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The Question Behind the Question

On the afternoon of June 14, a rather spirited, fascinating, and unexpected debate broke out on the floor of the USCCB spring meeting about the use of videos rather than texts. I will confess that as this lively discussion unfolded, a smile spread across my face, for I have believed for some time that the issue of how we communicate is perhaps as important as what we communicate—that is, if we are interested in moving the conversation beyond a very narrow circle.

Archbishop of Detroit urges repentance from ‘the stain of many years of institutional racism’

New “pastoral note” on racism is first in series to be released in wake of year anniversary of landmark Unleash the Gospel

Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron is urging metro Detroit’s Catholic faithful to repent from “the stain of many years of institutional racism,” in a new pastoral note called "Agents for the New Creation," penned one year after he unveiled his vision for the Church in southeast Michigan.

The message is the first in a series of pastoral notes to be released by the archbishop in the coming months. In the new pastoral notes, Archbishop Vigneron will further guide the Church in metro Detroit toward becoming the “joyful band of missionary disciples” he envisioned in Unleash the Gospel, his pastoral letter released at Pentecost 2017. Each note will examine a topic relevant to modern culture and society through the eyes of the pastoral letter.

The first note released Monday comes at the 75th anniversary of the civil unrest of 1943 in Detroit, which lasted from June 20-22, took the lives of 34 people, and injured over 400. In the note, Archbishop Vigneron proclaims the first step in any walk toward sainthood: repentance from sin, including “the stain of many years of institutional racism” on the part of Catholics and others throughout the country.

“Sadly, we are living the wounds of those many years of injustice in our local communities,” the archbishop said in his note. “For the sins of these Catholics past and present, I as your Archbishop am truly sorry.”

In addition to the pastoral note, the archbishop has provided a collection of resources for pastors and educators wishing to engage their communities in conversation, including audio, video and text of a homily addressing racism given by the archbishop earlier this year at a local parish.

Note to Media: Interviews are available with clergy and faithful, reacting to the archbishop’s renewed call to repent from the sin of racism:

  • Leon Dixon, Coordinator of Black Catholic Ministry
  • Msgr. Daniel Trapp, spiritual director at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and pastor of St. Augustine and St. Monica Parish.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Holly Fournier, media relations manager, at (313) 237-5802 or fournier.holly @aod.org.

CYO’s Catholic Coaching IS Ministry Aligned With Vatican Pronouncement

(Detroit June 11, 2018)

Giving the best of yourself: a Document on the Christian perspective on sport and the human person, released by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Laity, the Family and Life, is the Vatican’s first official document on sport and provides an expanded treatment of the Christian relationship to sport and the impact on participants, families and communities.  Pope Francis affirmed the importance of the document, saying "sports can be an instrument of encounter, formation, mission and sanctification.” 

CYO’s “Catholic Coaching IS Ministry” (CCIM) initiative was developed to align with the Catholic Church’s perspective on the significant value of athletics and to deal with some of the real challenges in the youth sport culture.  It was those challenges, outlined by the Archbishop during a change in leadership at CYO, which sparked the development of the initiative.  Catholic Coaching IS Ministry supports a “ministerial approach” to elevating the youth sport culture and refocusing toward fun, fairness, faithfulness, and development.

Sandy Werth, Athletic Director for CYO says, “CYO Athletics is entering into a new phase, a vision of transforming the league into one that encourages missionary discipleship through sports. With our Catholic Coaching IS Ministry initiative, we are challenging ourselves as well as our Athletic Directors & coaches to provide children and parents with the highest quality faith-based sports experience possible.”

