Discover the Archdiocese of Detroit

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit (LatinArchidioecesis Detroitensis) is an archdiocese of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church covering (as of 2005) the Michigan counties of LapeerMacombMonroeOaklandSt. Clair, and Wayne. It is the metropolitanarchdiocese for the Roman Catholic Ecclesiastical Province of Detroit, which includes all dioceses in the state of Michigan. In addition, in 2000 the archdiocese accepted pastoral responsibility for the Roman Catholic Church in the Cayman Islands, which consists of Saint Ignatius Parish on Grand Cayman (the Archdiocese of Kingston maintains a mission sui iuris jurisdiction over the Cayman Islands).
Established as the Diocese of Detroit on March 8, 1833, it was elevated to Archdiocese on May 22, 1937. Ste. Anne's in Detroit is the second oldest continuously-operating Roman Catholic Parish in the United States dating from July 26, 1701.
The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit serves as the Archbishop's church. The cathedral is located at 9844 Woodward Avenue in DetroitMichigan.


Before the Diocese of Detroit was formed, Michigan had been under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of theDiocese of Quebec from 1701 until sometime after 1796; de facto American sovereignty was established in that year. At the time, the Diocese of Baltimore encompassed the whole of the United States. Upon the creation of diocesan seats at Bardstown (1808) and later, at Cincinnati (1821), Detroit and Michigan were assigned to those sees. The Diocese of Detroit was formed on March 8, 1833, and its first bishop wasFrederick Rese. At this time it covered MichiganWisconsinMinnesota and the Dakotas to the Missouri River. In 1843 all the territory of the diocese that was not incorporated into the State of Michigan was transferred to the Diocese of Milwaukee.
On July 29, 1853 the Vicarate Apostolic of Upper Michigan was organized, with responsibility for the Upper Peninsula. The territory of the diocese would be further reduced to its current size by the organization of the dioceses of Grand Rapids (1882), Lansing (1937), and shortly after the see was elevated to the status of an archdiocese, Saginaw (1938).
The son of Prussian Polish immigrants, Rev. John A. Lemke, born in Detroit on February 10, 1866, was the first native-born Roman Catholic priest of Polish descent to be ordained in America. He was baptized at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church (1843), at the corner of St. Antoine and Croghan (Monroe St.), on February 18, 1866, attended St. Albertus for his primary education, and studied at Detroit College (now theUniversity of Detroit Mercy), where he received a bachelor's degree in 1884. After attending St. Mary's in Baltimore, he completed his theological studies at St. Francis Seminary in Monroe, Michigan, and he was ordained by Bishop John Samuel Foley in 1889. His added confirmation name was Aloysius.
In January 1989, Cardinal Edmund Szoka implemented a controversial plan to close 30 churches within the city of Detroit. He also ordered 25 other parishes to improve their situation or also face closure. The plan resulted from a five-year study which analyzed maintenance costs, priest availability, parish income and membership before recommending closure of 43 parishes.
On May 5, 2011, Archbishop Allen Vigneron announced that Pope Benedict XVI approved his request to name Saint Anne as patroness of Detroit. The Papal decree stated that Saint Anne has been the city's patroness since time immemorial.
On February 21, 2012, Vigneron announced a second plan to consolidate churches to address declining membership and clergy availability within the archdiocese. Under the plan, two parishes will close in 2012 and 60 others will consolidate into 21 parishes by the end of 2013. Six additional parishes were asked to submit a viable plan to repay debt or merge with other churches and the remaining 214 parishes in the archdiocese were asked to submit plans by the end of 2012 to share resources or merge.


Bishops and Archbishops and their terms of service:

Coadjutor bishops (who did not become diocesan bishop)

Auxiliary Bishops

Auxiliary Bishop (emeritus)

Deceased Auxiliary Bishops


See: List of schools in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit

Universities and colleges


The diocese of Detroit was established by Pope Gregory XVI in 1833, more than 100 years after French settlers built their first church here. At the time, the diocese included all of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and portions of the Dakotas, east of the Mississippi River.
The diocese predates even the state of Michigan, which did not join the union until 1837. At that time, the boundaries of the diocese were changed to fit into Michigan’s newly-established borders.
Ste. Anne de Detroit Church was the first church built by settlers in 1701. The church served as the diocese's first cathedral from 1833 to 1848.
In 1937, Detroit was elevated to an archdiocese and His Eminence, Edward Mooney was named as our first archbishop. In the following decades the region’s population grew steadily, which required the expansion of many parishes under Mooney.
Today, the Archdiocese of Detroit comprises the six counties of southeast Michigan—Lapeer, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne.

Our Seal

The seal of the Archdiocese of Detroit is a symbol of the people and events that helped shape our Catholic community. In the shape of a shield adorned with a jeweled mitre, the seal of the archdiocese represents the founding of the church in Detroit.
The shield is colored gold with a black cross and symbols to denote the crest of St. Isaac Jogues who was a Jesuit priest tortured and martyred by Native Americans in the 1640s.
The shield is also marked with a cross and three stars to represent the Holy Trinity, a cornerstone of Catholic faith. We believe God takes three forms—the father, the son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. The stars, alone, are also symbolic of the American flag.
The cross cuts the shield into four sections, which are filled with symbols of Detroit’s history and rich natural landscape. The top left section contains a pair of antlers, which is a symbol of Michigan’s abundance of whitetail deer.
Each of the three other sections contains a martlet. The bird has feathers instead of feet and therefore he cannot land. The martlet denotes a never-ending quest for knowledge. The martlet is commonly seen in heraldry but on our coat of arms is a symbol of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who founded Fort Pontchartrain and Ste. Anne Church here in 1701.

Archbishop Allen Vigneron

Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, the Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron was named archbishop of the Detroit Archdiocese on Jan. 5, 2009, succeeding Cardinal Adam Maida.
In January of 2003, Archbishop Vigneron was named coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Oakland, Calif. He served in that capacity for nine months before becoming the local ordinary (resident bishop). While in California, he oversaw the design and construction of a new cathedral, chancery, conference center and healing garden dedicated to those abused by clergy.
In Detroit, he was named an auxiliary bishop under Cardinal Maida in 1996.
Archbishop Vigneron served as rector-president of Sacred Heart Major Seminary from 1994–2003. He had studied for the priesthood there, returned in later years to teach philosophy and returned yet again as a dean. A native of Mt. Clemens, the archbishop was ordained as a priest of the Detroit Archdiocese in 1975.
Born: Oct. 21, 1948
Ordained Detroit Priest: July 26, 1975
Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit and Titular Bishop of Sault Sainte Marie in Michigan: June 12, 1996
Ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit: July 9, 1996
Appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Oakland: Jan. 10, 2003
Installed Coadjutor Bishop of Oakland: Feb. 26, 2003
Succeeded as Third Bishop of Oakland: Oct. 1, 2003
Appointed Tenth Ordinary and Fifth Archbishop of Detroit: Jan. 5, 2009
Installed Archbishop of Detroit: Jan. 28, 2009

Auxiliary Bishops ordained under Vigneron

Bishop Donald F. Hanchon
Bishop Michael J. Byrnes
Bishop Arturo Cepeda

Sharing the Light Communications >>

Briefings focused on the Archdiocese of Detroit’s financial condition, the Together in Faith pastoral planning process, and future plans for Catholic charities and other institutions.

Statements »

Appointments »

Coat of Arms »

Archbishop Vigneron’s coat of arms was originally designed for his 1996 episcopal ordination under Adam Cardinal Maida, and then updated following his appointment as archbishop.

Councils and Cabinets »

Officials, Boards, Commissions, and Councils



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