Two Auxiliary Bishops Named for Archdiocese of Detroit

Mar 22, 2011
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Ned McGrath, Director of Public Affairs

Pope Benedict XVI has named two local priests, Monsignor Donald Hanchon and Father Michael Byrnes, to be auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Detroit. Bishops-designate Hanchon and Byrnes will be ordained as the archdiocese's 26th and 27th auxiliary bishops, respectively, on May 5 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. Auxiliary bishops aid the archbishop in the pastoral care of the archdiocese.

Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron introduced both men at 11:30 a.m. at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. In their roles as bishops, Bishop-designate Hanchon will retain his administrative responsibilities for the parishes and priests of the Central Region. Bishop-designate Byrnes will assume administrative responsibilities for the Northeast Region beginning July 1.

"It's a great blessing for the archdiocese to have auxiliary bishops to lead two of the pastoral regions, as well as to perform other pastoral duties inherent in a bishop's role," Archbishop Vigneron said. "Certainly it's an honor for a priest to be selected for this level of responsibility. More than an honor, it's about new capacity for sharing Christ with others."

Bishop-designate Donald Hanchon

Bishop-designate Hanchon, 63, was born in Jackson, attended St. Mary grade school in Wayne and Sacred Heart Seminary High School in Detroit. He attended Sacred Heart Seminary, St. John's Provincial Seminary, University of Notre Dame, and University of Detroit, and was ordained a priest Oct. 19, 1974 at St. Mary Church in Wayne by Bishop Joseph Imesch. He has spent his priesthood serving at a number of parishes in Detroit, Monroe, Warren and Port Huron. He has been pastor of Holy Redeemer in Detroit since 1999 and in 2009 was named episcopal vicar for the archdiocese's Central Region. He also has taught at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and has served as archdiocesan coordinator for Hispanic ministries.

"I renew my confidence in God's grace, and humbly accede to the Holy Father's wish to appoint me as a bishop to work under Archbishop Vigneron in the service of the people of the Archdiocese of Detroit," said Bishop-designate Hanchon. "I promise obedience because I believe that the God who began this good work in me all those years ago will indeed bring it to fulfillment. I thank Archbishop Vigneron for his trust in me, and his joyful encouragement to serve."

Bishop-designate Michael Byrnes

Bishop-designate Byrnes, 52, was born in Detroit and went to St. Mary of Redford grade school and Detroit Catholic Central High School, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Michigan. He began ministerial work in campus ministry at Eastern Michigan University, became involved in the Charismatic Renewal, and entered Sacred Heart Major Seminary in 1990. He was ordained a priest May 25, 1996, by Cardinal Adam Maida at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit. He later received a doctorate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He has taught at the seminary and ministered at parishes. He has been vice rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish in Detroit since 2004.

"I am honored that the Holy Father and Archbishop Vigneron have such confidence in me to make this appointment. I will do my best not to let them down," said Bishop-designate Byrnes. "I love being a priest of Jesus Christ, and I have loved my work helping young men discern and prepare for the priesthood, and as the pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish to enable the ministry of administrator Deacon Hubert Sanders. Archbishop Vigneron mentioned to me that my assignment as auxiliary bishop will entail 'helping parishes and helping priests.' I place my trust in God's providence that these experiences, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will help me to do that."

In the Detroit archdiocese, Bishops-designate Hanchon and Byrnes join Auxiliary Bishop Francis Reiss and retired Auxiliary Bishops Moses Anderson, SSE, and Thomas Gumbleton. Archbishop Allen Vigneron serves as chief shepherd for the 1.4 million Catholics who reside in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Lapeer and St. Clair Counties.