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Bishop Allen Vigneron appointed Archbishop of Detroit

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Oakland Bishop Allen H. Vigneron as the new Archbishop of Detroit. See the full story and Bishop Vigneron's biography below.

CURRENT ISSUE:   January 5, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 1   •   Oakland, CA
Prayer service for Obama
Jan. 11 at new cathedral

Bishop Allen Vigneron will preside at the first of five community prayer services as the Cathedral of Christ the Light joins with other East Bay houses of worship to host prayer services for President-elect Barack Obama and his administration.

Remembering loved ones lost to violence
Several hundred mourners gathered at St. Columba Church in Oakland Dec. 10.
José Luis Aguirre photo

embryo research violates
moral principles

A new Vatican document warned that certain recent developments reflect an attempt by man to “take the place of his Creator.”
Catholic Charities
sees major hike
in requests for aid

“Everybody’s hurting out there,”’
and Catholic Charities of the East Bay
has seen pleas for material assistance
go up by 25 percent while donations
are down by 33 percent.


Bishop Allen Vigneron appointed Archbishop of Detroit

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Oakland Bishop Allen H. Vigneron as the new Archbishop of Detroit. The announcement was made in Rome on January 5. He succeeds Cardinal Adam Maida, who introduced Bishop Vigneron at a news conference on Jan. 5 at Detroit’s Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where the bishop was rector/president before his appointment to Oakland in 2003.

Bishop Allen Vigneron

Bishop Vigneron will continue to administer the Oakland Diocese until his installation in Detroit on Jan. 28.

At that time priests in the diocesan College of Consultors will meet to elect an administrator to handle the day-to-day business of the diocese until a new bishop is named by Pope Benedict XVI. The process to appoint a new Bishop of Oakland will begin soon. It will be led by the Vatican’s diplomatic representative in the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

“I want to express my respect and love for the Church in Oakland,” Bishop Vigneron said about his new appointment.

“Even though I experience great peace in accepting the call to Detroit because I know it is God’s will, this peace comes with great sadness at parting,” Bishop Vigneron said. “My years of pastoral service in the Diocese of Oakland, while not without significant challenges, have been filled with blessings I will never forget.”

Father George Mockel, who has served as the bishop’s vicar general, said the bishop’s leadership has been a blessing to the diocese. “We are sad to see him leave us, but we are thankful for the leadership he has provided and for the legacy he leaves behind, which certainly includes our glorious new Cathedral of Christ the Light.”

The Diocese of Oakland was created in 1962 and is comprised of 84 parishes within Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The first Bishop of Oakland was the Most Reverend Floyd Begin who served from 1962 until his death in 1977. He was succeeded by Bishop John Cummins who retired in 2003 and was succeeded by Bishop Vigneron.

Biography of Bishop Allen Vigneron

Bishop Allen Vigneron was born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan on October 21, 1948, to Elwin and Bernardine (Kott) Vigneron of Fair Haven, Michigan. The eldest of six children (four brothers, one sister), he grew up in Immaculate Conception Parish, Anchorville (a rural parish of the Archdiocese of Detroit), attending the parish grade school through eighth grade.

With encouragement from his parents, family, grade school principal and pastor, Bishop Vigneron entered the high school program of Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, in September 1962. After completing the 12th grade, he continued there for college. In June 1970, Bishop Vigneron graduated with his AB degree with majors in both Philosophy and Classical Languages.

After Sacred Heart, he was sent to Rome to continue his theological education at the Pontifical Gregorian University while living at the North American College, a house of formation for seminarians from the United States. He earned an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) degree in 1973, and in 1974 returned home to serve his transitional deacon internship at St. Clement of Rome Parish, Romeo, in the Detroit Archdiocese.

Bishop Vigneron was ordained to the priesthood in the Detroit Presbyterate on July 26, 1975 at St. Clement of Rome Church, by the late Cardinal John Dearden. His first assignment as a priest was as associate pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Harper Woods (a Detroit suburb). He returned to Rome in 1976, for a year of study to complete the work required for his STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) degree, which he earned from the Gregorian University in 1977. Later that year he returned to Michigan to resume his duties as associate pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace.

Cardinal Dearden assigned Bishop Vigneron to begin graduate studies in the School of Philosophy of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1979. He earned his MA in Philosophy in 1983 and his Ph.D. in that field in May 1987, with a dissertation on the German Philosopher, Edmund Husserl, the Father of Phenomenology. In January 1985, before completing his dissertation, Bishop Vigneron returned to Detroit to teach philosophy and theology at Sacred Heart College Seminary. In January 1988 he was appointed dean of that school and became a key member of the team working to realize Cardinal Edmund Szoka’s vision for the transformation of that institution into a “major seminary” offering graduate theological education.

In the fall of 1991 Bishop Vigneron returned to Rome to serve as an official of the Administrative Section of the Vatican Secretariat of State. While there he was an adjunct instructor at the Gregorian University. In spring of 1994, Bishop Vigneron returned to Detroit to become the second Rector/President of the re-founded Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

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