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*Friends of Father Michael Suhy's statement*
There was a pre-meditated effort by Fr. Michael’s enemies to close and sell the school property for a profit of nearly 5 million dollars. Fr. Michael refused to give in to the demands of the distinguished families, employees, and council members of the Parish. Because of this, he was removed as head pastor of Our Lady of Good Council (OLGC) by the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Fr. Michael had met with several parents at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year to discuss any concerns they may have had. The parents all had one demand, which was to fire the principal. They expressed concern that there was “too much Jesus” in the school, and the balance between faith and academics was lost. Fr. Michael met with them a second time and they again demanded the principal be fired or else they would take action to undermine the school as well as Fr. Michael. A witness and a mediator were with Fr. Michael as $400,000 worth of funding was threatened.
In fall of 2019, an employee of OLGC notified Fr. Michael that they had been attending meetings with a group of influential members of the Plymouth Business Community (PBC) that were interested in purchasing the school’s property to create a center for families with special needs children. In October 2020, this same employee shared with Fr. Michael that the PBC hired them to write a faith curriculum for the new center.
Early 2020, Fr. Michael was told by a second employee that their spouse worked for a large real estate developer in Detroit and that the company was very interested in purchasing the school’s property for a future development. In September 2019, Fr. Michael became aware of the parishioners with money and power were interested in the closure and sale of the school’s property in Downtown Plymouth.
Fr. Michael did not agree to the demands of the influential families because he had been meeting with the school’s administration and wanted to investigate their concerns. Fr. Michael made the right decision to not react to the parents demands.
During his pastorship, Fr. Michael communicated frequently with the superintendent of the Archdiocese of Detroit school district, who assured him that he and Mrs. Hunt were doing an exceptional job and they saw their progress at the school as exemplary implementation of the Archbishop’s vision for catholic schools.
During his time as head Pastor, Fr. Michael formulated a sustainable budget for the 2020-2021 school year, cut operating costs by 10%, and reduced the parish’s financial support to the school by 40%.
Late summer 2020, as part of a parish visit to review his leadership, Fr. Michael met twice with the Archdiocese of Detroit CFO to address the Parish school. In the first meeting, the CFO highlighted that the school had an unsustainable 5-year trend, increasing expenses and decreasing income. A second meeting took place 11 days later with Fr. Michael, his finance council chair, and head accountant. They had demonstrated that the 5-year trend was reversed. While this is great news, the CFO said, “I’m not interested in the numbers”.
From March 2020 through May 2020, a finance council member constantly argued that Fr. Michael should close the school. They stated, “The school is going to be the ruin of the parish, and many people here don’t even want a school”. The council member told Fr. Michael that if he wanted the Parish’s financial support for the school, the council member would report Fr. Michael to the Archdiocese of Detroit.
Two OLGC employees and one OLGC finance council member along with other employees of the Archdiocese had a hand in removing Fr. Michael.
Why was he removed when OLGC and the school were thriving?
Fr. Michael Suhy’s Priesthood was threatened over his devotion to the faith and not yielding solely to other’s monetary interests.
Fr. Michael would not remain silent before the poor handling of a sexual harassment allegation and he would not give into pressure from those who did not have the best interest of the Parish and Parish school in mind.
Facts Surrounding Father Michael Suhy’s Removal as Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel
By Ron Thompson
As a Catholic man, a parishioner of Our Lady of Good Counsel, and Chair of the Parish Finance Council, I cannot in good conscience sit back and do nothing about the unjust removal of Fr. Michael Suhy as our pastor.
Speaking as a long-time parishioner:
- Fr. Michael has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the Archdiocese since April of 2011. This reputation earned him an invitation to join the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Detroit just last fall of 2019. His good esteem among priests and laity alike quickly made him one of the spiritual directors for Sacred Heart Seminary. During the pandemic, Fr. Michael continued to maintain his excellent reputation for his strong leadership from Dearborn to Ypsilanti.
- Fr. Suhy’s strong leadership quickly made possible an outdoor altar which allowed the Parish’s priests to offer the Holy Mass in our parking lot since May. The attendance at parking lot Masses and indoor Masses was bursting at the seams. As a parishioner, I have been edified by Fr. Michael’s zeal and creativity in serving God’s people all while in the midst of a terrible pandemic.
- The support of parishioners for Fr. Suhy’s leadership is evident in the Sunday offertory. Parishioners were showing their support of their pastor’s leadership through generous support of the parish’s mission. As of November 17, 2020, the Parish of Our Lady of Good Counsel was $79,000 ahead of budget in terms of weekly offerings. A man who fails at being a pastor is not capable of presiding over such an economic success – during the midst of a pandemic and half-empty churches for that matter!
- The families of over a hundred children that were confirmed by Fr. Michael during the pandemic bear witness to his joyful and steady ministry.
- The families of over a hundred First Communicants bear witness to the same.
- The parish school is thriving. Enrollment is increasing. Fr. Michael as pastor had an almost daily presence on the school campus. He spent every Wednesday morning serving our parish school and ensured the presence of the associates in the school as well.
Speaking as the OLGC Finance Council Chair:
- Fr. Michael joyfully endeared himself and gave himself selflessly to all parishioners.
- Fr. Michael was not overwhelmed with the administration of our large parish with its school as accused. I say this, because I have closely collaborated with Fr. Michael in the formulation of the budget for the 2020/2021 Fiscal Year and have witnessed his leadership in various Meetings.
- Fr. Michael responsibly cut the operating expenses of the parish 20% in order to strongly lead the parish through a pandemic.
- Fr. Michael collaborated with the principal of the school to reverse a five-year trend. He was able to cut the parish subsidy to the school by 40%
Speaking as the lead civil attorney for Fr. Michael:
- The evidence touted by the Archdiocese of Detroit in support of his removal is more than questionable: It is concocted and it is specious. It includes (I do not jest): that the associate pastors Fr. Tim Wezner and Fr. Tony Camilleri were not consulted when Fr. Michael – the pastor -- decided to get a dog for himself; that Fr. Suhy left sporting events “early”; and that Fr. Suhy didn’t rely upon Zillow.com for calculating the square footage of his rectory, instead preferring Redfin.com.
- Fr. Tim Wezner, as of last weekend playing dumb, was actually directed by, and worked with, Msgr. Bugarin to gather any adverse feelings and information he could about Fr. Michael that could support an argument for his removal as pastor. It was only after Fr. Michael requested to see the actual supposed evidence against him that the Archdiocese was compelled to disclose its claims. This included multiple communications from Fr. Wezner acknowledging the foregoing. The day Fr. Michael was physically removed, Fr. Tim apparently was at the door of the church with his cell phone, waiting to call the Archdiocese to come get him – all too eagerly. That says it all.
- As the civil attorney for Fr. Michael Suhy, I believe, as does my client, that he was removed after vocally objecting and expressing deep concern – repeatedly – against the whitewashing of the sexual harassment and attempted grooming and homosexual indoctrination that parents of a young man had informed both the Archbishop and Fr. Suhy of. The fact that the Archbishop of Detroit selectively fires lesbian employees but decides to keep very close to him known male homosexual staff is not only unconscionable, it is hypocritical.
- Some think it is “impossible” for the Archbishop of Detroit, the current Vice-President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to cover up for the grave misconduct of one of his own younger and prominent homosexual staffers. If one reads the McCarrick Report recently issued by the Vatican, nothing remains inconceivable.
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