Thursday, December 1, 2011

Assumption Grotto threatened with closure in a post-Fr. Perrone era

I mentioned earlier today that the Archdiocese of Detroit was going to make public the recommendations that were being sent to Archbishop Vigneron by a planning committee with regards to parishes. This has much to do with having fewer priests than there are parishes, and many priests are working past age 70.

Here is a page where you can find your parish and what was recommended to the archbishop for consideration. He will make his final decisions in February, at which time we will learn what is to happen.

I'm not at all comfortable with what I read about my own parish, Assumption Grotto in Detroit. It wasn't what I found on page 4, which was this....
2. Assumption Grotto Parish

a. Assumption Grotto’s cluster partner will immediately be St. Cyril and Methodius, located on Ryan Rd. (North of 18 Mile) in Sterling Heights; as they are the closest linked pastorally and in their spirituality.

Ss Cyril & Methodius is a fine parish, and there is some truth to the statement about us being linked pastorally and spiritually.  In fact, you see a lot of Grotto parishioners attending events at Ss C&M and you see their parishioners coming to Grotto for events.  Some have dubbed Ss C&M "little Grotto" or "Grotto North".  I have gone there for daily Mass at times, when I needed something earlier. But, there are differences. 

What floored me, is what came next.  On page 5 document it reads:

Regarding the cluster partners Assumption Grotto and St. Cyril and Methodius, there is concern that this is not canonically possible. The parish and planning group should instead 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 and ongoing payables and submit for approval to the archdiocesan LDP Committee and Finance Council.

Now, keep in mind, these are recommendations going to the archbishop by a committee and he will be further discerning this and making a decision in February.

The Detroit Free Press has this:

The majestic church of Assumption Grotto, on Gratiot at McNichols, is also recommended to merge or close if the current pastor leaves for any reason.

There was a press conference this morning, some coverage, again from the Detroit Free Press

Archbishop Allen Vigneron said today that proposals to close as many as 48 Catholic churches in Detroit and its suburbs over the next five years are likely to be implemented by him, but are not set in stone.

“I would need a pretty good reason to move away from the recommendations,” said Vigneron, the spiritual leader of 1.4 million Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit. “It’s not set in stone. New factors may emerge.”

We, for our part, have to take the high road here, pray, hear what our pastor has to say, and hope that there is some alternate plan that the archbishop will accept for Assumption Grotto than the one recommended (with regards to potentially closing it in the "post-Fr. Perrone" era, if it cannot be clustered). 

I am going to offer a few thoughts about Grotto.

There is no place else in the Archdiocese of Detroit that offers what Assumption Grotto does. None.  St. Josaphat offers the traditional Latin Mass, but the community aspect is quite different.  Grotto is booming on Saturdays and Sundays, and you can stop in as you like and go into church.  It is open during the week, and their are daily Masses offered, morning and evening with up to 40 people at each Mass.  We still have four weekend Masses.  There are very public devotions throughout the year, drawing many.  On holy days of obligation, the parish church is packed. 

While some will say that all parishes can claim to be unique, how many of them can claim to have parishioners who travel from all corners of the archdiocese and beyond for what they experience there?   And, if they could get such an experience closer to home, then why would they travel, 30, 60, 90 minutes or more to go to Mass, and attend events during the week.  I can't think of many urban parishes that are open and active many days and evenings throughout the week.  The old school building gets a real work out and it still amazes me that these are commuters.

Just as there are different religious orders to accommodate different spiritualities, parishes like Assumption Grotto play a role in the life of the Church, yet how many are there?   Most urban parishes have liturgies that mirror what is going on in the suburbs.  The fact that Ss Cyril & Methodius was the only parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit to have a similar spirituality attests to the fact that there are few such places.  While I believe that Arcbishop Vigneron probably understands this, I am not convinced it is understood by lay people making recommendations or others who hold influential positions in the archdiocese. 

When there is discussion about diversity, it does not seem to include this form of diversity - that is worship and parish culture that is of a more traditional bent.  Assumption Grotto is to some Catholics, what a cloister is to nuns and monks.  Shutting down Assumption Grotto is like shutting down a cloister and expecting the inhabitants to get along just fine in the active life. 

