Archdiocese of Detroit moves to reorganize Catholic parishes

District plans to form 51 new families of parishes in 2021

DETROIT – The Archdiocese of Detroit has announced plans to form 51 new families of parishes in an effort to better serve worshippers.

Though taking place amid a global health crisis that has affected churchgoers all year, officials say the move is about more than the coronavirus pandemic. The idea to form 51 families of parishes was conceived years ago amid a priest shortage, and is designed to help the diocese become more missionary.

“We had a synod back in 2016 and we firmly believe we’ve been called by the Holy Spirit to go out and bring the good news and bring more people to Jesus Christ,” said Deacon Mike Houghton, Director of Missionary Strategic plans for the Archdiocese of Detroit. “But along the way we had some problems with a priest shortage and this pandemic that have caused us to re-evaluate the structure for which we do it.”

Related: Archdiocese of Detroit extends Mass dispensation due to COVID surge

The 51 families, consisting of 3-8 parishes, will be working together with multiple priests to cover more ground -- which has otherwise been a difficult task for the group, officials say.

“We’ve decided that this is the right time to move forward and to move to our families of parishes where we begin to share resources be more efficient and free up our priests to do the kind of missionary and sacramental work that they need to do,” Houghton said.

The Deacon says the transition will help spread resources and keep the doors of the churches open.

“This allows us to keep the parishes open with fewer clergy and that’s our goal,” Houghton said.

Officials say the transition will happen in two waves: one in January 2021 and the second in July.

So far, it’s believed that no jobs will be lost as a result of the transition.

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