Discover the Diocese of Gaylord

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord (LatinDioecesis Gaylordensis) is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the Northern Michigan region of the United States. It comprises the twenty-one most northern counties of the lower peninsula of the state, and includes the cities of Traverse CityAlpenaManistee and Petoskey. The see is currently vacant. The prelate was BishopBernard A. Hebda, until he assumed his post as Coadjutor Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, in Newark, New Jersey.


The Diocese of Gaylord was created on December 19, 1970 and canonically erected on July 20, 1971 by Pope Paul VI. On October 7, 2009, it was announced that Monsignor Bernard Hebda had been appointed Bishop of Gaylord by Pope Benedict XVI. He was ordained a bishop and installed as the fourth Bishop of Gaylord on December 1, 2009.


High schools

On November 24, the Feast of Christ the King, the Diocese of Gaylord released the document, “Shining Christ’s Light: Sunrise to Sunset,”which shares insights gained through an envisioning process to discern a Mutually Shared Vision and charts a path for the future for the Catholic Church in northern Lower Michigan. The title reflects the vision statement that will help guide the Diocese of Gaylord over the next five years. Drawn from the Holy Scriptures and the Eucharistic prayers, the vision statement “Shining Christ’s Light: Sunrise to Sunset” also offers the beautiful geographic east-west imagery of the Diocese of Gaylord as we seek to live out our baptismal call to “walk as children of the Light” and respond to God’s love by serving the Lord and this local Church, which stretches from the “Sunrise Side” to the “Sunset Side” of our State.
Funded in large part by a grant from the Catholic Extension Society, and facilitated through the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) in Pennsylvania, the envisioning process included hosting listening sessions in parishes throughout the diocese in 2012, as well as meetings with priests, staff and youth, to receive input to questions such as, “What does the Diocese of Gaylord do well?”, “What should we do differently?”, and “What do you believe should be the top three priorities for the Church in the Diocese of Gaylord?” With the guidance of CLI, the bishop and the directors of the diocesan secretariats then prayed and reflected on the information received through those sessions, the needs and dreams expressed by the faithful of the diocese both formally and informally, as well as their individual and collective experiences and observations through their work and interactions with parishes and schools. “Shining Christ’s Light: Sunrise to Sunset,” offers the insights shared by parishioners, hopes for the future and a plan for the journey.
The envisioning process helped to define our Sacred Purpose -- why we exist as a diocese in this time and place – as being: “In response to God’s love, the Faithful of the Diocese of Gaylord, relying upon the Sacraments, Catholic Tradition, and prayer, seek to form a community that hopes in Christ, shares the Good News and lives the Gospel of justice and peace.” Five core values were identified as most important for the diocese which include prayer and worship, catechesis, evangelization,communio and service. The new vision document outlines each of these values in detail.
Three areas surfaced as priorities for the Church in the Diocese of Gaylord throughout the process: Evangelization, Faith Formation and Communications. These will be the focus areas for the diocese for the next several years. To help address the concerns expressed by the faithful, six goals (two within each priority area) have been set and teams, made of up clergy and laity from across the diocese, were selected to begin working to help achieve those goals, which are specifically:
· At least 40 parishes have fully implemented diocesan protocols for creating hospitable parish environment by Jan 1, 2015.
· At least 50 parishes have no less than one team participating in an ongoing training process for empowering the faithful in evangelization by July 31, 2014.
· Raise ($2M) to advance the use of technologies and provide training to unify the diocese (chancery, parishes, schools and institutions) by January 24, 2015.
· Publish a model reflecting best practices for communication throughout the diocese by September 29, 2014.
Faith Formation:
· At least 20 parishes in the diocese have successfully implemented a comprehensive approach to Stewardship by May 24, 2015.
· At least 25% increase in the number of parishes in each Vicariate having met or exceeded diocesan guidelines for lifelong faith formation by September 20, 2015.
With the support of the Diocesan Administrator Msgr. Francis Murphy, this work is continuing.
Shining Christ’s Light: Sunrise to Sunset, A Mutually Shared Vision”  may be downloaded below.
Vision Document - Shining Christ's Light: Sunrise to Sunset 

