Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord:
The sacramental, ministerial, and operational strength of our parishes in southeast Michigan is a reflection of the pastoral leadership, the commitment and generosity of the lay faithful, and community evangelization unique to each parish. Our parishes make it possible for us to fulfill our archdiocesan mission of sharing Christ in and through the Church. This is our mission as one people of faith in the Archdiocese of Detroit – to bring ourselves, our loved ones, our friends, and our neighbors to know the love of Jesus Christ.
The strength and vitality of a parish can be measured through the involvement of the faithful in sacramental life including Mass attendance and participation in reconciliation, engagement in parish ministries such as Christian service to those in need, and in financial contributions that provide the wherewithal for parish and archdiocesan ministries and operations.
On the recommendations of two commissions I appointed in 2009, it was clear that reforms to archdiocesan Central Services finances and operations had to be implemented. As a practical matter, and as a matter of good stewardship, it was necessary to initiate and sustain these changes. While more needs to be done, we have achieved much. To be good stewards of the resources provided by you, the faithful, we have also implemented reforms to improve the transparency of financial information and parishioner engagement in every parish of the Archdiocese of Detroit.
In 2011, for the first time in more than two decades, we updated the handbook that outlines policies and procedures for every parish in the Archdiocese. In addition to every parish being required to have a parish pastoral council, every parish must now also have a finance council. It is my intent that these and other improvements will foster better collaboration and oversight involving pastors and lay leaders, and more firmly establish a culture of Christian stewardship in each parish. It is my intent to continue these reforms among parishes and archdiocesan Central Services to change the culture for our common work.
While I have previously communicated on archdiocesan financial issues, it is appropriate to offer you the opportunity to better understand how your financial generosity is administered by your parish and your Archdiocese.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit