Archbishop of Detroit Allen H. Vigneron announced today that Monsignor Todd Lajiness has accepted his request to make himself available for assignment to a Family of Parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit and thus will complete his term as Rector and President of Sacred Heart Major Seminary on June 30, 2021. Fr. Stephen Burr, current Vice Rector and Dean of Seminarian Formation, has been appointed to serve as the historic Detroit seminary’s fourteenth Rector and President, effective July 1, 2021.
Father Charles Fox has been appointed to follow Fr. Burr as Sacred Heart’s new Vice Rector and Dean of Seminarian Formation.
The three new appointments were announced this morning in letters from Archbishop Vigneron and Monsignor Lajiness to the Archdiocese of Detroit and Sacred Heart community.
“I join the entire Archdiocese in expressing my deep gratitude for the dedicated service of Monsignor Lajiness, Father Burr, and Father Fox, and for their docility to the Holy Spirit’s call for these next steps in ministry,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “In God’s providence, we find in Monsignor Lajiness an experienced leader eager to bring to fruition our vision for thriving Families of Parishes, and in Father Burr and Father Fox we find disciples committed to continuing the great mission of Sacred Heart.
“I am grateful for these talented disciples for embracing their next roles advancing the mission of the Archdiocese of Detroit. In the words of Blessed Solanus Casey, let us thank God ahead of time for the many fruits that will flow from these appointments.”
Monsignor Lajiness has made an incalculable impact on the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Detroit and beyond during his more than 18 years with Sacred Heart, including eight as Rector and President following appointments as professor, Director of Undergraduate Formation, and Dean of Studies. During his time as Rector and President, he helped introduce online programs to the seminary, oversaw campus expansions and improvements – including a chapel restoration – and led the seminary into record high enrollment numbers, among many other contributions. Monsignor Lajiness was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 and, prior to joining the Sacred Heart community, served as Associate Pastor at Our Lady of Victory in Northville from 1995–1997 and as Secretary to His Eminence Edmund Cardinal Szoka, President of the Pontifical Commission of Vatican City State, from 1997–2002. More biographical information about Monsignor Lajiness is available on our website.
Details of Monsignor Lajiness’ upcoming parish assignment will be announced at a later date.
“I have been deeply blessed by the many years of ministry at the seminary and have been humbled and moved by the devotion and earnestness of our faculty, staff, and students,” Monsignor Lajiness said. “Since ordination I have always had a desire for parish ministry and in the midst of such a significant initiative as Families of Parishes, I am happy to serve in any way the Archdiocese needs.
“Having worked closely with Fr. Burr, I’m delighted he will be the new Rector and President and am completely confident that he will be an exceptional leader who will serve the seminary well.”
Father Burr has served at Sacred Heart for 12 years in roles including formation advisor to undergraduate and graduate seminarians, Director of Undergraduate Seminarians, Director of Undergraduate Pastoral Formation, Interim Vice Rector, and Vice Rector beginning in 2017. Alongside his seminary responsibilities, Father Burr has accepted assignments to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, St. Mary in Wayne, St. John Vianney in Shelby Township, and currently serves as pastor of Presentation/Our Lady of Victory in Detroit. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2002 and, prior to joining the Sacred Heart community, served as associate pastor at St. Andrew in Rochester, the Church of the Divine Child in Dearborn, and Our Lady of Good Council in Plymouth as well as chaplain to Brother Rice and Marian High Schools. More biographical information about Father Burr is available on our website.
“It has been a great privilege to serve at Sacred Heart Major Seminary for twelve years and I am honored to embrace my new responsibilities as Rector and President, so that I can continue helping to advance our mission of forming hearts and minds to proclaim Jesus Christ,” Father Burr said. “I thank Archbishop Vigneron for his confidence in me and I thank Monsignor Lajiness for his leadership and friendship in ministry.”
Father Fox has been with Sacred Heart for five years in roles including two years on the formation faculty before joining as full-time faculty in 2017 as Director of Graduate Seminarians, Director of Liturgy, and Assistant Professor of Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2006 and, prior to joining the Sacred Heart community, served as associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows Parish from 2006-2007 and St. Hugo Parish from 2007-2009. More biographical information about Father Fox is available on our website. Sacred Heart Seminary was established in 1919 to form local priests to serve the rapidly growing Catholic population in Detroit and surrounding communities. The community continued to grow through the decades before entering a new phase in July 1988, with the addition of a Graduate School of Theology and adoption of a new name: Sacred Heart Major Seminary. Since its inception, Sacred Heart Major Seminary has enjoyed the financial and prayerful support of diocesan officials, alumni, and the people of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The seminary has responded to the needs of the Church of Detroit and beyond by preparing priests, deacons, and lay men and women to be heralds of the Gospel and missionaries of the New Evangelization