Decree of Promulgation - Revision of Diocesan Schools Statutes



Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia


Certain Catholic Schools, namely, Father Gabriel Richard Catholic High School, Lansing Catholic High School, Lumen Christi Catholic School, and Powers Catholic High School, were established as public juridic persons on September 11, 1987 by a decree of the Bishop of Lansing, and Statutes for the Governance of Inter-parochial Catholic Schools became effective September 15, 1987.

Now, in order to provide more effective governance of these institutions of Catholic education in light of current circumstances, I decree that these revised Diocesan School Statutes are hereby promulgated as particular law and policy for the Diocese of Lansing, effective July 1, 2015. They are to be published on the diocesan website.

Catholic Diocese of Lansing Diocesan School Statutes Revisions

Approved by Bishop of Lansing (approved June 1, 2015; effective July 1, 2015)

1.0 DEFINITIONS AND NOTIONS used in these statutes are as follows:

1.1 "Diocesan Catholic school" signifies an educational institution that is subject to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Lansing, offers a formal program of instruction for students in any one or more of the grade levels ranging from early childhood through the fourth year of high school, and is not subject to the governance of a parish (cf. cc. 803-806).

1.2 "President" refers to the person designated by the Bishop of Lansing to serve as the chief administrator of the school (cc. 118 and 1279).

1.3 "Superintendent of Schools" means that person appointed by the Bishop of Lansing as Chairman of the Department of Education and Catechesis of the Diocese of Lansing.

1.4 "Church Law'' refers to the canon law of the Catholic Church, including complementary norms of the episcopal conference, as well as the norms of the Diocese of Lansing.

1.5 "Diocesan policies" are those norms approved or issued by the Bishop of Lansing to express his will concerning the administration of diocesan Catholic schools.

1.6 "Policy'' refers to norms issued by superior authority within the limits of their competence to establish guidelines for the discretionary authority of other administrators.

1.7 "Ordinary administration" refers to those acts depicted generally in canons 1284 - 1287. It excludes restricted alienations (certain transfers of ownership), transactions that can endanger the stable patrimony (financial stability) of a diocesan Catholic school, and acts of extraordinary administration depicted generally in canons 1291-1295.

1.8 "Property'', unless otherwise specified, refers to any temporal good owned by a diocesan Catholic school.  


2.1 The rights and duties of governance of a diocesan Catholic school are shared by the President and Board of Trustees in accordance with the provisions and limitations of these statutes and the norms of canon law and diocesan policies.

2.2 These statutes are without prejudice to legal rights established by written agreements between the Bishop and the trustees of restricted funds owned by schools.

2.3 No Board of Trustees, President, or administrator can establish a policy or place an administrative action contrary to Church Law or diocesan norms.

2.4 Presidents may request a dispensation from a particular provision of these statutes from the Bishop through the Superintendent. The request must be in writing and signed by the President, and must contain the reasons for the request, and be presented to the Superintendent for the Bishop's consideration.

2.5 Decisions of Presidents and Board of Trustees may be appealed to the Superintendent. If a violation of a law or policy is determined to exist, the Superintendent may reverse or amend the decision. 

2.6 No one may initiate legal proceedings in the name of a diocesan Catholic school, nor contest them in a secular court, without first obtaining the written permission of the Bishop of Lansing (c. 1288). 


3.1 The Bishop has the exclusive right to appoint and remove a President. He will ordinarily do so after consultation with the Superintendent and the Board of Trustees. 

3.2 Presidents act on behalf of the public juridic person according to the norms of Church Law, however the President must follow diocesan laws and the directives of the Bishop and the Superintendent.

3.3 With these provisions and limitations the President has the following rights and duties: a) the implementation of laws, directives, goals and policies issued by proper authority; b) cash management of the operating fund; c) accounting and reporting for all school funds; d) general management of the operating plant; e) employment and termination of all staff members; f) development of job descriptions and supervision of all staff members; g) determination of curriculum; acceptance and expulsion of students; and h) all other responsibilities of ordinary administration.

3.4 The President has the right and duty of managing all restricted funds, restricted trusts, and endowment funds unless other arrangements are made by written agreement with the Bishop. The President must submit to an audit at any time it is requested by the Superintendent.

3.5 The Presidents of diocesan schools are expected to maintain effective relationships with pastors. Parishes are expected to support and promote the welfare of the diocesan Catholic schools of their region by subsidizing their operations, promoting enrollment.  


4.1 A Board of Trustees, operating as a Board of Specified Jurisdiction, shall be established in each diocesan school as follows: 

4.2 Standing committees of the Board of Trustees must include the following:

• Executive Committee made up of a chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary

• Finance Committee consisting of no less than five members

4.3 Boards of Trustees must also address matters of Mission Effectiveness, Policy and Planning,

Building and Grounds, Development, Marketing, and Enrollment. They may establish permanent or temporary committees or sub-committees to accomplish this.

4.4 The Board of Trustees should be elected or chosen in accordance with local bylaws. There should not be less than nine nor more than 21 members of the Board of Trustees.

4.5 No committee or subcommittee can act validly contrary to or independently of the entire Board of Trustees.

4.6 The Board of Trustees may request explanations for administrative decisions, but may not reverse or amend such decisions.

4.7 As much as possible, Boards of Trustees shall reach consensus on all actions. If consensus cannot be reached, the Board may proceed with absolute majority vote. (cf. c. 127)   


5.1 The acquisition, alienation, and administration of school property is subject to the canons on temporal goods (Book V). Presidents, Boards of Trustees and all who participate in the administration of school property are bound to observe them, with special attention to the canons on extraordinary, restricted alienation, acts of administration of greater importance, and any transaction that can risk stable patrimony.

5.2 Civilly, legal title to all church property in this diocese is held in the name of "Most Reverend N.N., Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Lansing" or similar words.

5.3 The Board of Trustees has the right to designate a part of the unrestricted net assets for a specific purpose.

5.4 All gifts or bequests given to a diocesan Catholic school are owned exclusively by the Catholic school (cf. cc. 1259-1270 passim, and c. 1299 et seq.)

5.5 A budget must be prepared annually by the President for review by the Finance Committee. The Board of Trustees must approve the budget. The budget must then be submitted for final approval by the Bishop.

5.6 No Board of Trustees or President may approve a deficit budget. Any proposed deficit budget must be reviewed by the Diocesan Finance Council and approved by the Bishop.

5.7 The Bishop will not accept a request from a President for an act of financial administration that is prohibited or restricted by these statutes unless the President has obtained in writing the consent of the Board of Trustees.


6.1 Bylaws of each diocesan Catholic school must be approved by the Bishop and be consistent with these statutes.

6.2 Interpretation of these statutes should be ref erred to Superintendent of Schools who may consult the chancellor of the diocese, if a question of Church Law arises, or the diocesan legal advisor, if a question of civil law arises.

6.3 These statutes may be revised by the Bishop if deemed appropriate and at any time.

Given at the Curia of the Diocese of Lansing, on this first day of June in the Year of Our Lord two thousand and fifteen.