Palm Sunday 2008 in Assumption Grotto, Detroit. Source.
Last week, Diane Korzeniewski of the Te Deum laudamus blog posted a lengthy report (45 Fewer Parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit) on the plans of the Archdiocese of Detroit to "restructure" its 267 parishes into a much smaller contingent. Among the parishes threatened with possible closure are Assumption Grotto (the only church in the whole archdiocese with a daily TLM) and St. Josaphat (one of the three other churches in the archdiocese aside from Assumption Grotto that have a weekly TLM fulfilling the Sunday obligation). The following is Korzeniewski's take on the possible impact of the parish changes on Detroit's Traditional Catholic community:
Long Term Impact on Traditional Catholics in Detroit?
One of the things I have been concerned with all along is that there is no provision to ensure that the Archdiocese of Detroit has a long-term plan for Catholics attracted to the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). There is interest among some seminarians and I believe Archbishop Vigneron will work to address this. In the future, it could mean more opportunities in the suburbs to experience the TLM. One of the challenges though, is allowing people to follow the full calendar, rather than having just a weekly or monthly chance to worship in this way, if they are partial to it.
Assumption Grotto is the only parish in the Archdiocese which offers the Traditional Latin Mass 364 days yearly, the exception being Good Friday. However, even Good Friday's Tre Ore service uses the 1962 Missal. The parish coming in second is St. Josaphat, which is about a 10-15 minute drive from Grotto. It offers many of the same things using the 1962 as does Grotto, with the main exception being that they don't have a daily TLM. There is Mass on Monday evenings and on special feasts during the week, as well as the Triduum, if I recall. It was clustered years ago with St. Joseph and the Sweetest Heart of Mary. I am quite concerned as to what this means for them. The cluster of three has shared one priest, and their plan reads as follows:
Sweetest Heart of Mary (personal parish), St. Josaphat (personal parish), and St. Joseph. In early 2012, these already clustered parishes are to develop a plan to merge, to be submitted to the Regional Moderator no later than December 30, 2012. This plan may result in the elimination of buildings and will include consolidation of Mass schedules to conform to the archdiocesan policy of following canon law for a priest to say no more than three Masses on a regular Sunday or holy day of obligation.
All three of those church buildings are absolute gems. It would break my heart to see any of those buildings closed.
The main concern I have about the Traditional Latin Mass communities in Detroit is that I do not feel we are recognized as a component of "diversity" that has something to offer the wider community. When one thinks of diversity, it often limited to race and ethnicity; it does not include, for example, traditional Catholics. This is not something unique in the Archdiocese of Detroit, but a common thread in many dioceses. I think dioceses need to be continuously encouraged to allow those of us with a love for the usus antiquior a place where we can worship in a way that lifts our hearts to God in a deep and profound way, and in a setting proper to the form.
The AoD's plan, unfortunately, has the potential to eliminate this opportunity for traditional Catholics in the coming years. Where they were careful to ensure that, for example, certain ethnic groups, such as the Polish, Italian, Croatian, and others had some kind of provision, there has not been a similar protection for traditional Catholics. There is the potential for certain unintended consequences should such a void develop in this archdiocese years down the road. I don't know if these things have been considered or not. I hope to discuss them personally, at the very least, with my auxiliary bishop, to raise awareness.