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Archbishop Vigneron installed in Detroit
Archbishop Vigneron talks about his six years in Oakland
Excerpts from Archbishop Vigneron's installation homily
Bishop Vigneron's last days in Oakland
New archbishop's coat of arms heralds history of Detroit and his own

Catholic Voice
  February 9, 2009   •   VOL. 47, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Archbishop Allen Vigneron: The transition from Oakland to Detroit
Cardinal Adam Maida hands Archbishop Vigneron his crosier during the installation ceremony, Jan. 28, at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. More than 25 bishops, including Bishop Emeritus John Cummins of Oakland, attended.

Archbishop Vigneron installed in Detroit

Deacon Ken Frye displays the papal bull appointing Archbishop Vigneron to Detroit.

Upon taking his seat as the Archbishop of Detroit at his installation Mass Jan. 28, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron dedicated himself anew to the people of the archdiocese and encouraged them to rededicate themselves to the wisdom of God.

“With faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God in my heart, I do accept the pastoral care of the people of God in the Archdiocese of Detroit,” he said.

Archbishop Emeritus Cardinal Adam Maida ushered his successor to the cathedra (bishop’s chair) at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Seating himself in the cathedra — the moment at which he officially became Detroit’s archbishop — the former bishop of Oakland was greeted by thunderous applause from the hundreds of priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful who filled the cathedral for the occasion.

The 10th chief shepherd, and fifth archbishop, of Detroit, Archbishop Vigneron is the first who was born in, and ordained a priest for, the archdiocese.

More than 200 priests from the archdiocese and more than 25 U.S. bishops were on hand for the installation liturgy, including Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, and Bishop Emeritus John Cummins of Oakland.

At the close of the installation liturgy, Archbishop Vigneron stops to kiss his father, Elwin Vigneron.
In a moving ecumenical gesture Metropolitan Nicholas, head of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Detroit, presented the new archbishop with a pectoral cross which he wore for the duration of the two-and-one-half-hour liturgy.

During his first homily as chief shepherd of Detroit — alternating between English and Spanish — Archbishop Vigneron called the occasion an opportunity for the entire local Church, numbering 1.4 million Catholics, to renew its Christian identity.

“The installation of a new bishop is always an occasion for him to be renewed in his identity and mission,” Archbishop Vigneron said during his homily. “But it is this graced moment not just for him but for his particular Church and all her members as well.”

Dominique Lopez (left) and Demarco Dickerson, sixth graders at Most Holy Trinity School in Detroit, greet their new archbishop during the Jan. 28 installation Mass.
Reflecting on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day it was, Archbishop Vigneron talked about true wisdom leading to Christians making a “total gift of self.”

Speaking in turn to fellow clergymen, the lay faithful, parents and young people, he emphasized the example of Christ’s complete wisdom in the giving of Himself on the cross — an act misconstrued by unbelievers as weakness and foolishness.

The newly installed archbishop admonished the congregation to seek God’s wisdom, as opposed to the misguided priorities of the world.

At the close of Mass, Archbishop Vigneron spoke more informally, thanking the congregation for welcoming him, bishops and religious leaders for greeting him, and those who planned and participated in the liturgy.

He also gave special thanks to those who had traveled from the Oakland Diocese for the installation. The delegation included Father George Mockel, moderator of the curia; Dominican Sister Glenn Anne McPhee, chancellor; and Deacon Thom McGowan, a member of the Bishop’s Administrative Council.

He drew laughs when he said that the priests of Oakland believe “they’re giving me back, with value added.”
Archbishop Vigneron’s family was in the front pews during the ceremony. “We’re just elated,” said his father, Elwin. “We’re just ready to bust out we’re so proud, so happy to have him back here. That was hard on us for him to leave and go to Oakland. . . . This is much better.”

Archbishop Vigneron’s sister, Patricia Maxwell, added, “We’re just so glad to have him home. He’s a humble, holy man.”

Following the Mass, hundreds braved a snowstorm to go to Sacred Heart Major Seminary for a reception. Archbishop Vigneron was rector and president of the seminary when he was appointed to the Oakland Diocese six years ago.

He has already begun a series of Masses in various parts of the archdiocese to re-introduce himself to the local Church.

A Missionary of Charity kisses Archbishop Vigneron’s ring. She was one of several religious women and men participating in a segment of the installation during which representatives of various segments of the Catholic community were introduced to the new archbishop.


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