March 24, 2011 // Uncategorized

Pope appoints two pastors as auxiliary bishops for Detroit Archdiocese

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Pope Benedict XVI has named Msgr. Donald F. Hanchon and Father Michael J. Byrnes, who are both pastors in Detroit and also have other duties in the Detroit Archdiocese, to be auxiliary bishops for the archdiocese.

Bishop-designate Hanchon, 63, is pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish and episcopal vicar for the central region of the archdiocese. Bishop-designate Byrnes, 52, is pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish and vice rector of Sacred Heart Seminary.

The appointments were announced March 22 in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop-designate Hanchon was ordained a priest for the Detroit Archdiocese in 1974 and named a monsignor in 2005. Bishop-designate Byrnes was ordained for the archdiocese in 1996.

The two will be ordained as bishops May 5 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit called the appointments “a great blessing for the archdiocese,” as well as an honor for the two priests. He said the two men, coming from different paths and different generations, each bring unique gifts to the local church.

“Msgr. Hanchon is an exemplary pastor, and he’s been a leader for the ministry in the city of Detroit both in the African-American community and in the Hispanic community, and he’s very highly respected by all of the priests,” the archbishop said. “He’s always been in solidarity with people on the margins.”

Archbishop Vigneron called Bishop-designate Byrnes “a man of outstanding character.”

“He brings his specialized studies on sacred Scripture, that theological knowledge, to his ministry,” the archbishop added. “In the seminary, he’s shown a great talent for cultivating leadership in our future priests, and I think he’ll be a great brotherly assistant to the priests of the diocese, helping them maximize their potential for leadership.”

Born Oct. 9, 1947, in Jackson, Mich., Donald Francis Hanchon attended St. Mary’s Grade School in Wayne and Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, beginning as a high school seminarian at the former Cardinal Mooney Latin School in 1961. He holds master’s degrees in theology, liturgy and ministry.

Ordained a priest of the Detroit Archdiocese on Oct. 19, 1974, he held several parish posts and served as archdiocesan director of vocations from 1981 to 1986.

In 1986 and ’87, Bishop-designate Hanchon spent several months in Mexico and Texas, learning the Spanish language and about the culture. Ever since, he’s been ministering in Hispanic parishes locally, of which Holy Redeemer is the largest.

“There’s no doubt (ministry at Holy Redeemer) shaped me,” the bishop-designate said. “The present and the future of the church is with this big wave of immigration and with their children. I’m blessed to have been able to have this experience, and I’m sure it’s going to open other opportunities up as bishop.”

Bishop-designate Hanchon has served as episcopal vicar of the archdiocese’s central region, encompassing the city of Detroit and the cities of Hamtramck and Highland Park, since 2009 and will continue in that role as a bishop.

He has been a member of the Jesus Caritas Fraternity of Priests since 1975 and has served as a national and international officer of the group.

Michael Jude Byrnes, born Aug. 23, 1958, in Detroit, took a more roundabout route to the priesthood than Bishop-designate Hanchon. Though he was inspired at a young age to become a priest by his great-uncle — Father Remy McCoy, a Missionary of Africa — he attended the University of Michigan and earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology before becoming heavily involved in campus ministry and the charismatic renewal.

He served as a campus minister at the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University through 1985, then was office manager for the outreach group Servant Ministries in Ann Arbor until 1990.

A decade after graduating from college, he entered Sacred Heart Major Seminary and was ordained May 25, 1996, at the age of 37.

After a few years as an associate pastor and teaching, he attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, earning a doctorate in sacred theology. He was assigned to his present posts shortly after his return from Rome.

Bishop-designate Byrnes will serve as episcopal vicar of the northeast region of the archdiocese, beginning July 1.

The two will join Auxiliary Bishop Francis R. Reiss as active auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Auxiliary Bishops Moses B. Anderson and Thomas J. Gumbleton are retired.

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Contributing to this story was Joe Kohn in Detroit.

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