Mission Statement: We are an organization of priests of the
Archdiocese of Detroit, strongly supported by participating laity,
who seek renewal of the Church of Detroit. We do this by
offering opportunities for education and creating an open forum
for discussion and dialogue that will lead us to developing and
advocating more collegial solutions to the challenges we face. We
firmly believe these efforts will contribute to a greater solidarity
among priests and a renewed Church of Detroit.
History: At the bi-annual priests' convocation in Boyne Mountain,
MI in October 2003, Fr. Gerry Bechard rose to ask Cardinal Maida
of they were going to talk about the Elephant in the Living Room.
Cardinal Maida ignored the question and returned to the agenda. A
few priests decided that some subjects needed to be discussed
and agreed upon returning to Detroit to hold gatherings for that
The first meeting was held in November 2003 with 12 priests and 8
laypersons. They decided to continue to meet. Other priests and
laypersons continued to join, so that today, the membership is
almost 500, and continues to grow. There are committees dealing
with the archdiocese's pastoral plan, with the abandonment of the
Church in the city, and advocacy for those who may have been hurt
by the Church.
The Educational Committee strives to select topics of interest and
concern, then tries to obtain the best speaker available to present
the subject. The Elephants have sponsored nine educational forums:
2/14/04 Fr. Donald Cozzens, Crisis in the Church in America
6/28/04 Fr. Michael Himes, Ecclesiology of Vatican II
10/5/04 Dean Hoge, Evolving Visions of the Priesthood
5/16/05 Tom Fox, The Need for Reform of Church Structures
10/20/05 Fr. Richard McBrien, Critical Issues Facing the Church
4/3/06 Sr. Joan Chittister, Women in the Church.
5/23/06 Fr. Fred Daley, The Vatican's document on
9/26/06 Fr. Donald Cozzens, On Mandatory Celibacy
10/27/06 Fr. Michael Sullivan, The Rights of Priests