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Unleash the Gospel

Jesus Christ makes all things new!

He Himself is at work to renew His Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s 2017 pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel, begins with this statement of hope. The letter represents his vision – inspired by the Holy Spirit – of an archdiocese full of joyful missionary disciples and saints united in Jesus. But, this isn’t just a letter – it’s a movement – a movement of the Holy Spirit who is transforming our archdiocese into a missionary diocese. The letter also is a charter for how to best accomplish this work in parishes, families, schools and at Central Services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I read Unleash the Gospel? 

Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral letter can be read online or downloaded as a PDF at unleashthegospel.org. An illustrated print edition is available for purchase from store.aod.org. Parishes can order copies in bulk through the AOD printshop. Additionally for those interested in further reflecting on Archbishop Vigneron's  Unleash the Gospel pastoral letter, a new audio version is available for streaming or download on Soundcloud. It will soon be available in Amazon and Apple audiobooks and on Audible.

Is Unleash the Gospel a document? An initiative? Both? Something else?

Unleash the Gospel carries multiple meanings. It is the name of a document written by Archbishop Vigneron and released at Pentecost in 2017, summarizing the work of Synod 16. At the same time, it is the Holy Spirit’s movement in the Archdiocese of Detroit – and our vision to become a missionary diocese sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with all we meet.  

What is a pastoral letter?

Bishops are first and foremost pastors. Their primary duty is to shepherd the faithful toward a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. One of the primary ways in which they do this is by writing letters on some aspect of the faith. Just as the Holy Father writes letters to the bishops, clergy and faithful of the worldwide Church, a local bishop periodically writes letters to his priests and to the faithful of his diocese.

In the Archdiocese of Detroit, Archbishop Vigneron released Unleash the Gospel following our archdiocesan Synod 16 on the New Evangelization.

Why did Archbishop Vigneron write this letter?

Facing multiple generations of decline in sacraments, parish and school closures, and an overall decline of religious observance, the Church in the United States is in need of renewal. Our neighbors do not know Jesus. This is evident in the violence, polarization, dissolution of the family, erosion of social cohesiveness, and many other social ills we see today.

In writing his letter, Archbishop Vigneron calls for a renewal of the Church, in the spirit of Pope Francis’ 2013 document on evangelization, Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).

Why did he write it now?

Unleash the Gospel was written following a period of discernment after Synod 16. At the Synod, themes and propositions were discussed and voted on by synod members. Archbishop Vigneron, led by the Holy Spirit, gathered the Synod propositions and wrote Unleash the Gospel as a pastoral letter to the faithful of the archdiocese. As a fruit of Synod 16, it is a grace-filled document laying out a series of action steps to steer the archdiocese toward a new Pentecost, becoming an attractive and joyful missionary Church. It’s essentially the archdiocese’s charter.

Is this some sort of membership drive to swell the ranks of the Catholic Church?

No. Unleash the Gospel is not about attracting new people to fill the pews. Rather, it is about leading others to a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ through the Catholic Church, which he founded.

How come I haven’t heard about Unleash the Gospel at my parish or school?

Many pastors are enthusiastically moving their parishes from maintenance to mission. At these parishes, the message of Unleash the Gospel is part of the life of the parish through preaching, bulletins, intercessory prayer, study/reflection groups, and in other ways. But every parish/school is different. Unleash the Gospel may become ingrained in the life of a parish or school in its own time and in its own way. Archbishop Vigneron has said that this is the work of a generation and not of a few months or years. The Archdiocese hosted a Parish Renewal Day in November to provide resources to parish leadership teams, and to pray and reflect on how we can best proclaim the Gospel.

What can I do to help unleash the Gospel in the Archdiocese of Detroit?

Pray that the Holy Spirit, the principal agent for unleashing the Gospel, will share with us His unlimited divine power to feed the spiritual hunger in southeast Michigan. Ask for the intercession of Mary, Star of the New Evangelization, that she will inspire us with confidence that the Lord hears our prayers and will not fail to answer. Click here to sign up for occasional emails with specific prayer intentions. Above all, make it your mission to live your calling as a joyful missionary disciple, boldly sharing the power of the Gospel in everything you do.

Sign up to receive daily, weekly or monthly email digests from Detroit Catholic, the Archdiocese’s new digital news source with articles about our local Church in southeast Michigan; the nation and world; and the Vatican and Pope Francis.

Learn more by listening to a new podcast the archdiocese launched in November 2018 called Open Door Policy. It is hosted by the Fr. Steve Pullis, Director of Evangelization, Catechesis, and Schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit, and St. Augustine & St. Monica parishioner Danielle Center. 

Season 1 of Open Door Policy will feature six episodes in which Fr. Steve and Danielle interview fellow joyful missionary disciples from around the archdiocese to learn more about their work as they strive to unleash the Gospel in southeast Michigan. During the show, guests share their personal testimonies, their stories of encountering Jesus Christ and their decisions to follow Him. They also talk about the pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel.

The name of the podcast, Open Door Policy, is a tribute to Blessed Solanus Casey, God's doorkeeper, and reflects God's call for the Archdiocese to be mission-focused and to go out and share the Gospel – the most radical, beautiful and life-changing message of all time.

You can download the Open Door Policy on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Additionally for those interested in further reflecting on Archbishop Vigneron's  Unleash the Gospel pastoral letter, a new audio version is available for streaming or download on Soundcloud. It will soon be available in Amazon and Apple audiobooks and on Audible.

Was the six-day challenge part of the effort to unleash the Gospel?

Yes! The Archdiocese of Detroit sent missionary disciples to speak at every Mass in the archdiocese the weekend of November 13-14, 2018 to encourage the faithful to take a six-day challenge to learn about how we can unleash the Gospel in our homes, parishes and beyond. You can sign up to take the challenge here. The challenge consists of watching a short one- to two-minute video for six days and reflecting on questions related to the video.

Where can I get more information and resources?

More information and resources are available at unleashthegospel.org.

Are resources available in Spanish?

The pastoral letter is available in Spanish on unleashthegospel.org.

Posted: January 2019