In September 2020, Bishop Walter A. Hurley, then Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord, announced that the process of parish incorporation was underway. This process involved incorporating every parish in the diocese as a Michigan nonprofit corporation, aligning the civil law structure with the ecclesiastical or church structures.
This incorporation process has now been ongoing for several months, and Bishop Jeffrey J. Walsh shares the following update:
“As Bishop Hurley conveyed when this process began, the Holy See has requested that dioceses pursue parish incorporation since 1911. This is the civil law structure that most accurately reflects ecclesiastical law and theology, and this is the best way of ensuring that the rights of parishes regarding church property are respected in both church law and civil law.
“Much has been accomplished in a short time, and to date, all our parishes are separately incorporated; the articles of incorporation have been completed and filed with the State of Michigan; and properties have been transferred to the parish corporations. As we move into the second year of operating our parish incorporations, I have asked Bishop Hurley to continue to assist me in a consultative role in matters relating to the parish corporations, and our Chancellor, Ms. Julie Erhardt, will continue to be the principal point of contact. Together, they will continue working with our parishes to keep the process as simple as possible while observing carefully all civil and canonical requirements.
“While separately incorporating our parishes does not greatly impact the day-to-day operations of our parishes, the incorporation process is very comprehensive and has taken a great deal of time and effort. I want to thank all who have been involved, and I am especially grateful to our staff and the leadership in our parishes who worked to achieve this. As we work to follow the guidance of the Holy See, know that your service is greatly appreciated, and the local Church will be strengthened because of it.”
More information on the Diocese of Gaylord's parish incorporation can be found here.