Dear Parishioners of St. Paul,
I am honored to be the Shepherd of St. Paul Parish. Last February when I received the call from the Archbishop’s Office asking me to embrace a change in ministry to St. Paul; I said, “Yes”. I am now writing my first “Things Above from Fr. Bilot” for the Reporter.
I believe it will be helpful for you to know about me. I was born at St. John Hospital in Detroit and spent my growing up years in St. Clair Shores. I am the fifth of six children (five brothers and one sister). My mother Virginia, who is 90, lives in the family home. My father died in 2006 and my eldest brother died three years ago. My home parish is St. Germaine and I attended the Lakeview Public Schools. After high school, I started at Macomb Community College and graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in Business. Throughout my high school and college days I was active at St. Germaine – teen group member or leader, reader, Parish Council, or festival helper. I finally responded to the Lord’s call and entered Sacred Heart Seminary in 1986. I was ordained June 27, 1992. My first assignment was Divine Child, Dearborn and then St. Hugo, Bloomfield Hills, both as associate pastor assignments. In 1998 I became pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace. Archbishop Maida then asked me to step away from the parish in 2000 to become the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese. In 2007 the Archbishop asked me to be pastor of Divine Child. I was surprised since it is unusual for a priest to return to a previous assignment. It is from Divine Child, after twelve years, that I now begin my assignment here at St. Paul. Throughout my priesthood I have served on committees/councils, as a Master of Ceremonies for the Cathedral, and am still an adjunct Spiritual Director for the seminarians at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
The words “sent on mission” from Unleash the Gospel fit me at this time of my life. But truly these words are meant for all of us. Pentecost of 2016 found the Church of Detroit praying for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Archdiocese for a new awakening. Archbishop Vigneron realized the Catholic Church of Detroit needed to move in a new direction. Each parish was thus asked to bring together people of almost every age group to pray and discern over the “big” issues facing the Church of Detroit. The information gleaned was used for Synod 2016 held at the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel. The Synod was composed of Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious and Lay. With the results of the Synod the Archbishop wrote the Pastoral Letter, Unleash the Gospel (ULG). ULG is now our blueprint for moving forward as a local Church. In the near future we will be entering the second phase of ULG, entitled “Sent on Mission”. Together, as a parish, we will continue to unfold and embrace the meaning of these words.
I am excited to begin my new mission with all of you here at St. Paul. I ask that you help me with learning names and faces (this is not a strong suit for me). I am grateful to Msgr. Halfpenny for his graciousness in welcoming and supporting me during this time of transition. In fact, Msgr. Halfpenny was my first spiritual director when I entered the seminary to begin my discernment for the priesthood. I am blessed to be his successor. Please pray for Msgr. as he transitions into a new ministry and for me as I begin my time here at St. Paul.
Fr. Jim Bilot
Note: I know this is unusual, however, I will be out of town next week. Once a year my family goes on vacation up north. I will be away starting July 8 and return to the office on July 15. Know that you will be in my prayers.