Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit (Latin: Archidiœcesis Detroitensis) is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church covering (as of 2005) the Michigan counties of Lapeer, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne. It is the metropolitan archdiocese for the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Detroit, which includes all dioceses in the state of Michigan. In addition, in 2000 the archdiocese accepted pastoral responsibility[2] for the Roman Catholic Church in the Cayman Islands, which consists of Saint Ignatius Parish[3] on Grand Cayman (the Archdiocese of Kingston maintains a mission sui iuris jurisdiction over the Cayman Islands).[4]

Archdiocese of Detroit

Archidiœcesis Detroitensis
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament (Detroit, Michigan) - exterior.JPG
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Country United States
TerritoryCounties of Lapeer, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, and Wayne
Ecclesiastical provinceDetroit
Area3,901 km2 (1,506 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2017)
1,159,688[1] (27.2%)
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedMarch 8, 1833 (188 years ago)
CathedralCathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Patron saintSt. Anne
Current leadership
ArchbishopAllen Henry Vigneron
Auxiliary BishopsGerard William Battersby
José Cepeda
Robert Joseph Fisher
Donald Hanchon
Vicar GeneralVery Rev. Jeff Day
Bishops emeritusAdam Joseph Cardinal Maida
Thomas Gumbleton
Francis R. Reiss
Archdiocese of Detroit map 1.png

Established as the Diocese of Detroit on March 8, 1833, it was elevated to archiepiscopal status on May 22, 1937. Ste. Anne's in Detroit is the second oldest continuously-operating Roman Catholic Parish in the United States dating from July 26, 1701; it now serves a large Hispanic congregation.[5][6]

The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, located at 9844 Woodward Avenue, in Detroit has served as the mother church since 1938. Earlier cathedrals were: Ste. Anne de Detroit, 1833 to 1848;[7] Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 1848 to 1877;[8] 1877 to 1890, St. Aloysius (as pro-cathedral), 1890 to 1938, St. Patrick's Church at 124 Adelaide Street.[9]


Ste. Anne de Détroit, founded in 1701, is the second oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in the United States. The present church was completed in 1887.

Before the Diocese of Detroit was formed, Michigan had been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Diocese of Quebec from 1701 until sometime after 1796; de facto American sovereignty was established in that year. At the time, the Diocese of Baltimore encompassed the whole of the United States. Upon the creation of diocesan seats at Bardstown (1808) and later, at Cincinnati (1821), Detroit and Michigan were assigned to those sees.

Pope Gregory XVI formed the Diocese of Detroit March 8, 1833, and named Frederick Rese as its first bishop. At the time it covered Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Dakotas to the Missouri River. In 1843, all territory of the diocese not incorporated into the State of Michigan was transferred to the Diocese of Milwaukee.

On July 29, 1853, Pope Pius IX formed the Vicarate Apostolic of Upper Michigan, with responsibility for the Upper Peninsula. The territory of the diocese would be further reduced to its current size by the organization of the dioceses of Grand Rapids (1882), Lansing (1937), and shortly after the see was elevated to the status of an archdiocese, Saginaw (1938).[1]

The son of Prussian Polish immigrants, Rev. John A. Lemke, born in Detroit on February 10, 1866, was the first native-born Roman Catholic priest of Polish descent to be ordained in America. He was baptized at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church (1843), at the corner of St. Antoine and Croghan (Monroe Street), on February 18, 1866, attended St. Albertus for his primary education, and studied at Detroit College (now the University of Detroit Mercy), where he received a bachelor's degree in 1884. After attending St. Mary's in Baltimore, he completed his theological studies at St. Francis Seminary in Monroe, Michigan, and he was ordained by Bishop John Samuel Foley in 1889. His added confirmation name was Aloysius.[10]

In January 1989, Cardinal Edmund Szoka implemented a controversial plan to close 30 churches within the city of Detroit. He also ordered 25 other parishes to improve their situation or also face closure.[11] The plan resulted from a five-year study which analyzed maintenance costs, priest availability, parish income and membership before recommending closure of 43 parishes.[12]

The Associationa of Religion Data Archives indicated a Catholic membership in the archdiocese of 907,605.[13]

Former archdiocesan coat of arms, 1937–2017

On May 5, 2011, Archbishop Allen Vigneron announced that Pope Benedict XVI approved his request to name Saint Anne as patroness of Detroit. The Papal decree stated that Saint Anne has been the city's patroness since time immemorial.[14]

On February 21, 2012, Vigneron announced a second plan to consolidate churches to address declining membership and clergy availability within the archdiocese. Under the plan, two parishes would close in 2012 and 60 others were to consolidate into 21 by the end of 2013. Six additional parishes were asked to submit a viable plan to repay debt or merge with other churches and the remaining 214 parishes in the archdiocese were asked to submit plans by the end of 2012 to share resources or merge.[15]

On June 3, 2017, the archdiocese adopted a new coat of arms featuring the archdiocesan patroness St. Anne, three stars representing the Trinity, a door representing Blessed Solanus Casey of Detroit, and waves representing the Great Lakes. It replaced a coat of arms featuring antlers and martlets that was adopted upon the diocese's elevation to archdiocese in 1937.[16]

Reports of Sex AbuseEdit

In August 2002, four priests who served in the Archdiocese of Detroit were arrested and charged with committing acts of sex abuse against minors in the Detroit area as far back as the 1960s.[17] All four priests, Harry Benjamin, Rev. Robert Burkholder, Rev. Edward Olszewski, Jason E. Sigler,[17] were convicted in 2003.