I never felt at home in a Catholic parish until I found Assumption Grotto in 2005.  In fact, I discovered very quickly that how I worshipped had everything to do with how I lived my life.  Once I began to truly worship, I started to volunteer my time and donate more generously than I ever have in the past.

This is not about liturgical nostalgia.  I was born in 1962 and my only recollections of the Mass growing up, were folk Masses.   Even as a child, I longed for sacred polyphony and chant, but it was no where to be found.  When I did find a parish that had a choir they were not singing Rheinberger, Mozart, and Palestrina.  I'm a contemplative soul and the "Tridentine" Mass offers serious periods of silence, which is so necessary for interior active participation.

I would be more than willing to sit down and talk to the archbishop or anyone else about these things, but that's like being in a football stadium and trying to get the head coach to hear you.  It ain't gonna happen.

Be sure to pray for Archbishop Vigneron.   I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.  Pray for the priests at Grotto and especially Fr. Perrone.  Support him in what he asks of us.

With regards to debt, it's truly a pity, that we parishioners at Assumption Grotto ended up assuming the debt of a Catholic school that once belonged to another parish. That, I believe is paid off, but at the expense of not paying off other debts.  Today's debt would have been easier to manage, if the debt affiliated with that school had been distributed between other parishes.

Oh, and if there are some generous benefactors out there, by all means, call the rectory and ask how you can help us to pay down our debt.  It may make the difference of keeping the parish open well beyond the Fr. Perrone era. Go to for contact info.   You might consider donating to our capital campaign which included paying down the debt owed to the archdiocese. 

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Teomatteo said...

Diane, what are the chances of getting a commitment from the FSSP to support with their priests? I understand that they have a couple dozen parishes in the U.S and Canada but what does it take to get the Grotto to get the FSSP?

Susan said...

Paying off the debt would be first and foremost. I cannot believe that a parish like AG cannot get this done. The whole archdiocese is suffering due to the debt of many, many parishes. That is why we need the capital campaign. I can assure you that there are many in the suburbs who are not happy about paying off Detroit parish debt. This is the biggest reason, IMO, why my own suburban parish did not make its goal. AG needs to show it is thriving on the money side too, unfortunately. I will pray for AG. It truly is a treasure in the AOD.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

TeoMatteo - The Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago would be a much better fit. They celebrate both forms of the Mass and there is a similar emphasis on chant and polyphony which is part of what draws people to Grotto. You really can't find a parish to offer music that doesn't include contemporary tunes. I listened to the same contemporary Gloria for decades, Sunday after Sunday.

The Cantians in Chicago are very big on sacred music and chant, and their spirituality matches precisely what we now enjoy.

They are also growing. It would be nice to see them have a satellite community in Detroit and a place where priests could do a pastoral year away - much like a mission.

I think there are options for a post-Fr. Perrone era.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


YOu are quite right that the debt must be paid off and Grotto-goers take it very serious. We've already raised over $250,000 for the capital campaign (it may be closer to $300,000). The goal was 500,000, but 70% of that is earmarked to stay at the parish per the diocesan plan. Not all parishioners have responded yet, which is why Fr. Perrone has been encouraging people to do so.

Also, as I mentioned, if there are benefactors out there who are interested in helping us to pay down this debt, it would help.

I don't know the details, but I do know they we inherited debt from another parish, a school - one that didn't belong to us. I really don't know that this has been fairly evaluated and considered.

Anil Wang said...

You might wish to make an appeal to the Archbishop. There is more to consider than short term finances. There's "Catholic Identity" and the new Vatican council on architecture and even long term finances.

WRT all these criteria, closing down warehouse parishes and moving the people to traditional parishes is the better move. Very often the warehouse is only profitable precisely because the people there are not at the traditional parish.

Close down the warehouse and they will go to the traditional problems solved. Close down the traditional parish and the people might go to another diocese. So even in the short term, there is a net loss.

Also, the new Vatican council will likely demand warehouse parishes to be made more Catholic. So keeping them as opposed to traditional parishes is more expensive and time consuming in the long run.

