Pope Benedict XVI has named two Michigan priests as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Msgr. Donald F. Hanchon, 63, pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit and 52 year-old Fr. Michael Byrnes, pastor of the city's Our Lady of Victory Parish, were appointed as auxiliary bishops for the archdiocese on March 22.
“It's a great blessing for the archdiocese,” said Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who introduced the bishops-elect at the local Sacred Heart Seminary.
“Certainly it's an honor for a priest to be selected for this level of responsibility,” he added. “More than an honor, it's about new capacity for sharing Christ with others.”
The appointments were announced in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S.
Bishop-elect Donald F. Hanchon, who was born in Wayne, Mich., said he is humbled by the appointment and looks forward to being “in the service of the people of the Archdiocese of Detroit.”
After attending St. John Provincial Seminary and the University of Notre Dame, Bishop-elect Hanchon was ordained a priest for the Detroit archdiocese in 1974 and named a monsignor in 2005.
Following his ordination, Bishop-elect Hanchon’s assignments included pastoral roles in multiple parishes in Michigan as well as being the episcopal vicar for the central region of the archdiocese from 2009 to the present.
“I promise obedience because I believe that the God who began this good work in me all those years ago will indeed bring it to fulfillment,” he said on March 22. “I thank Archbishop Vigneron for his trust in me, and his joyful encouragement to serve.”
Bishop-elect Michael Byrnes was born in Detroit in 1958. After attending the University of Michigan, and Sacred Heart Seminary, he earned a Ph.D. in biblical studies from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Detroit in 1996.
“I am honored that the Holy Father and Archbishop Vigneron have such confidence in me to make this appointment,” he said in reaction to the news on Tuesday. “I will do my best not to let them down.”
Assignments after his ordination to the priesthood included serving as the associate pastor of St. Joan of Arc and St. Clair Shores parishes, vice-rector and dean of formation at Sacred Heart Seminary, and pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory Parish from 2004 to present.
“I love being a priest of Jesus Christ, and I have loved my work helping young men discern and prepare for the priesthood,” Bishop-elect Byrnes said.
“I place my trust in God's providence that these experiences, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, will help me to do that.”
Bishops-elect Hanchon and Byrnes will join Auxiliary Bishop Francis Reiss and Archbishop Allen Vigneron as shepherds of 1.4 million Catholics in the Detroit archdiocese.
The two will be ordained as auxiliary bishops on May 5 at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit.