The magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing

Catholic Diocese of Lansing History

Statistics of the Diocese of Lansing

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
Deacons 105
Consecrated virgins 7
Commissioned lay ecclesial ministers 107
Catholic population 222,519
General population 1,834,438

History of the Diocese of Lansing
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.

Geographic Area of the Diocese of Lansing
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.

Bishops of Lansing

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, 2008.
Most Reverend Earl Boyea of the Archdiocese of Detroit will become the fifth bishop of Lansing on April 29, 2008.

How a bishop is appointed
Stage 1: Bishops' Recommendations
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).

Stage 2: The Apostolic Nuncio
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.

Stage 3: Congregation for Bishops
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.

Stage 4: The Pope Decides
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 is appointed.

Key Terms
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 appointment.
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 the world.
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 Saginaw.
Terna: A list of three candidates for a vacant office, including the office of bishop.

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


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