WRT Catholic Identity, warehouse parishes are like Protestant parishes or secular organizations, so it is more likely that parishioners will defect or simply stop attending Church, since there's nothing there that isn't in the secular world. Traditional parishes are different. As a result, a stronger Catholic Identity is not only good for the faith of the Church and part of the New Evangelization, it is also good for long term finances since there will be more people to support the parish.

In addition, traditional parishes give the poor a beautiful place to pray...something that they will not ordinarily have...thus fulfills a part of Catholic Social Teaching.

Nick said...

If my parish ever closes, I would have no other parish to go to. Still I trust in God and His Providence.

Badger Catholic said...

Diane I hope this works our for the best. You make very good points which these planners and administrators seem clueless about. If the bottom line is the money, I'd recommend a novena to St. Joseph. Maybe the answer is just to put a plan in place on how the parish will tackle the debt. Even if it is a slow pace, it is better than nothing.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Fr. Perrone is around 60, appears to be in good health and he has an associate pastor as well, so I don't get this. I'm sorry to think this way but could it be that the AOD or some powers in the AOD do not want the Traditional element to have a home?

Elizabeth said...

They cannot close Assumption Grotto, it is well known and loved and appreciated far beyond Detroit (not least through your blog, and mentions on many larger blogs and websites). I hope people will donate (I cannot).

Canons Regular of St John Cantius would probably be perfect for Assumption Grotto. They are wonderful, I got to visit SJC this year on a parish pilgrimage trip. There are some of us here in my community who think they would be great for the beautiful traditional church near me--but even moreso for Assumption Grotto where there is such a vital community for both forms of the Latin rite and sacred music etc.

Anonymous said...

Many so-called "traditionalists" would live and die for Holy Church, except for supporting her. I know of a parish that lost a lot in annual collections by instituting the EF. I have been shocked at EF Masses to see the number of worshipers looking the other way when the collection basket is passed. If all those who love Assumption Grotto tithed, it would not be in danger.

Anonymous said...

I wrote to Archbishop. I live in Colorado but have visited there--making a point to do it--the last time I was in Michigan. I have also visited Sts. Cyril and methodius. These are the holiest parishes in the archdiocese! To close them would be a great travesty.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To the anon at 10:10 who said:

I have been shocked at EF Masses to see the number of worshipers looking the other way when the collection basket is passed. If all those who love Assumption Grotto tithed, it would not be in danger

Friend, that was probably me you were busy looking at during the collection because my donation is wired direct from my bank to my parish each paycheck.

Then again, it could have been one of the dozens of other parishioners who use electronic methods of donations.

I'm just curious: the parish you said, whose collections went down after the EF - did that just so happen to be within the last few years when a heavy economic downturn took place? Any chance a lot of parishioners lost their jobs? Did other parishes see their donations drop during the same period?

You might want to brush up on rash judgment. I'm just sayin'

Andy said...

This is a truly deplorable situation for the Archdiocese of Detroit and for my fellow church lovers who will eventually no longer be able to visit many of Detroit's beautiful churches. I have been to almost every single one of the photo-worthy churches of Detroit other than Saint Peter Claver and have posted my pictures of Flickr. If anybody is interested to see just what the potentially-condemned churches look like both inside and out, please visit my page on Flickr:

Hopefully that address works as posted. I know a church is much more than its building, but good church buildings certainly contribute a lot toward elevating our hearts and minds to God.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To anon at 7:38 who wrote: I'm sorry to think this way but could it be that the AOD or some powers in the AOD do not want the Traditional element to have a home?

I wouldn't presume to judge that it is intentional because I cannot read hearts.

I will say that I am very concerned that, charitably speaking, there may be an unintended consequence of losing the only two traditional communities in the Archdiocese of Detroit with the recommendations on the table.

In the cluster that is currently St. Joseph, Sweetest Heart of Mary and St. Josaphat, the latter also offers Traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis (at least on the weekends). Assumption Grotto offers it at 9:30 on Sundays, but also the remaining 6 days of the week at 7:30 am Mass and 3 nights weekly (MWF).

Other than that, I know Ss Cyril & Methodius was offering on Saturday evenings. I'm not sure if that is still the case. On Sundays, both Grotto and St. Josaphat offer chant and sacred polyphony.

To the best of my knowledge, no other parish offers the TLM every Sunday in the AoD (correct me if I'm wrong). The rest are sporadic, not regular.