Facts Of Interest

The Diocese of Gaylord is one of seven Roman Catholic Dioceses in the state of Michigan.  It was established on July 20, 1971 by his Holiness Pope Paul VI.
The 11,171 square miles of the diocese is comprised of territory which had previously been a part of the Saginaw and Grand Rapids dioceses. The area includes the 21 most northern counties of Michigan's lower peninsula, which are mostly rural in nature. Total population of the area exceeds 510,532, of which more than 66,000 are Catholics.
Within its boundaries there are 80 parishes, 15 Catholic schools and many closely related institutions. All of our clergy, religious sisters and brothers, and laity have been called through Baptism to be disciples and to reflect the message of the Gospel. 

We welcome your visit to the Diocese of Gaylord through our website, but especially in person, and we stand ready to minister to your needs as best we can.

Fourth Bishop 
Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, D.D., J.C.L., J.D.


Diocesan Mission Statement

The Father through His Son, Jesus the Christ, has poured forth the Holy Spirit and made us into a "holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people set apart." Inflamed by the vision of what that reality means for us and for our world, we -- the laity, religious and clergy of the Diocese of Gaylord -- feel compelled, with God's help, to become that to which we have been called. 
Therefore, in an authentic spirit of thanksgiving, we will work to bring about in all Catholics such an enthusiasm for their faith that they freely share it with others and thereby truly become an evangelizing people. We will also endeavor to build our families, our parishes, our diocese and our world into that faith community whose compassionate ministry to the world embodies and witnesses to God's power that works to heal and save all humankind. 
We recognize that alone we cannot fulfill these desires; but we know we are not alone, God is with us always. Therefore, we are committed to receive his nourishment and power in evermore conscious and active celebrations of His sacraments. We will be open to His saving truths which lead to personal and communal conversion which we find in our love for and study of both the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church. We will respond to His love by giving our time, talent and treasures in pursuit of gospel justice and peace which will be our personal and communal part in the continuing mission of the Risen Lord. 
We, through all of our thoughts and actions, want to be an authentic, effective and visible sign of His goodness to us and thereby be a wonderful sign of hope for all. 

Office of the Bishop

As a successor to the Apostles, the Bishop of a diocese is entrusted with and concerned for the Diocesan Catholic Faithful, all of whom are committed to his care regardess of age, social condition or nationality.
The Bishop provides for the spiritual needs of those who live within the diocesan boundaries as well as those who are in temporary residence.
In addition to being the pastoral leader of the diocese, The Bishop is its administrative head. It is through his leadership, working with the Vicars, Diocesan Councils and Secretariat Directors that programs for parish assistance are developed and implemented based on the needs of the people.
Sede Vacante Status
With the appointment by Pope Francis of the Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda as Coadjutor Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey on September 24, 2013, the Diocese of Gaylord became what is known as a “vacant see” (sede vacante in Latin). This means that there is no diocesan bishop to govern the diocese. The status as “sede vacante” will remain in place until the Holy Father names a new bishop and he takes possession of the diocese. This process is expected to take a number of months.
When a diocesan see is vacant, the College of Consultors is charged with its governance, The Diocese of Gaylord’s College of Consultors is comprised of Msgr. Francis Murphy and Revs. Anthony Citro, Raymond Cotter, Charles Donajkowski, Gregory McCallum, Lawrence Sergott and Dennis Stilwell.
On September 27, 2013, Msgr. Francis Murphy was elected by the College of Consultors to server as the Diocesan Administrator until the Holy Father appoints a new bishop for the diocese. Msgr. Murphy will also continue his duties as Pastor of St. Ann in Cadillac, St. Edward in Harrietta, St. Stephen in Lake City and St. Theresa in Manton.
The Diocesan Administrator’s function is to maintain the status quo until the new bishop takes possession of the diocese. There is an age-old principle that governs the sede vacante. It says: sede vacante nihil innovetur, which means, “when the see is vacant, let no innovations be made." In other words, nothing extraordinary should be done that would prejudice the next incumbent’s freedom.


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