On May 24, 2019, it was revealed that five priests who served in the Archdiocese of Detroit and its suffragan Dioceses of Lansing and Kalamazoo were charged with sex abuse.[18] Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, who charged the priests, stated that four of them have been arrested in Arizona, California, Florida and Michigan, and the fifth awaits extradition from India.[18] A sixth priest who faces an administrative complaint has had his counseling license suspended by the state.[18] Two of the charged priests, Patrick Casey and Neil Kalina, answered directly to the Archdiocese of Detroit. Kalina, who was arrested in California, was charged with four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a boy between the ages of 12 and 14 and for also supplying the boy with cocaine and marijuana. Casey, who was arrested in the Michigan city of Oak Park, was charged with raping a suicidal gay man in his 20s whom Casey was counseling during confession.[19]

On July 7, 2019, the Archdiocese of Detroit announced the removal of prominent priest Rev. Eduard Perrone from public ministry in the Diocese, after determining that allegations that he sexually abused a child decades ago were "credible." This action by the Archdiocese and the accusation has been contested by many, including the accuser's longtime friend. Fr. Perrone has maintained his innocence.[20] In August 2020, Fr. Perrone won a defamation lawsuit against the detective who was found to have fabricated evidence against him in the accusations. The Archdiocese of Detroit has as of yet refused to reinstate him. Twenty of the parishioners of his Parish of Assumption Grotto in Detroit, have sued the Archdiocese claiming the church leadership framed Fr. Perrone on ideological grounds and as retribution since he is a traditionalist Catholic priest who has exposed other church scandals in the past. [21]

On July 8, 2019, local priest Rev. Joseph "Jack" Baker was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct with someone under 13. In June 2019, the Archdiocese of Detroit placed limits on Baker's public ministry.[22]

On October 8, 2019, Casey pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of aggravated assault after a Detroit area-jury struggled to obtain the unanimous votes needed to convict him on the more serious charge of third degree sexual conduct. This charge carries a maximum sentence of only one year in prison. At this time, it was also reported that Kalina was not out on bond and still remained incarcerated at the Macomb County jail.[23]Kalina had been convicted of the drug distribution charge in July 1985.[24] However, Baker remains free on bond.[23]

On September 29, 2020, former Archdiocese of Detroit priest Gary Berthiaume was arrested at his home in Warrendale, Illinois on charges sexually assaulting a teenager at the rectory of Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington in 1977.[25] The same year, Gerthiaume was arrested for sexually abusing two minors and served six months in the Oakland County Jail before being transferred out of the state of Michigan.[25] On October 19, 2020, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Berthiaume with second-degree sexual assault, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison if convicted.[26] On December 2, 2020, Assistant Attorney General Danielle Russo Bennetts stated during a pre-trial hearing that further investigation revealed that Berthiaume had two other possible sex abuse victims. 47th District Judge James Brady also denied Berthiaume, who had living at a hotel in Brighton after posting a $50,000 bond, the right to leave Michigan before the outcome of his trial, agreeing with the prosecution's argument that his previous convictions made him a flight risk.[27]

On December 14, 2020, a lawsuit was filed alleging that both governing board of the Catholic institution Orchard Lakes Schools and Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron, knew of abuse that Orchard Lake Schools head Rev. Miroslaw Krol-an employee of the Archdiocese of Newark was sexually abusing male employees who worked at the school, which consists of a SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School and a Polish cultural center. Ned McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Detroit, stated that the despite being located within the Archdiocese of Detroit, the seminary is was not run by the Archdiocese. However, McGrath also acknowledged that Vigneron is a Orchard Lakes Schools governing board member.[28]


Bishops of DetroitEdit

  1. Frederick Rese (1833–1871)
    - Peter Paul Lefevere (coadjutor bishop 1841–1869); died before succession
  2. Caspar Borgess (1871–1887)
  3. John Samuel Foley (1888–1918)
  4. Michael Gallagher (1918–1937)

Archbishops of DetroitEdit

  1. Cardinal Edward Aloysius Mooney (1937–1958)
  2. Cardinal John Francis Dearden (1958–1980)
  3. Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka (1981–1990), appointed President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and later President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and Governatorate of Vatican City State
  4. Cardinal Adam Joseph Maida (1990–2009)[29]
  5. Allen Henry Vigneron (2009–present)[30]

Current auxiliary bishops of DetroitEdit

Former auxiliary bishops of DetroitEdit

Other priests of this diocese who became bishopsEdit

Churches and regionsEdit

The Detroit Archdiocese is divided into four administrative regions: Central (City of Detroit); Northeast (including Macomb and St. Clair Counties), Northwest (including Oakand and Lapeer Counties), and South (including Monroe County, the Downriver area, and the cities of Dearborn, Livonia, and Plymouth). Each of the four regions is further divided into smaller administrative areas known as vicariates.[32] A list of churches in each of these regions and vicariates is found at List of Roman Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of Detroit.