Both Assumption Grotto and St. Josaphat are threatened with closure sooner or later with this plan.

I see nothing that indicates at least that the various teams and committees involved with sending recommendations to Archbishop Vigneron has even considered that.

This does not surprise me because traditional communities, while treated more generously in Detroit than in some other cities these days, are often not represented as part of any "diversity". This is something that has to be remedied in all dioceses. By represented, I mean on committees, and not just those concerning parish realignments.

Traditional communities are often tolerated, but not considered serious partners with thoughts and ideas that would be complimentary to other spiritualities, such as those affiliated with ethnic groups. This causes a division in dioceses, and it fuels distrust.

That cluster of three parishes is to go down to 2 worship sites. If St. Josaphat gets axed, there goes one traditional community and if Assumption Grotto is allowed to shutter, that will be the end of a way of life for hundreds of families who won't be able to fill that worship void with what the archdiocese will offer. I know people who were at SSPX chapels before they found us. They just wanted a traditional Mass.

Andy said...

It is a terrible thing to imagine any of the three churches (SHM, St. Josephat, St. Joseph) having to close. Each of them has a specific historic significance to Detroit.

Sweetest Heart of Mary is famous for being the most ornate and largest church in Detroit. It also is famous, though not in a good way, for the renegade manner in which it was created as a break-off from Saint Albertus.
That piece of history is a pretty strong indicator that, if 1 of the 3 has to close, it definitely won't be SHM. After all, what Bishop would want to mess with that church's parishioners?

Then there is Saint Josaphat just a minute's walk to the west of SHM. Saint Josaphat is without a doubt the premier church of southern Detroit. With good reason was it put on the front cover of "Make Straight the Path", since you cannot miss its 3 soaring towers and red exterior to your right as you drive down southbound I-75.

If Saint Josaphat were to be the one closed, its closure would be a symbolic defeat for the Catholic Church in Detroit. Saint Josaphat, just because of its location and enormous size, is THE de facto symbol of the Catholic Church in Detroit. Can you imagine the dismay caused to the faithful if it were sold and turned into a mosque? (Just to put everybody's mind at ease that was a hypothetical, but something that could happen given Islam's slow, or not so slow, creep into Detroit itself).

Then there is Saint Joseph. Saint Joseph does not have as unique a history as the other two, but it too can stand along side the others as being one of the most beautiful churches in Detroit. It is the only current church in Detroit itself that has statues of all 12 Apostles and the 2 Evangelists lining its sanctuary and nave.

The loss of any one of these 3 churches would be tremendous.

Alexander said...

Of course none of the downloads work at all

unbelievable, not enough priests? well once a month then have deacons lead matins.. I have no interest really in the Tridentine Mass but im willing to bet that only ethnic and "traditionalist" parishes will be closed and giant mega churches be built in their place in the suburbs with the money "saved" form closing down practically all of Detroit.. their going to have to to account for all the new bodies looking for Mass, well i for one wont be among the "newcomers" if it comes to that

Anonymous said...

it works, thank you much andy for sharing these

Dymphna said...

So the grotto is open as long as Fr. Perrone lives or doesn't get reassigned?

Jonathan said...

I'm shocked and dismayed at both the implication for Assumption Grotto and the Sweetest Heart-St. Joseph-St. Josaphat cluster. I attended my first Tridentine Mass around 16 months ago and felt immediately that the missing element in my life was finally found.

One has to wonder about the basis for these recommendations... as for me, I would rather drive than go to a suburban mass (complete with guitars & drums...).

Joseph K @ Defend Us In Battle said...


I am dying inside up here in Alaska at this news.

Knowing quite a bit about the internal workings of certain parishes and the AOD, I am shocked at how blatant the politics is, contained with in the various reports.

Having read many of them, I feel as if the councils and the geographic way they set this up was more than convenient for certain places to close.

Priest shortage is a big factor, or at least they make it to be. My suggestion is that you look at what parishes have produced... doesn't shutting those places down run contrary to the need? I dont want to judge hearts either, I just feel like there is some pretty clear intentions throughout the reports.

The AOD, and specifically Grotto, Josaphat's, Sweetest Heart, and Joseph's will be in prayer.

