St. André Bessette Parish

June 28, 2012

Together in Faith Parish Update
Our Lady of Lourdes, River Rouge – St. Francis Xavier, Ecorse

Following communication and collaboration among the pastor, parish councils, and parishioners  of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in River Rouge and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Ecorse , the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council recently reviewed and advised to accept Together in Faith pastoral planning actions recommended by these already clustered parishes. Archbishop Vigneron has approved the next steps.

Consistent with the Together in Faith action plan for these parishes, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Francis Xavier will merge effective June 30, 2012. Rev. James Wieging, pastor of both parishes, with parishioner input, submitted several names for the new parish, which Archbishop Vigneron decided will be St. André Bessette Parish. The Our Lady of Lourdes church building and property will close on June 30, 2012 with the St. Francis Xavier church and campus to serve as the church of the new St. André Bessette Parish, which will be responsible for the Our Lady of Lourdes parish territory as well as St. Francis Cemetery.  Rev. Cornelius Okeke will be the new pastor as of June 30, 2012. A Mass of Unity for the new parish community will be celebrated later this year.

The Together in Faith pastoral plan for these parishes was thoroughly reviewed and discussed at parish council meetings at both parishes. A transition team of parish council and finance council representatives from both parishes met in March, April, and May 2012 to discuss and facilitate the merger during which consensus was reached on closing the Our Lady of Lourdes church building and campus. The merger request was announced and reviewed in April without objection by the Downriver Vicariate Pastoral Council. Father Wieging has communicated the merger to parishioners through bulletin announcements as well as through a town hall meeting in May involving parishioners from both worship communities.

Archdiocesan Central Services will continue to work with the new parish community and assist with the merger as indicated in the Together in Faith II pastoral plan.