As of 2013 the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit had 96 schools with 30,000 students. As of 2013 there are four Catholic grade schools and three Catholic high schools in the City of Detroit, with all of them in the city's west side.[33]

In the 1964-1965 school year, there were 360 schools operated by the archdiocese, with about 110 grade schools in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park and 55 high schools in those three cities. There were a total of 203,000 students in the Catholic schools. The Catholic school population has decreased due to the increase of charter schools, increasing tuition at Catholic schools, the small number of African-American Catholics, White Catholics moving to suburbs, and the decreased number of teaching nuns.[33]

Universities and collegesEdit

Photo galleryEdit

Suffragan seesEdit

Ecclesiastical Province of Detroit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Archdiocese of Detroit". David M. Cheney. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  2. ^ "St. Ignatius Parish". Archdiocese of Detroit. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  3. ^ "About the parish". Saint Ignatius Parish. July 17, 2010. Archived from the original on March 5, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2011.
  4. ^ "Mission "Sui Iuris" of Cayman Islands". David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  5. ^ Woodford, Arthur M. (2001). This is Detroit 1701–2001. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-8143-2914-6.
  6. ^ Poremba, David Lee (2001). Detroit in Its World Setting (timeline). Wayne State University Press. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-8143-2870-5.
  7. ^ "History". Archdiocese of Detroit. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "History". Ss. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church.,
  9. ^ Austin, Dan. "St. Patrick Catholic Church". Historic Detroit.
  10. ^ Treppa, Alan R. Rev. John A. Lemke: America's First Native Born Roman Catholic Priest.St. Retrieved on July 25, 2008. Archived July 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Cardinal of Detroit Orders 30 Parishes In the City to Close". The New York Times. Associated Press. January 9, 1989. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  12. ^ "Detroit Prelate Backs Plan to Close 43 Churches". Los Angeles Times. October 15, 1988. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  13. ^ "County Membership Report: Wayne County, Michigan". Association of Religion Data Archives. 2010.
  14. ^ Kohn, Joe (May 6, 2011). "Saint Anne declared patroness for Church of Detroit". The Michigan Catholic. Archdiocese of Detroit. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  15. ^ Brand-Williams, Orlandar (February 21, 2012). "31 Catholic parishes face consolidation". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  16. ^ Stechschulte, Mike (June 3, 2017). "Archdiocese's new coat of arms a visual reminder of Church's mission". The Michigan Catholic. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "4 Ex-Detroit Priests Are Charged With Sex Abuse Dating From 60's". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 28, 2002. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  18. ^ a b c "The Latest: 5 priests charged with sex crimes in Michigan". Crux. Associated Press. May 24, 2019.
  19. ^ Warikoo, Niraj (May 24, 2019). "5 Catholic priests charged in Michigan sex abuse investigation". Detroit Free Press.
  20. ^ "Detroit priest removed by archdiocese because of 'credible' sexual abuse allegation". Detroit Free Press. Associated Press. July 7, 2019.
  21. ^ Baldas, Tresa (August 17, 2020). "Suspended priest wins $125K from cop for defamation: She framed me". Detroit Free Press.
  22. ^ "Metro Detroit priest charged with sexually abusing minor". Detroit Free Press. Associated Press.
  23. ^ a b Carmody, Steve (October 8, 2019). "Former Catholic priest takes plea deal in sexual abuse investigation". Michigan Radio News. Associated Press. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  24. ^ Cook, Jameson (July 30, 2019). "Accused Former Macomb County Priest Convicted of Drug Offense in 1985". The Macomb Daily. Retrieved July 10, 2021 – via
  25. ^ a b Neavling, Steve (September 29, 2020). "Former Farmington priest arrested on charges of sexually abusing teenager in 1970s". Metro Times. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  26. ^ Wingblad, Aileen (October 21, 2020). "Former priest charged with sex crime in Farmington returns to court next week". The Oakland Press. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  27. ^ "Clergy Abuse Investigation Continues with Clergymen Back in Court" (Press release). Michigan Attorney General. December 7, 2020. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  28. ^ Kozlowski, Kim (December 14, 2020). "Lawsuit alleges Orchard Lake Schools leader sexually abused, retaliated against male employees". The Detroit News. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  29. ^ "Maida, Adam Joseph". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  30. ^ Kohn, Joe (February 6, 2009). "Archbishop Vigneron installed as 10th chief shepherd of Detroit diocese". The Michigan Catholic. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  31. ^ a b Greilick, John T. (May 5, 2011). "Three auxililiary bishops of Detroit ordained". The Detroit News. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  32. ^ "Region and Vicariate Maps". Archdiocese of Detroit. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  33. ^ a b Montemurri, Patricia (February 1, 2013). "Detroit area's Catholic schools shrink, but tradition endures". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014.
  34. ^ Haddad, Ken (June 12, 2019). "Marygrove College to close in December after 92 years in Detroit". WDIV News.

References and further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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