Beth F said...

I read this yesterday with such a sad heart. I was not a practicing Catholic when I lived in the Detroit area, so I was not aware of the Grotto. When I had my conversion, I would suffer through the Mass at the parish near my parents house (in the Northern reaches of the Archdiocese) until I discovered the Grotto. I was so happy that I was willing to drive the hour to go to Mass when I visited.

After getting married and having a baby, our visits became infrequent, but we would still go to the Grotto when we could. We also discovered St Cyril and Methodius, which was a bit closer, so we attended Mass there, to allow for more family visiting.

That being said, I know how far apart they are, they are at least a half hour apart, how would it be reasonable to have them as a cluster? And a cluster because "they are the closest linked pastorally and in their spirituality." So, instead of perhaps expecting the mega suburban parishes to, oh I don't know, be authentic in their Faith, the burden will be placed on the clergy and the lay faithful of the Grotto and SsCaM to keep the faith alive? That is crazy.

On the same thought, are there only a handful of priests like Father Perrone in the whole archdiocese, so that in the event of his retirement/death/transfer, no other priest would be able to "handle" the parish?

I know that closing parishes is always a hard thing and that it is not something the Archbishop is just deciding on willy-nilly, yet it seems absurd the way things are playing out.

marse_robert said...

It is a crying shame what the hierarchy of this archdiocese has done. First Cardinal Maida frittered away millions and millions of dollars of diocesan funds to build his ill fated JPII Center in DC that was a complete bust. That donated money should have stayed here to do good and preserve the parishes in the City of Detroit like Grotto!

Now the current archbishop unfairly taxes the parishes with his demands in his current capital campaign, expecting local parishes to divert their donations to bail out the ill fated decision making of the bishops. What hypocrisy!

Why doesn't the archbishop sell his fancy pad in Edison Village and live in one of the local rectories that he wants to close! That's what the late bishop Kenneth Untener of Saginaw did: sell the bishop's palace and spend each week in a different parish of the diocese. Isn't that what Christ would have done under the circumstances? The maybe he would see firsthand how you can't put a price on what happens in a special place like Grotto!

This statement that "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" essentially puts a muzzle on Father Perrone. If he speaks up, the archbishop will transfer him and padlock the place.

Plus how can the archbishop threaten to close a site with a dedicated Catholic Cemetery! He is makin!g threats he cannot carry out.

Anonymous said...

I have read the archdiocese recommendations for most of the parishes and am sad about all these findings. In discussion with people from other parishes, it seems like this is the major factor for closing/consolidation: Debt owed--archdiocese is "angry" at churches that have found the money to take care of their own painting, roof, etc., rather then send that money to archdiocese. Yes, people WILL donate when they see where the money is going, but won't when it keeps going out of their home church.


Grotto has gotten an unfavorable label as "more Catholic than the Pope" because the priests do not help at other churches, or cluster. The comments I have heard were inappropriate, and I won't print them. The feeling seems to be that "even Jesus ate at other people's homes (Cana wedding, tax collector, etc.), why don't the priests at Grotto show compassion and help other churches? That refusal to do so is disobedience to the Bishop.

Since I don't belong to Grotto, I don't know how to respond to those comments which are coming from people who are in danger of losing their churches as well.

I have suffered having my church closed and torn down, and the next one closed, and now the one I belong to is in danger of closing. After all this, my family and I no longer trust the archdiocese and have begun to look at other faiths.

Len said...

I live in the Central Macomb group 2 area. I think, across the board, all should be done to save the architectually inspirational, beautiful, and unique buildings, and it is the plain, bland, generic, multi-purpose style parishes that should be target for closure (going with the new Vatican committee for Sacred Architecture). There will need to be, in some cases, rotating the pastors and overhauling parish staffs to make it work, but the sacredly beautiful buildings need to protected, not the ugly, generic buildings.

In my group, I want to see St Jane Frances and Our Lady of Czestochowa become cluster partners, with the goal of St Jane's pastor and staff leading in merging the two parishes together. Once merged, it should be located at OL of C's inspirational building and property, while the plain and bland, barn like auditorium style St Jane's building should be closed and sold.

