Archbishop to mark Ash Wednesday at Downtown Church, Introduce Area-Wide Effort to ‘Unleash the Gospel’

Feb 8, 2016
Archbishop Vigneron Ash WednesdayThis Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron will celebrate Mass and distribute ashes at 12:15 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church in Detroit. At the liturgy, the archbishop will speak about a flurry of new local activities meant to energize Catholics to share the Gospel, stave off ambivalence toward God, and grow the local Catholic Church after years of decline. The Archbishop will give those at the Mass – and Catholics throughout the archdiocese – what he calls a new rally cry to “Unleash the Gospel.”   
“We have been asking God for radical changes – in our hearts, in our homes and in our culture,” says Archbishop Vigneron in a message that will be given to the 225 Catholic parishes in southeast Michigan in the weeks following Ash Wednesday. “Jesus has entrusted us with His Good News… Watching the world slip away without embracing the Gospel is a temptation from the father of lies. Our counterattack is to widen the circle of those who belong to Jesus, for the glory of his Father and for the love of our neighbors. This is our chance to do something great, if we let the Holy Spirit be great within us!”
The phrase “Unleash the Gospel” relates to a number of worship events, personal enrichment experiences and special Church celebrations throughout the year – and will lead to the historic Synod 2016, a formal Church gathering of Catholics in the area. The Synod will be hosted Nov. 18-20 at St. Aloysius Church and the nearby Westin Hotel.
Ash Wednesday is one of the Church’s most well-known holy days, on which Catholics receive ashes in the form of a cross on their foreheads to mark the beginning of the season of Lent, a time of prayer, penance and almsgiving. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made them. As they receive the ashes from priests or other ministers, Catholics are told “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” There are 1.3 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit, which includes Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. Approximately 270,000 families are active in their local Catholic parishes.
For more information on “Unleash the Gospel,” including information on the Synod in November 2016, visit
WHAT: In addition to distributing ashes, Archbishop Vigneron will introduce “Unleash the Gospel,” a new area-wide effort to grow the Catholic Church.
WHO: Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, celebrant. Hundreds of Catholics are expected at the Mass.
WHEN: 12:15 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10
WHERE: St. Aloysius Church, 1234 Washington Blvd., Detroit
CONTACT: Archdiocese Public Relations Office (313-237-5943)
ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Media: Archbishop Vigneron is available for interviews after the Mass or by appointment. To arrange coverage, please call Joe Kohn at or call the Archdiocese Public Relations Office at 313-237-5943.