Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron today announced that Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Arturo Cepeda will succeed Margie Crooks, PhD, to become the next Director of the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis, and Schools for the Archdiocese of Detroit, effective January 1, 2013. Dr. Crooks, who has served as director since 2009, tendered her resignation as she plans to return to Indiana with her husband and children. Dr. Crooks will remain as director through 2012 and will serve in a consulting role through June 2013 to ensure a smooth transition.
“As Dr. Crooks has explained to me and her co-workers, her husband’s employment situation is such that he has been working in Indiana and commuting to Michigan every weekend for the past year and a half. After prayer and discernment, they have together arrived at the decision to move their family back to Indiana,” Archbishop Vigneron explained in a letter to priests in the Archdiocese. “Dr. Crooks has made an enormous impact upon our efforts to advance our mission of sharing Christ in and through the Church. Her many gifts have been placed selflessly at the service of our local church and she will be greatly missed. She has been one of my chief co-workers for more than three years, and I am forever grateful for her fine service.”
Bishop Cepeda, 43, was ordained a bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit in May 2011. He has been serving as regional moderator of the Northwest Region of the Archdiocese of Detroit, aiding Archbishop Vigneron in pastoral oversight of the region’s parishes. He will maintain his moderator duties, assisted by Episcopal Vicar Monsignor John Zenz, while assuming his new role. Bishop Cepeda’s experience in education dates to his years in the Archdiocese of San Antonio – where he had been ordained a priest, and where he served until becoming a bishop in Detroit. In the San Antonio Archdiocese, he had served as rector, and previously vice rector, of Assumption Seminary. He also had served as vocations director, taught at Oblate School of Theology, and was a formation faculty member of St. Peter Upon the Water: A Center for Spiritual Direction.
“Since his arrival in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Bishop Cepeda has shown himself to be a catalyst for renewal with enthusiasm and vibrant preaching,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “He has a passion for Catholic education and promoting the New Evangelization. His many leadership responsibilities over the years will be put to great use in this new role.”
Bishop Cepeda holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the St. Thomas Aquinas Pontifical University in Rome (the “Angelicum”), a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Angelicum, a Master of Arts in Biblical Theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and a Masters of Divinity from Assumption Seminary.
“I thank Archbishop Vigneron for the trust placed in me by placing me as head of this department,” Bishop Cepeda said. “I also want to thank Dr. Margie Crooks for her wonderful leadership and commitment during these past years. My prayers go to her and her family as she continues a new journey in life. I feel humbled and excited to lead the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis & Schools as we face the beginning of the Year of Faith. May our work for the Archdiocese of Detroit reflect with great joy the challenges and blessings of the New Evangelization!”
In addition to naming Bishop Cepeda the next Director of Evangelization, Catechesis and Schools, Archbishop Vigneron announced that Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes will lead key efforts in the Archdiocese of Detroit related to evangelization. In a pastoral letter issued earlier this year, titled “Forward in Hope to Share Christ,” Archbishop Vigneron detailed the need to embrace the New Evangelization – which he described as “a renewed effort to take up the Church’s perennial mission with new ardor, new methods, and new forms of expression.” The Archbishop announced that Bishop Byrnes has been appointed to provide leadership in planning a local synod, cooperating with local Church leaders, and spearheading various other efforts focused on the New Evangelization.
“Simply put, our neighbors need to know the Good News about Jesus,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “As a Scripture scholar with a deep love of Jesus and much experience in this area, Bishop Byrnes is ideally suited to lead these efforts.”
Bishop Byrne’s responsibilities related to the New Evangelization take effect immediately. Bishop Byrnes will continue to serve as regional moderator of the Northeast Region of the Archdiocese of Detroit.