One Year Later

Fr. Pullis' Unleash the Gospel Recap

Archbishop Vigneron's Pentecost Homily

One Year Later

Unleash the Gospel: Year in Review


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am grateful for your fervent prayers during this first year of culture change in the Archdiocese of Detroit following our 2016 archdiocesan synod. We are no longer waiting in the Upper Room. The Holy Spirit is at work among us. He is alive in our archdiocese leading us on a transformative journey to become a joyful Church on mission.

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the release of Unleash the Gospel, my pastoral letter on the New Evangelization, I offer the following as an annual report, of sorts. In this first year of missionary transformation, I can already clearly see the green shoots of renewal taking hold in our archdiocese. Our efforts to Unleash the Gospel are much like a flywheel. Coming from a dead stop, at first it takes enormous effort and toil to put the flywheel into motion. If we all continue to push together in the same direction, the flywheel steadily gains momentum. Eventually, there’s a breakthrough! Then the flywheel requires practically zero effort and will almost propel itself under its own inertia. My prayer is that our efforts will follow a similar pattern. We have much work ahead, but over time, the effort will lessen as we build a sustainable renewal in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

I thank all of the parishes, schools and faithful within the archdiocese, as well as those praying with and for Unleash the Gospel, both near and far.

May almighty God bless you and those you love.

Fraternally yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit

Prologue & Pentecost 2017

Pentecost 2018 begins the second year of Unleash the Gospel, the name given by Archbishop Vigneron to the New Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The New Evangelization has roots in a Year of Prayer for a New Pentecost begun in 2014-2015, during which the faithful of southeast Michigan prayed for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for the renewal of the Church.

This culminated in an archdiocesan synod held at the Westin Book Cadillac from November 18-20, 2016, with members representing a wide cross-section of the Church in southeast Michigan. The propositions and themes from Synod 16 were distilled into Unleash the Gospel, a 42-page pastoral letter written by Archbishop Vigneron and released June 3, 2017 at the Feast of Pentecost. The letter contains Archbishop Vigneron’s affirmations of the synod propositions as well as charges for parishes, families and archdiocesan Central Services to turn the Church from maintenance-focused toward mission-oriented. The goal is to transform the culture of the Church into one of a band of joyful missionary disciples united in Christ.

Along with the release of the pastoral letter, the Archbishop unveiled a new coat of arms for the Archdiocese of Detroit. The new coat of arms incorporates references to Saint Anne, named the Patroness of the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2011, as well as Blessed Solanus Casey OFM Cap., the humble Capuchin friar who served the poor and interceded for the sick from his home at St. Bonaventure Monastery on Detroit’s east side.

Unleash the Gospel

Timeline of Progress


Unleash the Gospel released
New AOD Coat of Arms

Sept. 2017

First meeting of the
Action Coordinating Team

Oct. 2017

First meeting of the
New Evangelization Council

Nov. 18 2017

Beatification of
Blessed Solanus Casey

Feb. 2018

Appointment and training of
Action Step Lead Drivers

May 2018

Pentecost 2018

New Evangelization Council and Action Coordinating Team

Unleash the Gospel concludes with a number of Action Steps designed to guide our progress from maintenance-focused toward mission-oriented Church. Action Step A calls for the establishment of a New Evangelization Council (NEC) to advise Archbishop Vigneron on implementation of the rest of the Action Steps contained in the pastoral letter, and to provide him with ongoing counsel on the New Evangelization. The first meeting of the New Evangelization Council took place in October 2017, with regular, ongoing meetings taking place since that date.

Supporting the NEC is the Unleash the Gospel Action Coordinating Team (ACT) .This group of archdiocesan Central Services Coworkers in Mission is dedicated to ensuring the implementation of the Action Steps.


Amazing Parishes

For parishes, we’re moving forward implementing the Amazing Parish model. The Amazing Parish model includes:

  • Establishing parish leadership teams to support our pastors
  • Assessing and improving the Sunday experience, with a special focus on music (hymns), message (homilies) and ministers (hospitality)
  • Focusing on evangelization

In addition, Coaching Teams have been specially trained to accompany pastors and their leadership teams as they become Amazing Parishes.


Catholic Schools

We heard the Holy Spirit, through Synod 16, telling us that we need to strengthen our Catholic Schools so that they become the missionary outposts that they are meant to be. To that end, we are helping to build up our schools as centers of evangelization through a process of grassroots strategic planning.

Each school is working toward the development of a five-year strategic plan based on Unleash the Gospel and the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, which were developed by Loyola University Chicago in partnership with the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College.

What's Next?

Other Action Steps, such as creating a model for total evangelization and eliminating sports on Sundays, are progressing and will be ready for implementation in the coming year. The first 20 Action Steps have a Lead Driver designated to manage implementation. The remaining 20 or so Action Steps outlined in Unleash the Gospel will be queued up for implementation, with guidance from the New Evangelization Council and the Action Coordinating Team, as we continue along the path from maintenance to mission.

Meanwhile, the faithful are invited to pray that God’s will be done as we work together to refocus the Archdiocese of Detroit as a band of joyful missionary disciples.


Prayer to Unleash the Gospel

God our Father, you have called us
to be witnesses to Jesus
and have commissioned us to lead
all people to encounter him.

Send your Holy Spirit
to enlighten our minds
so that your will may be clear to us and that we may accept it.
Dwell within our souls
and make our hearts your own.

Transform us into a band of
joyful missionary disciples
embracing the fruits of Synod 16
so as to share the good news
of Jesus Christ in southeast Michigan
through joyful
evangelization and service.

Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle
in them the fire of your love. Amen.

Saint Anne, pray for us.

Promulgated on the Feast of Pentecost, 2018 A.D. from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit.

Unleash the Gospel Prayer Cards

Download Year in Review Letter

A body made up of archdiocesan Central Services coworkers responsible for stewarding the graces of Synod 16, and ensuring that Unleash the Gospel is fully realized and ingrained in the life and culture of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Unleash the Gospel concludes with a series of affirmations, calls and charges addressed to families, parishes and archdiocesan Central Services in order to realize the propositions of Synod 16. A movement that exists to revitalize the Church by equipping her pastors and leaders with the training, resources and support they need to create vibrant and thriving parishes. An assembly of selected priests and other members of Christ’s faithful from throughout the diocese, which the Bishop calls together for the good of the whole diocesan community, in order to assist him in deliberating on the pastoral needs of the diocese and discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit (cf. Canon 460 of the Code of Canon Law). Serves as an assigned project manager responsible for fulfillment of an individual Unleash the Gospel Action Step. A term coined by Pope St. John Paul II; the New Evangelization is not “new” in its content but rather new in its ardor, methods and expression. The term New Evangelization also expresses a shift of evangelical attention from those in distant lands who have never heard of Christ to those baptized Christians and cultures in need of renewal and personal encounter with Jesus Christ. A consultative body with members appointed by Archbishop Vigneron to provide ongoing counsel about implementing the Action Steps and accomplishing the propositions of Synod 16. They also provide the archbishop with ongoing counsel regarding overall evangelization efforts in the Archdiocese.