These are the things that need to be done, not just say "Oh, this parish in an ugly building has all its envelopes turned in, so it's safe, while down the street, this parish with a glorius building will be closed, because they have some debt, and don't get all their envelopes turned in."

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To anonymous at 11:35 who said: Grotto has gotten an unfavorable label as "more Catholic than the Pope" because the priests do not help at other churches, or cluster. The comments I have heard were inappropriate, and I won't print them. The feeling seems to be that "even Jesus ate at other people's homes (Cana wedding, tax collector, etc.), why don't the priests at Grotto show compassion and help other churches? That refusal to do so is disobedience to the Bishop.

Since I don't belong to Grotto, I don't know how to respond to those comments which are coming from people who are in danger of losing their churches as well.

Over the years I have hard a number of rumors about the priests at Grotto, some of which were factually wrong.

I think the best response is one that Fr. Benedict Groeschel is well known for: "Were you there?"

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


This is a very emotional topic for people in many parishes affected.

It's ok to be angry and upset. But, the worst way to try to help your parish is to let that anger enter into public discussion. It doesn't work, and it is actually counter-productive because the very people you want reading your message, will simply tune you out after the first verbal mine they step on. It's a natural human response.

Pray for the grace to use reason in raising legitimate concerns an stay on the high road in discussions. This takes much more skill than firing off angry insults. Remember that nothing can happen without God willing it or permitting it. It's all in His hands.

Anonymous said...

In response to Diane regarding my 1135 post: Yes, I have been to Grotto many times. Yes, it is a beautiful church, but not very welcoming to people who are not parishioners.

Having a shrine and cemetery will not keep it open, because the archdiocese would just send someone to cut the grass and handle burials there if the church should close.

Good luck to your parish. I have read the bulletin, and it seems even the pastor admits to his own "noncomformity". The archdiocese does not like "non-team players", there are two priests there and the ORC, so the archdiocese expects more from those who have more.

There are a lot of courageous priests caring for two and three parishes who could really use the help of a priest from Grotto saying a Mass.

Yes, my family and I are upset. This is not the first time we have been through this. I hope Grotto stays open, but if they are not willing to help out, they are digging their own grave.

May God's Will be done, whether Grotto stays open or not.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Please clarify "not welcoming".

The parish church is quite silent. I first took this to be stuffiness, but later realized that people were in prayer.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Good luck to your parish. I have read the bulletin, and it seems even the pastor admits to his own "noncomformity". The archdiocese does not like "non-team players", there are two priests there and the ORC, so the archdiocese expects more from those who have more.

For the record, here is what Fr. Perrone wrote:
Just when I was thinking about writing an Advent mediation on the text of the Last Gospel which is read at the close of every Mass in the Tridentine form (the text is from the beginning of the Gospel of Saint John), a newspaper was thrust in front of me with the forewarned announcement of the closure, merger and cluster of a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Of course, I had some inkling of what this might mean for our own parish since I had read the recommendation the vicariate formulated for our parish once its
protracted deliberations had been
completed. The proposal made for us was that we might cluster with a suburban parish a half hour’s drive away. The impracticality of such an arrangement perhaps eluded its drafters. In any case, according to the newspaper, it was put forth that the “majestic Assumption Grotto Church” should
“merger or close if the current pastor leaves for any reason.” Hmm. Let’s see what that might mean. Honestly, I have no secret exit plan for the immediate future, though if someone should have knowledge to the contrary he should kindly inform my physician and funeral director in good time. (Spare me the news, however. I couldn’t bear the news of my passing away.) Or am I to be removed for doctrinal rigidity, liturgical backwardness or just plain stubborn nonconformity? In all seriousness, the decision of what is to be done with parishes rests with the Archbishop of Detroit and I see no need to forecast doom regarding our parish (or its pastor).

We will in due course make an appropriate response to whatever the actual recommendation is for us and I will alert you of any further evelopments in this regard. In the meantime, we have much to do for increasing God’s glory and helping souls on the way to eternity.

Comment to follow...

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Let's put Fr. Perrone's statement into context...

