Archbishop Allen Vigneron visits Mercy

What does Mercy’s entrepreneurship class have to do with Catholicism? Archbishop Allen Vigneron illuminated a connection between the two seemingly unrelated topics during his homily to the school on Thursday, March 30. He discussed the purpose of a business plan — “to get you from where you start to where you want to be” — and compared it to God’s plan for each person’s life, emphasizing the trust, wisdom, and joy involved.

The Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and his Priest Secretary, Fr. Stephen Pullis, celebrated an all-school Mass, toured the Mercy building, and stayed for a reception with students and faculty.

After Mass, the archbishop spoke to the senior class.

“He talked about God’s plan for each of our lives and how God has given us unique gifts and talents in order to better serve the kingdom of God with our future careers and our future lives,” said senior Alissa Sweeney. “He stressed the value of Catholic education and how schools like Mercy truly empower students to thrive as women in whatever path God has for us.” The meeting was not just a lecture, but a dialogue; students also answered Archbishop Vigneron’s questions to them about their time at Mercy.

President Dr. Cheryl Kreger and Principal Mrs. Carolyn Witte led Archbishop Vigneron on a tour of the school. He stepped into a few classrooms to greet the students and teachers.

There was a small reception for the Archbishop and Priest Secretary in the Baggot Street Conference Room following the tour. Twenty students who are either Youth Mercy Associates or involved with the pastoral team were invited to conversations with the guests. Several Mercy faculty members also attended, as well as members of the Board of Directors and a few teachers.

“It was such a rare opportunity that I was blessed to be a part of,” said junior Annie Acho Tartoni about meeting the archbishop. “I actually sat right next to him and we talked about his journey of becoming an archbishop, and about how Mercy helps us voice our opinion and share our religious views as we go through life.”

Archbishop Vigneron, though distinguished, is also very personable and friendly. He chatted with students about sports, upcoming student government elections, and TV, and his jokes during his homily received some collective laughs from the assembly.

The archbishop tries to spend time at every Catholic high school in the archdiocese, making a three-year circuit of the schools. “I think [visiting Catholic high schools] sends a very important message about the identity of the schools, especially at this point in your education, when your academic formation needs to be integrated into your faith formation,” said Archbishop Vigneron.

“I really enjoyed listening to and hearing advice from the archbishop,” said Sweeney. “He spoke with wisdom and faith, which was really wonderful to experience.”