Parishes and pastoral centers 97
Catholic schools 4 high schools, 35 elementary/middle schools
Diocesan priests 145
Priests from other dioceses 13
Religious order priests 21
Religious women 513
Religious brothers 10
Consecrated virgins 7
Commissioned lay ecclesial ministers 107
Catholic population 222,519
General population 1,834,438
The Diocese of Lansing, originally comprising 15 Southern
Michigan counties, was established by Pope Pius XI by proclamation
dated May 22, 1937. Previously, these counties had been part
of the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Diocese of Grand Rapids.
In May 1938, with the establishment of the Diocese of Saginaw,
the counties of Allegan, Barry and Ionia were annexed from
the Diocese of Lansing to the Diocese of Grand Rapids; the
counties of Genesee, Livingston, and Shiawassee were annexed
from the Archdiocese of Detroit to the Diocese of Lansing.
In July 1971, the Dioceses of Kalamazoo and Gaylord were formed
from the Dioceses of Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw, At
that time Washtenaw and Lenawee Counties were annexed to the
Diocese of Lansing from the Archdiocese of Detroit.
The Diocese of Lansing currently comprises 10 counties that
cover 6,218 square miles: Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Hillsdale,
Ingham, Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston, Shiawassee and Washtenaw.
Major cities are Lansing, Adrian, Ann Arbor, Flint, Jackson,
Owosso, and Ypsilanti.
Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
was appointed first bishop of the Diocese of Lansing in 1937
and served until his death in 1965.
Most Reverend Alexander M. Zaleski of the Archdiocese of Detroit
became the second bishop of Lansing in 1965 and served until
his death in 1975.
Most Reverend Kenneth J. Povish of the Diocese of Crookston
became the third bishop of Lansing in 1975 and served until
his retirement in 1995. He died Sept. 5, 2003.
Monsignor Carl F. Mengeling of the Diocese of Gary became
the fourth bishop of Lansing upon ordination and installation
on Jan. 25, 1996 and served until his retirement Feb. 27,
Most Reverend Earl Boyea of the Archdiocese of Detroit will
become the fifth bishop of Lansing on April 29, 2008.
Every bishop may submit to the archbishop of his province
the names of priests he thinks would make good bishops. Prior
to the regular province meeting (usually annually), the archbishop
distributes to all the bishops of the province the names of
priests who have been submitted to him and their curricula
vitae. Following a discussion among the bishops at the province
meeting, a vote is taken on which names to recommend. The
number of names on this provincial list may vary. The vote
tally, together with the minutes of the meeting, is then forwarded
by the archbishop to the apostolic nuncio in Washington. The
list is also submitted to the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
By overseeing the final list of names forwarded to Rome, the
apostolic nuncio plays a decisive role in the selection process.
He not only gathers facts and information about potential
candidates, but also interprets that information for the Congregation.
Great weight is given to the nuncio's recommendations, but
it is important to remember that his "gatekeeper"
role, does not mean that his recommendations are always followed.
For Diocesan Bishops
• After receiving the list of candidates forwarded by a province,
the apostolic nuncio conducts his own investigation into the
suitability of the candidates.
• A report is requested from the current bishop or the administrator
of a diocese on the conditions and needs of the diocese. If
the appointment is a replacement for a diocesan bishop or
archbishop about to retire, consideration will be given to
the incumbent's recommendations. Broad consultation within
the diocese is encouraged with regard to the needs of the
diocese, but not the names of the candidates. The report is
to include the names of individuals in the diocese with whom
the Nuncio might consult and how to contact them.
Previous bishops of the diocese are consulted.
Bishops of the province are consulted.
The president and vice president of the USCCB are consulted.
If the vacancy to be filled is an archdiocese, other archbishops
in the United States may be consulted.
At this point, the nuncio narrows his list and a questionnaire
is sent to 20 or 30 people who know each of the candidates
for their input.
All material is collected and reviewed by the nuncio, and
a report (approximately 20 pages) is prepared. Three candidates
are listed alphabetically – the terna – with the nuncio's
preference noted. All materials are then forwarded to the
Congregation for Bishops in Rome.
On average, this part of the process may take two to six months.
Once all the documentation from the nuncio is complete and
in order, and the prefect approves, the process moves forward.
If the appointment involves a bishop who is being promoted
or transferred, the matter may be handled by the prefect and
the staff. If, however, the appointment is of a priest to
the episcopacy, the full congregation is ordinarily involved.
A cardinal relator is chosen to summarize the documentation
and make a report to the full congregation, which generally
meets twice a month on Thursdays. After hearing the cardinal
relator's report, the congregation discusses the appointment
and then votes. The congregation may follow the recommendation
of the nuncio, chose another of the candidates on the terna,
or even ask that another terna be prepared.
At a private audience with the pope, usually on a Saturday,
the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops presents the recommendations
of the congregation to the Holy Father. A few days later,
the pope informs the congregation of his decision. The congregation
then notifies the nuncio, who in turn contacts the candidate
and asks if he will accept. If the answer is "yes,"
the Vatican is notified and a date is set for the announcement.
It often takes six to eight months - and sometimes longer
- from the time a diocese becomes vacant until a new bishop
Apostolic nuncio: The pope's
representative to both the government and to the hierarchy
of a given nation; a key person in deciding what names are
recommended to the Congregation for Bishops for possible episcopal
Congregation for Bishops:
A department of the Roman Curia, headed by a cardinal. The
head of the congregation is called the "prefect."
Among the congregation's responsibilities are moderating all
aspects of episcopal appointments; assisting bishops in the
correct exercise of their pastoral functions; handling ad
limina visits (regular visits to Rome by bishops every five
years); and establishing episcopal conferences and reviewing
their decrees as required by canon law. Its membership consists
of approximately 35 cardinals and archbishops from around
Diocesan Bishop: Pastoral
and legal head and representative of a diocese.
Province: A territory comprising
one archdiocese, called the metropolitan see, and one or more
dioceses, called suffragan sees. The Code of Canon Law spells
out certain limited obligations and authority that the metropolitan
archbishop has with respect to the dioceses within his province.
The United States is divided into 33 ecclesiastical provinces.
The Diocese of Lansing is located in the Detroit Province,
which includes the Archdiocese of Detroit and the Dioceses
of Gaylord, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marquette and
Terna: A list of three
candidates for a vacant office, including the office of bishop.
Source: United States Conference
of Catholic Bishops