shifting our sports to Monday through Saturday, we aim to help our dedicated student athletes continue following their passions without sacrificing Sunday worship, rest and family time.” 

This re-commitment to honoring Sunday is rooted in Synod 16, an archdiocesan-wide gathering of clergy and lay faithful in 2016 to discern how to transform the local Church into a band of joyful missionary disciples. One of the first fruits of the Synod, Vigneron’s Pentecost 2017 pastoral letter called Unleash the Gospel, has sparked a missionary movement by the same name and has been built upon in recent years by accompanying pastoral notes by the Archbishop.

“The decision from Archbishop Vigneron, following an unprecedented level of consultation, marks a major shift for our Archdiocese. It is a time for us to see everything we do through the lens of forming a band of missionary disciples,” said Father Stephen Pullis, Director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Evangelization, Catechesis, and Schools. “It also is a strong commitment to support our families as they seek to raise their children in the Catholic faith and work to align their homes and communities with our shared mission to Unleash the Gospel.”

One of the “clearest calls” from the Synod was the faithful’s desire to rededicate Sunday to worship, rest and family time, Vigneron said.

“In shifting away from the hustle of required sporting activities on Sunday, we will reclaim this holy day and create more time for families to choose activities that prioritize time spent with each other and our Lord,” Vigneron said in the pastoral note. “As the Catholic Church, our primary role is to form disciples. Informed by Synod 16 and inspired by the Holy Spirit, we look forward to abundant blessings as we seek to abide by our God’s teaching to keep holy the Lord’s Day.”

Note to Media: Interviews are available with clergy and faithful involved with the new policy regarding youth sports on Sunday:

  • Father Stephen Pullis, Director of the Archdiocese’s Department of Evangelization, Catechesis, and Schools
  • Vic Michaels, Director of CHSL and of the Archdiocese’s Department of Health, Athletics, Physical Education and Safety
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Holly Fournier, media and public relations manager, at (313) 237-5802 or fournier.holly@aod.org; or Michelle St. Pierre, business development manager, at (313) 805-1408 stpierre.michelle@aod.org

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron's statement on Pope Francis' Global Rules for Reporting Abuse

May 9, 2019

The Department of Communications of the Archdiocese of Detroit shares the following statement from Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, regarding the release Thursday of Pope Francis’ Motu Proprio – an edict or law issued by the Holy Father and applicable to the global Church. Called Vos estis lux mundi, (Latin for “You are the light of the world”), the law addresses the Church’s need for increased accountability among bishops and protection for those who report sexual crimes and misconduct.

I welcome our Holy Father’s Motu Proprio and its clear directives for universal accountability in response to the horrors of clergy sexual abuse. As the Metropolitan bishop and head of the Province – the seven Catholic dioceses in the State of Michigan – I stand ready and eager to implement the Holy Father’s directives and to continue advancing our local efforts to eradicate the crime and sins of sexual abuse from the Church. I also look forward to using the Holy Father’s directives as a framework for expanded action following the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) meeting this June. We will hold accountable for their actions all those who would cause harm – no matter their position in the Church.


I am deeply sorry to all those who have been injured and are enduring a lifetime of physical, emotional and spiritual suffering because of perverse actions by those in authority. No one is above civil law and importantly, no one is above God’s law. All the faithful deserve our best and swiftest actions, especially those who have been harmed. Even one incidence of abuse to a child of God is too many.


In the Archdiocese of Detroit, we believe that transparency and accountability are  essential for healing and rebuilding trust. We also know that we cannot – and should not – handle this alone, so we continue to report abuse to law enforcement. I am grateful for my clergy and lay collaborators who are working with me for justice and healing. Through prayer, action and the power of the Holy Spirit, we yearn and work toward a holier Church.

Archbishop Vigneron also shares his support and endorsement of the response from Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB.

Individuals with knowledge of sexual abuse by clergy or Church representatives are urged to contact local law enforcement and the Michigan Attorney General’s office. Individuals also may contact the Archdiocese of Detroit by visiting protect.aod.org.


Reverend Theodore D’Cunha

Reverend Theodore D’Cunha, S.A.C., with the concurrence of his Superior, Reverend Pedro Camilo Simoes, S.A.C., Provincial, appointed Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, Grand Cayman, effective July 1, 2019.  Fr. D’Cunha is currently serving as Pastor of St. Priscilla Parish, Livonia.

Reverend Suresh Rajaian

Reverend Suresh Rajaian, S.A.C., with the concurrence of his Superior, Reverend Pedro Camilo Simoes, S.A.C., Provincial, appointed Pastor of St. Pius X Parish, Southgate, effective July 1, 2019.  Fr. Rajaian is currently serving as Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, Grand Cayman. 

Archdiocese to hold Rosary service, Mass Wednesday in Detroit for victims of Easter violence in Sri Lanka

In sadness and solidarity with those killed and injured during the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday, the Archdiocese of Detroit will hold a Rosary service at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 24 followed by Holy Mass at St. Aloysius Catholic Church, 1234 Washington Boulevard in Detroit. All are welcome to attend.

Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit Donald Hanchon will serve as main celebrant of the Mass, and will offer prayers for those killed and injured, their families, for all those affected, and for an end to such devastating violence in our world.

Ahead of the service, Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron prayed for religious tolerance worldwide and looked to the promise of Christ’s Resurrection for comfort.

“We continue to pray for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, for the repose of the souls lost, healing for the wounded and comfort for all those affected by this horrific violence,” he said. “I find myself too often responding to acts of hate with calls for unity, but today I once again pray that we may make the world a place of tolerance and acceptance of people of all religions.

“It is with sorrow and shared grief, but eyes fixed on Jesus and hearts full of hope in the power of the Resurrection, that we pray for healing and peace for the people of Sri Lanka.”

St. Aloysius is one block north of Michigan Avenue and the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. News media are welcome to cover the Rosary service and Mass. For media inquiries and/or to make coverage arrangements, please call Holly Fournier at (313) 237-5802 or e-mail fournier.holly@aod.org.

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Reverend Mr. Adam Nowak to be appointed Associate Pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish, Allen Park, effective July 1, 2019.  Deacon Nowak will be ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 2019.

Reverend Pathrose Panuvel

Reverend Pathrose Panuvel, with the concurrence of Bishop Philipos Mar Stephanos Thottathil, appointed Associate Pastor of St. Michael Parish, Livonia, effective July 1, 2019, in addition to his continuing responsibilities to the Malankara Catholic community.

Reverend Gregory Deters

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