People in this diocese have considered us "liturgically backwards" because we celebrate the liturgy in a traditional way, even though, all that we do conforms to the norms. It irks some people that Masses are celebrated ad orientem, which is not in conformity with what is done in most other parishes. However, it is a legitimate posture in celebration. The Archbishop himself used customs to which Grotto-goers are used to seeing when he celebrated a Latin Novus Ordo at the high altar on August 15, 2009.

What really amazes me is that people are tolerant of many things in the liturgy, except for anything traditional. That's not considered legitimate for "diversity". As a cradle Catholic in her late 40's, I've seen it all in other Masses around the diocese - even all these years after Sacramentum Redemptionis was issued to curb liturgical abuses. Those things don't get attention for being "liturgically backwards" or "non-conformity", but celebrating "ad orientem" does. Following the rubrics is considered a form of "rigidity" by those who like to cut-loose and "make it their own".

I recorded and got the transcript of Fr. Perrone's September 14, 2007 homily - the first night he could celebrate the usus antiquior. I was later hearing rumors spread that my pastor said things he had not.

I take anonymous claims about and rumors with a grain of salt.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I forgot to mention that I can think of a number of other things which might be considered "non-conformity" and guitly of
"doctrinal rigidity". Come to think of it, these things might actually make people feel "unwelcome".

I've been in many parishes over the years. I can't recall ever hearing about the evils of contraception or abortion.

I can't recall hearing sacramental confession explained and encouraged in other parishes I was in. Confession lines were nearly non-existent any day of the week. We do have long lines for confession on Sundays before Mass, so I guess that puts us out of conformity too (that it is even encouraged from the pulpit).

We choose to kneel for Holy Communion and our pastor allows us to use the Communion rail. This is very much out of conformity with other parishes. It also makes us liturgically backwards with other parishes, yet the not with the Church which gives us the freedom to receive this way.

I could add to this list of things, but I think people get the picture.

We aren't "holier than thou"; we are merely minding our own business and practicing our faith in ways that are permitted by holy Church - ways that bother other people for whatever reason.

I've seen my share of accusations leveled at Assumption Grotto for things like "non-conformity" and "docrtinal rigidity" simply for doing what holy Church asks.

Anonymous said...

So people don't like your church, so what? Lots don't like mine because of our gospel singing and we clap. You got your way of praise and others have theirs. The anonymous person has their right to their opinions just like you got yours. The archbishop wants to close ours and we don't fit nowhere, and we live here too. We know they want to close us and not have us bothering them.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

So people don't like your church, so what? Lots don't like mine because of our gospel singing and we clap. You got your way of praise and others have theirs. The anonymous person has their right to their opinions just like you got yours. The archbishop wants to close ours and we don't fit nowhere, and we live here too. We know they want to close us and not have us bothering them.

The difference is that I did not go to a site affiliated with your parish and take jabs at people who like to clap and sing gospel style the way the other anon person came into my blog to insult my parish and my pastor.

I don't see anything productive about ridiculing any parish or any pastor in such a difficult period, no matter what one thinks. People have enough grief to deal with without the insults and jabs about any worship preferences.

There is a certain lowness about kicking anyone when they are down, whether how they worship is understood or liked or not.

Anonymous said...

Okay then why you post if you don't want people to read and know about your place? My people handle that critcism better because we have to deal with it more. If we had the money we would have our own webpage too and maybe more would come see our church.

I don't want to make you mad and your people, but your people and my people we're all catholics and now we're all fighting and saying my church better than yours. No body is better we are equal in God's heart whether we sing latin or spanish or amazing grace. God loves all of us though we don't each other.

You and your people are scared, just like us because maybe you will lose to them like us. I feel bad for you and your people, and for my people too.

I read lots of stuff on churches and all people scared now and I cry now. Somebody told me to read your pages, but you don't want us too so don't worry I won't read no more.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

To anon at 9:24...

The problem with using "anonymous" is that if several people use it, it can be hard to tell who is addressing who. There's an option for name/URL. Type in a pseudonym and leave the URL blank

I think I may have been misunderstood. I'd like to address what you wrote when I'm home and on a real computer.

For now, just know this is a free blog from It is zero cost and pretty easy to use. I do it as a hobby.

I regret if you misunderstood me.

Anne said...

