Detroit Establishing Traditional Latin Mass Parish

Detroit Establishing Traditional Latin Mass Parish

Institute of Christ the King to take over downtown Detroit parish in October


by Rodney Pelletier • ChurchMilitant • August 29, 2016

DETROIT – A parish solely dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass is being established in Detroit.

Archdiocese of Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hanchon made the announcement on August 28 during a town hall meeting at St. Joseph Church. The church, currently part of Mother of Divine Mercy parish, will be leased to the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (the Institute) and renamed St. Joseph Oratory.

The Institute is one of several well-known groups exclusively using the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) instead of the 1970 version of the Mass instituted by Pope Paul VI, known as the Ordinary Form.

A pamphlet issued to people at the meeting notes:

The Institute provides more than a once weekly Tridentine, or Extraordinary Form, Mass. It not only offers all liturgies in the Extraordinary Form but everything they do, including all Sacraments — Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, and Sacramental Preparation, Religious Education, etc., all occur within the Extraordinary Form.

Bishop Hanchon noted that, for some time, Abp. Allen Vigneron has been telling the auxiliary bishops in their weekly meetings he wants St. Joseph’s to be a shrine because of its “rich history and beautiful buildings.”

He disclosed that the Institute approached the archbishop about a month ago, asking if there was a parish it could use. Discussions about establishing a parish exclusively dedicated to the TLM started nearly 10 years ago with both the Institute and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter looking for a church in Detroit.

In 2007 Pope Benedict XVI released his document “Summorum Pontificum” allowing priests — with a few exceptions — to pray the TLM without express permission from their bishops. In light of the newly released document, Abp. Vigneron chose to suspend discussions in order to see the impact the document would have on parishes in the archdiocese.

The TLM had been regularly celebrated with permission of Detroit’s archbishop since 2004 owing to the efforts of a group of laymen. From 2007 it spread to Assumption Grotto parish, and now, owing to the organization Juventutem Michigan, parishes and young people throughout the archdiocese have several opportunities to enjoy the traditional liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.

ChurchMilitant, who was at the meeting, was told by a source that Abp. Vigneron has emphasized that Catholics deserve to have comprehensive pastoral care, and that it requires pastors who have been formed exclusively to offer the TLM and are dedicated to it.

ChurchMilitant noted in a 2015 report that Detroit’s steady spiritual decline began with Cdl. John Dearden, the “leading liberal voice” of the Church in America. He was in charge of the archdiocese from 1958–1980, and the decline continues today. Since 1989 more than 80 parishes in Detroit have been closed or merged.

At the meeting, Bp. Hanchon noted to parishioners, “I’m tired of having people say, ‘That’s all you ever do is close places.’ And I’m happy to say that’s not the case. If we don’t have to, we don’t do it.”

Although no agreement has yet been signed between the archdiocese and the Institute, Bp. Hanchon said, “All signs seem very positive.” A contract between the archdiocese and the Institute is expected to be signed on October 7 and the first solemn Mass said on Sunday, October 16.

Bishop Hanchon noted in the meeting that the Institute, in the 12 other cities it has a parish, has resurrected a dead or dying parish after it took over. He noted, “Hopefully within a year we’re able to look back at this date as the date that we turned the page and moved into something very positive.”

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3 comments on “Detroit Establishing Traditional Latin Mass Parish

  1. [Whereas the Catholic Church in England prefers to close and demolish churches rather than turn them over to traditional Latin Mass groups or the Ordinariate for converts from Anglicanism. For an example of the latter, see Britain’s Ordinariate is in peril: Hostility from the authorities has put the Ordinariate’s future in danger]


    Historic Catholic church torn down

    St Gregory’s Church, before its demolition:




    After (hypothetical, not yet built):


    8/30/16 / Daniel Holland, reporter

    THE last remnants of a Farnworth church are to be torn down.

    Contractors have been carrying out demolition work at St Gregory The Great Roman Catholic Church, which will make way for a children’s play area, and are close to flattening the 19th century structure.

    The grade II listed building, on the corner of Presto Street and Church Street, will be replaced with a soft play and multi-use games areas to be used by the neighbouring St Gregory’s RC Primary School.

    More than £150,000 had been invested into maintaining the church since its ceased being a place of worship in 1997, but the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford opted to demolish the derelict building after deciding it had no future.

    Last month, The Bolton News reported that four churches and eight parishes in Bolton could be axed in a radical shake-up of the Catholic church.

    St Gregory’s was built between 1873 and 1875, the presbytery was erected in 1896, and the parish hall in 1929.

    In a report submitted to Bolton Council, the diocese said that some features of the church could be re-used elsewhere, sold, or donated to a museum.

    * * *

  2. Any word from architectural restoration experts, historical societies, or the Historic Trust on St Gregory The Great (1873)? Why isn’t it a registered historic landmark?

    • The pictures show that the church is now completely demolished.

      The latter part of the article (which I omitted) includes a hand-wringing statement from the English Heritage that “It did not believe there was a robust and clear justification for total demolition.”

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