Catholic Coaching IS Ministry works to educate coaches and parents against the dangers of highly competitive children's sports, pressures to win '"at all costs" and the unsportsmanlike or violent behavior of fans.  Chris Werner, Executive Director of CYO, sums it up this way, “With Catholic Coaching IS Ministry, we are changing the direction of CYO athletics to emphasize development of the whole athlete, physically, emotionally, their playing ability, and above all their spirituality.  The focus of CYO Athletics is not the sport, not the competition, and not the outcome.”  Catholic Coaching IS Ministry emphasizes how youth sports must always include fun. “Athletic competition is meant to engage and bring out the best in players,” Werner adds, “it is not meant to engage an enemy who must be vanquished – CYO does not stand for Crush Your Opponent.”

In addition to the role of coaches, the program also focuses attention on parent behavior.  The “Giving of Yourself” document says it plainly. "Parents have a responsibility of showing children that they are loved for who they are, not for their successes, appearance or physical abilities."  There is a large parental education element embedded within Catholic Coaching IS Ministry. 

The document also comments on the effect of sports on families.  “If sport runs the risk of being the occasion to divide a family and to diminish the sanctity of Sunday as a holy day to uphold, it also can help integrate a family with other families in the celebration of Sunday, not only in the liturgy but in the life of the community. This does not mean that sport matches should not take place on Sundays, but rather, such events must not excuse families from attending Mass and should also promote the life of the family within the community.” CYO has always put Mass above competition as CYO events on Sunday begin after 1pm and parish Mass schedules are always taken into consideration when building game schedules.  Presently, one-third of CYO parishes schedule family events around Sunday competitions including team masses, family BBQs, and parish wide celebrations.

The full text of the document is available here, along with a letter by Pope Francis that offers his support and comments on the document.

About Catholic Youth Organization

Since 1933 the Catholic Youth Organization has been enriching families and strengthening communities across Southeast Michigan with youth programs that embrace the love and example of Jesus Christ without regard to race, religion, or economic situation. 

CYO operates four main programs, athletics; youth leadership; spiritual scouting; and summer camps for boys and girls.  It is through these programs that the mission of CYO, “Mentoring today’s youth, empowering strong Christian leaders” will be accomplished.

For more information contact Chris Werner @ cwerner@cyodetroit.org  or 313-963-7172 ext.1


Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind: A Reflection on the Irish Referendum

I will confess that as a person of Irish heritage on both sides of my family, I found the events in Ireland last week particularly dispiriting. Not only did the nation vote, by a two-to-one margin, for the legal prerogative to kill their children in the womb, but they also welcomed and celebrated the vote with a frankly sickening note of gleeful triumph. Accompanying the entire process, of course, was the subtext of the Catholic Church’s cultural impotence, even irrelevance, in the wake of the great crimes of the last several decades. Is there a way forward for Ireland?

Reverend Wayne Epperley, CSSp

Reverend Wayne Epperley, CSSp appointed Temporary Administrator of Holy Family Parish, Detroit, effective May 21, 2018.  Father Epperley is currently serving as Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Greektown.

Archdiocese to host regional gathering of Hispanic Catholic leaders June 2-3 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron will join bishops, clergy, and faithful from throughout Michigan and Ohio for the regional V (Fifth) Encuentro gathering June 2 and 3 at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, located at 2701 Chicago Blvd in Detroit.

Reverend Bradley Forintos

Reverend Bradley Forintos appointed Associate Pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, Port Huron, effective June 30, 2018.  Father Forintos is currently serving as Pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Trenton.

Three men to be ordained priests on Saturday for the Archdiocese of Detroit

Detroit archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on Saturday will ordain three men to the Catholic priesthood for the Archdiocese of Detroit: Deacons Christopher Muer, Mark Livingston, and John Maksym.

Reverend Terry Donahue, CC

Reverend Terry Donahue, CC appointed Associate Chaplain of Wayne State Chaplaincy, effective June 30, 2018.  Father Donahue will be returning from sabbatical.

Reverend Mario Amore

Reverend Mario Amore appointed Associate Pastor of St. Hugo of the Hills Parish, Bloomfield Hills, effective June 30, 2018.  Father Amore is currently serving as Associate Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, Farmington.