Here's the deal. All of these recommendations were just that, recommendations. It is in the hands of the Archbishop and every church in the archdiocese of Detroit will have an opportunity to make their case. I would like to address the statement about Father Perrone being stingy with his time and not helping other parishes. This is just complete nonsense and demonstrates a lack of understanding about how priests use their time. In the first place Father Perrone has assisted at other parishes, especially in the summer and during his mandatory vacation, I know this for a fact. As for having two priests, well the diocese has not assigned our associate to another parish, that is not my pastor's job it is the job of the powers that be downtown. Again, Father Bustamante regularly assists at other parishes. I am scratching my head wondering why anyone would accuse a priest of being stingy with his time. Grotto offers 2 Masses every weekday and 3 on Sunday. Is there another parish in the archdiocese that offers more?

David H. said...

It is insanity that Vigneron wants to sell off several historic church buildings and build a "new, more environmentally friendly" building for the new merged/clustered parish. Someone needs to blow the whistle on this to the new Vatican committee on architecture, STAT. Why can't one of the historic buildings (which probably should be declared historic landmarks, BTW) be the home for the new merged/clusterd parish?

Likewise in the suburbs, it is totally wrong to close/sell off the more beautiful and unique buildings and send the merged parish into a generic multi-purpose building. Take what Len said in the comment above about St Jane and Our Lady of Czestochowa. If St Jane's pastor and staff are doing a fantastic job running their parish, why not REWARD them by moving them out of the generic St Jane's building with its tiny picnic table altar, and move them into the more unique and sacred OL of C property? REWARD the succesful parishes by moving them into the more beautiful buildings... don't close them down to send the people to the plain, ugly multi-puropose "worship spaces".

Someone please get the Vatican to step in before its too late!

A Different Anonymous said...

@Anne, Without looking it up on the AOD website, I can think of Ss. Cyril of Methodius offering more. But within the city? I don't think so, although Holy Redeemer comes the closest. The AOD assigned an order of Priests there this summer. Another order of Priests were assigned to St. Scholastica.

Over the long haul, having an order take over parishes (orders with healthy membership vocations-wise) might be the best way to keep some of these parishes alive, if it can be pulled off. But let's face it, the parish also needs to stay out of debt and pay its CSA tax (because it has to anyway).

@Len, If I recall correctly, Our Lady of Czestochawa is a Polish parish (a national parish). It is not a territorial parish. Because of that, I don't think it can merge with St. Jane Frances.

For everyone who has commented, please be assured of my prayers for you, your families, and your respective parishes. I only ask that you pray that more people are committed to their marriages, to give example for young people to commit to the Priesthood. Fr. Hardon used to say, and I read recently, that we don't have a vocations crisis, but a commitment crisis. Our agony here is a direct result of that crisis.

Anonymous said...

I thought St Cyrils was a Mission Church and under the jurisdiction of sorts of the Bishop of Slovakia. It makes no sense to change the dynamics of either fine Parishes. They both have different things to offer and complement each other. I believe it would be lost if they were merged. I pray this will not happen. I am NOT a parishoner of either parish, but rather up in No Mich. and am very familiar with many of the people down there attending both. Bless you all. --JoAnne

William S. said...

Both SS Cyrils and Our Lady of Czestohcowa are mission parishes, and should be exempt from Archdiocese mergers and clusters, but that's not the case. Both are going to be involved. Ss Cyrils is perhaps the strongest and most thriving parish in its vicariate, and should be left on its own. OL of C is more beautiful than many of the multipurpose parish buildings, so it should be merged with one of them in the same neighborhood (like St Jane Frances), with the merged parish at OL of C's site. St Janes can be closed and sold. Another option is to merge St Janes with St Rene Goupil, and have the merged parish at St Rene's site, and close and sell St Janes.

Anonymous said...

I think St. Joseph in Detroit would be the best partner to cluster with Grotto, they both have their NO masses ad orientem, both have the EF, and they both were built by German immigrants, both are threatened with being closed. And they are both on Gratiot separated by only a short distance.

rakowskidp said...

Other than that, I know Ss Cyril & Methodius was offering on Saturday evenings. I'm not sure if that is still the case.

Yes, we're still offering Mass in the EF on Saturday evenings. I'm an on-again, off-again cantor.