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48 Detroit parishes may close, including famed Assumption Grotto

December 01, 2011

A lay-led panel of the Archdiocese of Detroit has recommended that Archbishop Allen Vigneron close 48 parishes, including the historic St. Florian Church in Hamtramck and Assumption Grotto, known nationwide for its reverent celebration of the Latin liturgy.

“Within five years, nine parishes are proposed to close,” according to the panel’s recommendations. “In addition to the above, 60 parishes are proposed to merge down to 21, resulting in 39 fewer parishes. Also during this time period, seven worship sites are proposed to close. Additionally, a number of the worship sites impacted by the merging process would likely close.”

The proposed closures would reduce the number of parishes to 232--down from 347 in 1966, 344 in 1980, 308 in 1990, and 270 today.

The panel recommended that “the parish and planning group should … begin in early 2012 to discuss the closing or merger of Assumption Grotto with a neighboring parish, to be implemented upon the retirement, reassignment or pastoral vacancy of the priest, if a replacement is not available to be assigned. Assumption Grotto must also develop in the first quarter of 2012 a realistic financial plan that addresses how the parish will pay outstanding debt.”

After considering the panel’s recommendations, Archbishop Allen Vigneron is expected to announce in February which parishes will close.


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  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Dec. 02, 2011 8:28 AM ET USA

    stpetric, I completely sympathize with your argument below. However, painful experience in Boston tells me that the "beautiful historic church" argument won't fly with the local bishop or Vatican. We had Holy Trinity (German ethnic) Church in Boston designed by Patrick Keely, which was the home of the indult Latin Mass. The thriving Latin Mass community #s weren't counted in the official statistics to judge parish viability. The fix was in. Non-Irish churches got axed more than Irish ones.

  • Posted by: stpetric - Dec. 01, 2011 6:43 PM ET USA

    St Florian's and Assumption Grotto do need to devise plans for their financial solvency, but theses are unique parishes. To close them would be a crime. St Florian hosted Cardinal Wojtoyla back in the 1970's and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Detroit, being designed by Ralph Adams Cram. The Grotto is a model of liturgical observance and generates a large number of vocations.