Over the weekend Pope Benedict XVI made a number of appointments for North America, including selecting Bishop Allen Vigneron from the Diocese of Oakland to fill the important Archdiocese of Detroit.
The news for the beleaguered Motor City was announced on Monday morning in Washington by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S. Vigneron, 60, is a native of Michigan and is quite familiar with the inner-workings of the Archdiocese of Detroit, where he previously served as an auxiliary bishop.
Cardinal Maida submitted his resignation upon turning 75 in March of 2005 but was asked by Pope Benedict to stay on until a suitable replacement could be found. Bishop Vigneron will succeed Cardinal Adam Maida as the archbishop of Detroit on January 28 at 2:00 p.m. in an installation ceremony at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral.
With the selection of Bishop Vigneron to lead the Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit, Pope Benedict has completed one of two major appointments in the U.S. The other major archdiocese waiting for a replacement is the Archdiocese of New York, whose Cardinal Egan reached retirement age almost two years ago.
Pope Benedict XVI also made several other episcopal appointments this past weekend, ranging from California and Kentucky in the United States to Edmundston in Canada.
Bishop Claude Champagne, who was previously an auxiliary bishop of Halifax, Canada, will now serve as the Bishop of Edmundston. He succeeds Bishop Francois Thibodeau as head of the Edmundston diocese.
The Holy Father also appointed Fr. Cirilo Flores as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange. The 60 year-old priest was previously the pastor of St. Anne’s parish in Santa Ana, California.
Amidst the numerous appointments, Pope Benedict also accepted the resignation of Bishop John J. McRaith as bishop of the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky for health reasons.