Decree - Suppression of St. Dominic



Divina Miseratione et Apostolicæ Sedis Gratia


Suppression of Saint Dominic (Territorial) Parish in Clinton, Michigan; Establishment of Saint Dominic Oratory, Clinton, Michigan;  Attachment of Saint Dominic Oratory to St Elizabeth Parish in Tecumseh, Michigan

Saint Dominic Parish, located in the northeast corner of Lenawee County, has served the Catholic faithful of Clinton, Michigan, as a mission or territorial parish since 1853. Saint Elizabeth Parish served the Catholic faithful of Tecumseh, Michigan as a parish since 1947. During that time, many people have heard the Word of God, have worshiped and have received the sacraments of the Church in their respective parish communities. Now, in an effort to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel and to ensure the vitality of parish life, with concern for the best stewardship of resources and the right of the People of God to receive assistance from the Church, especially the Word of God, spiritual sustenance and the sacraments, it is necessary to make new provisions for the spiritual care of the parishioners of these parishes.

To that end, having asked parishioners to make known their needs and desires, having received the recommendations of the Diocesan Coordinating Commission: Planning Tomorrow’s Churches, under the careful direction of the Office of Pastoral Planning, which reviewed the recommendations of the parishes involved and the Lenawee Regional report, and having consulted the Presbyteral Council, and listened to the College of Consultors, the Council of Vicars, received reports from the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Diocesan Finance Council, and in accord with canons 120, §1; 121; and 515, §§2-3 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, I, the undersigned, in virtue of my authority as Bishop of Lansing, hereby decree:

  1. That the territorial parish of Saint Dominic Parish, Clinton, Michigan, be suppressed. Saint Dominic Church and parish complex will remain and its administration, which was transferred to Saint Elizabeth Parish on June 27, 2001, now become permanent as of midnight at the end of Sunday, April 19, 2009.
  2. That Saint Dominic Church edifice be established an Oratory, according to the provisions of canons 1223 – 1225.
  3. That Saint Elizabeth Parish, including Saint Dominic Oratory, make suitable provision for the faithful formerly of Saint Dominic Parish providing for their pastoral care and meeting their pastoral needs. The consolidated parish shall include the membership of the present Saint Elizabeth Parish and the membership of the former Saint Dominic Parish, to the extent that the parishioners of the former Saint Dominic Parish wish to affiliate. The current Saint Elizabeth Church edifice shall be the place of worship of the parish community, with provision for Sunday Mass and liturgical rites at the Saint Dominic Oratory to meet the pastoral needs, as necessary. The new boundaries of Saint Elizabeth Parish shall reflect the annexed boundaries of the former St Dominic Parish, Clinton.
  4. That Father Daniel Wheeler, the current pastor of Saint Elizabeth Parish, and the former Saint Dominic Parish, will serve as pastor of the unified parish. He is to foster the pastoral care of the Catholic faithful entrusted to him, bearing in mind the provision of canon 519.

This decision is based upon a number of factors, among which are the reasonable proximity of the worship communities and the churches, the desire to avoid duplication of services and the increasing expenses associated with necessary repairs and maintenance to aging structures, the spiritual welfare of the parish communities, the spread of the Gospel, the promotion of unity among the People of God, the enhancement of collaborative ministry and the better utilization of available priest personnel. In light of the challenge of the Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, this decision is taken to strengthen “the proclamation of Christ to reach people, mould communities, and have a deep and incisive influence in bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture.” (n. 29)

Before April 19, 2009, the parish registers of the former Saint Dominic Parish containing the records of baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, marriage and deaths along with parish records and historical documents are to be forwarded to Saint Elizabeth Parish. They will be faithfully preserved and maintained in accord with canon 535, §§1-5. Any registers, records and historical documents not needed for continued administration of Saint Dominic Oratory and adjoining complex are to be forwarded to the Diocesan Archives. According to the norm of canon 121, all assets and liabilities, whether movable or immovable, of the former Saint Dominic Parish, will become the assets and liabilities of the juridic person of Saint Elizabeth Parish. Furthermore, ownership of all ecclesiastical goods and all objects of artistic or historical value belonging to the former Saint Dominic Parish will be transferred to Saint Elizabeth Parish and will be administered in accordance with the prescriptions of Church law.

The effect of the suppression (unio extinctiva) of Saint Dominic Parish is the termination of the juridic personality of the former Saint Dominic Parish, which it now possesses by law. Thus, it will no longer be a subject of obligations and rights in canon law corresponding to its nature as a juridic person, nor will it be capable of acquiring, retaining, administering, or alienating temporal goods according to the norm of law.

I direct that this decree be given to the pastoral leadership of Saint Dominic Parish and Saint Elizabeth Parish, and that its contents, especially the dispositive part of this decree, along with the “Process to Initiate Recourse against an Administrative Decree” be communicated to parishioners on the weekend of Saturday, April 4, 2009 and Sunday, April 5, 2009. I further direct that this decree be published on the website of the Diocese of Lansing ( which will be presumed the official notification of this action.

Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given at the Curia of the Diocese of Lansing on this the 2nd day of April, in the year of our Lord, 2009.