Particular Law Regarding Families of Parishes

On June 1, 2021, Archbishop Vigneron issued a general decree promulgating particular law for the Archdiocese concerning Families of Parishes effective July 1, 2021. The decree made law in the following areas: Family of Parishes Priest’s Covenant, Families of Parishes Pastoral Council, Parish Finance Council, Family Finance Team, Family Mission Support Director, and Vicariate Pastoral Councils. Given its nature and significance, the substantive sections of the decree follows:

I. As concerns the Family of Parishes Priests’ Covenant (Family Priests’ Covenant)

  1. The Archdiocese of Detroit Office for Clergy and Consecrated Life is responsible for preparing and providing to the priests In Solidum or One-Pastor a template that must be used for the creation of the Family Priests’ Covenant.
  2. Within 90 days of the initiation of a Family of Parishes or an assignment of at least one new priest to the Family of Parishes, the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family, with the assistance and consultation of all the priests in the Family, is to produce a Family Priests’ Covenant signed by these priests and remitted to the Vicar for Clergy and Consecrated Life (with the exception of the start of the Family of Parishes on July 1, 2021 (Wave 1) and July 1, 2022 (Wave 2), which will be addressed through separate instruction).
  3. If a Family of Parishes Priests’ Covenant is not submitted to the Vicar for Clergy and Consecrated Life within 90 days of the initiation of a Family or an assignment of at least one new priest to the Family of Parishes, the Vicar for Clergy and Consecrated Life will inform the Regional Moderator and the Regional Moderator will intervene with the priests of the Family to create and execute the Priests’ Covenant for that Family of Parishes.
  4. A concern about the Family Priests’ Covenant not being followed can be presented by any priest in the Family to the In SolidumModerator or to the One-Pastor of the Family for discussion and resolution, using resources available, if necessary, through the Curia’s Human Resource Department and/or the Regional Moderator.
    1. If it concerns an action or omission of an action by the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family, or if there is a conflict of interest on the part of the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family, vis-a-vis the concern, the matter may be brought directly to the Regional Moderator.
  5. A concern about a canonical right of a priest In Solidum or in a One-Pastor Family being restricted or denied, or of an obligation being neglected or not fulfilled, is to be brought to the attention of the Regional Moderator for discussion and resolution.


II. As concerns the Family of Parishes Pastoral Council
(Instruction, The pastoral conversion of the Parish community in the service of the evangelizing mission of the Church, Congregation for the Clergy, 7 July 2020)

  1. Within six months of the initiation of a Family of Parishes, the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family, with the assistance and consultation of the priests in the Family, will form a Family Pastoral Council.
  2. Membership in the Family Pastoral Council will be comprised of the priests assigned to the Family and two parishioners from each parish within the Family chosen by whatever election or selection process is decided upon and executed by the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family. Members must be active in the life of their parish.
  3. The In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family is the president of the Family Pastoral Council.
  4. The Family Pastoral Council is consultative, providing input to the priests In Solidum or One-Pastor of the Family on the overall mission and direction of the Family.
  5. The Family Pastoral Council will promote communication and unity among the parishes of the Family and fulfill the role set forth in canon 536 for a pastoral council.
  6. Upon the establishment of a Family Pastoral Council, all former Parish Pastoral Councils in the Family will no longer be required, and the norms that concern the Parish Pastoral Council as presented in the Archdiocesan, Vicariate and Parish Councils Handbook (2013) will no longer have force.
  7. The activity of a Family Pastoral Council will be guided by subsequently issued norms.

III. As concerns the Parish Finance Council (PFC) (canon 537)

  1. As concerns Parish Acts of Greater Importance and Acts of Extraordinary Administration (including Alienation) that are defined in the Parish Finance Council Statutes, the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family must receive the required consultation with PFC members contemporaneously present with him before he makes a final determination to advance such matters for subsequent review.

IV. As concerns the Family Finance Team (FFT)

  1. Within 180 days of the initiation of a Family of Parishes, the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family is to form a Family Finance Team (FFT).
  2. The FFT is comprised of the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family, the Family Mission Support Director, and two representatives from each Parish Finance Council in the Family.
  3. The FFT will advise the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family on financial matters that impact the Family, such as, but not limited to, monitoring shared funding initiatives and review of the financial health of the parishes within the Family.
  4. The In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family is the president of the FFT and chairs the meetings.
  5. If an In Solidum Moderator or One-Pastor of the Family elects to do so, he can remit consultation on matters of Acts of Greater Importance and Acts of Extraordinary Administration that would otherwise be treated at a PFC meeting to an FFT meeting; in which case, all PFC members for the parish for which the matter concerns are to be invited to the FFT meeting, and only those PFC members provide the required consultation.
  6. Given that one of the tasks of the FFT is to promote the financial wellbeing of all the parishes in the Family, the FFT members are to be informed in a timely manner of any Acts of Greater Importance and Acts of Extraordinary Administration approved by a PFC apart from an FFT meeting.
  7. The activity of a FFT will be guided by subsequently issued norms.

V. As concerns the Family Mission Support Director (Mission Support Director)

  1. 2. No more than 60 days after the formation of a Family of Parishes or a vacancy in the position, and after the In Solidum Moderator has consulted the priests In Solidum and where possible the Family Finance Team or, in the case of the One-Pastor, that he has consulted the Parochial Vicars and the Family Finance Team, the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family is to appoint a Family Mission Support Director (MSD) for the Family of Parishes.
  2. The MSD assists the In Solidum priests or One-Pastor of the Family in:
    1. acquiring, administering, and alienating of goods belonging to the parishes in the Family as set forth in the Parish Finance Council Statutes and the Family Priests’ Covenant.
    2. overseeing the parish budgets for the Family of Parishes.
    3. coordinating the work of the Parish Finance Councils and Family Finance Team, for which the In Solidum Moderator (on behalf of all the In Solidum priests and as indicated in the Family Priests’ Covenant) or One-Pastor of the Family remain responsible.
  3. The MSD is directed and supervised by the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family, and concerns relating to the duties of the MSD must be referred to the same.
  4. Termination of employment of the MSD may be made by the In Solidum Moderator or the One-Pastor of the Family after consultation with (a) the Regional Moderator, (b) the Archdiocesan Human Resources Department, and (c) in the case of In Solidum, the In Solidum priests.

VI. As concerns the Vicariate Pastoral Councils (VPC)

  1. The obligation to form and conduct Vicariate Pastoral Councils is suspended beginning July 1, 2021, without prejudice to the judgment of the respective Vicar forane to continue VPC activity through a terminal date not later than July 1, 2022.
  2. Any and all Archdiocesan particular law relating to the Vicariate Pastoral Council is abrogated effective July 1, 2022.

For more information on the content of is decree, contact the Chancellor’s Office: chancellor@aod.org