Monsignors McEnhill, Tindall and Osebold honored 'for their zeal in the pastoral office,' Archbishop Vigneron says

DETROIT — Three priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit have been given the honorary title of “monsignor” by Pope Francis, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron announced June 17 to priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Msgr. William Tindall, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Livonia; Msgr. Gerald McEnhill, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Parish in Orchard Lake; and Msgr. Richard Osebold, a senior priest who most recently served as pastor of St. John Bosco Parish in Redford, were each given the ecclesiastical title of “chaplain of His Holiness” June 8, the archbishop said.

“In honoring these three priests with the title of ‘monsignor,’ the Holy Father is recognizing them for their zeal in the pastoral office,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “In this honor, the Holy Father honors all of us who work so very hard and pour ourselves out to serve God’s people. I’m quite confident God will bring great good fruit from this and, like Father Solanus says, I give God thanks ahead of time for continued blessings.”

In 2014, Pope Francis changed the rules governing the conferral of the title of “monsignor.” Since then, the title is only conferred upon priests age 65 or older. Historically, there are three ranks of monsignor: apostolic protonotary, honorary prelate of His Holiness, and chaplain of His Holiness. The pope's decree limited the use of the first two ranks, with only “chaplain of His Holiness” being normally conferred.

Though the title carries no additional theological significance — as a bishop would, for instance — it is generally seen as a badge of honor and is given in appreciation and recognition of the service a priest has rendered both locally and abroad. In most cases, recommendations for the title are given to the pope by the local bishop.

Msgr. Osebold, 85, said the news came “out of the blue.” 

“The archbishop called me Saturday morning, and after a few exchanged voicemails, he got on the line to tell me that the pope has given me the title of monsignor,” Msgr. Osebold told Detroit Catholic.

Msgr. Osebold, who is celebrating the 59th anniversary of his ordination this year, said he's grateful to those who have supported his vocation over the years.

“It’s an honor, and I receive it as such,” Msgr. Osebold said. “There are a lot of other priests in the diocese who have done noble work, and it feels a little humbling to be given that honor amidst all of them.” 

“It’s an honor, and I receive it as such,” Msgr. Osebold said. “There are a lot of other priests in the diocese who have done noble work, and it feels a little humbling to be given that honor amidst all of them.” 

Msgr. Osebold retired last July after serving for 34 years as pastor of St. John Bosco, which merged last summer with St. Robert Bellarmine Parish to create St. John XXIII Parish in Redford.

“I was stationed at St. John Bosco for 34 years,” Msgr. Osebold said. “The staff there and the people on the various councils and commissions, they’ve all been quite significant in my life and ministry.”

Before that, Msgr. Osebold served on the faculty of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, including briefly as rector from 1975-76 — a ministry he still cherishes.

“I always felt very close to the new priests when they were ordained, and knew them by name,” Msgr. Osebold said.

Msgr. Osebold said he hopes people will pray that God gives him the strength to continue to minister even as a senior priest.

“Fifty nine years is a long time, but it goes by so quickly,” Msgr. Osebold said. “I’ve been rewarded with so many spiritual blessings and blessings of friendship and satisfaction in my ministry. My spirit is one of gratitude for all the opportunities I had in the priesthood and for the many people I’ve met and worked with.”

Msgr. Tindall said Archbishop Vigneron informed him of the news a few days before it became public, at the Archbishop's Gala at Cobo Center on June 14.

“To say that I was shocked is an understatement,” Msgr. Tindall said. “I don’t think any one of us had any clue that this was going to happen. I was certainly caught off guard. I could only get the words ‘thank you’ and ‘It’s an honor’ out; I was having a hard time finding words.”

Msgr. Tindall, 68, has served as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Parish since 2003, while also serving on the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, College of Consultors and Review Board. 

“To say that I was shocked was an understatement,” Msgr. Tindall said. “I don’t think any one of us had any clue that this was going to happen. I was certainly caught off guard. I could only get the words ‘thank you’ and ‘It’s an honor’ out; I was having a hard time finding words.”

Before that, he served as pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Newport (1995-2003) and as associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows in Farmington, St. Robert Bellarmine in Redford and St. Rene Goupil in Sterling Heights.

“It is a great honor. That goes without saying,” Msgr. Tindall said. “I’m grateful to God that I’ve been able to be a priest and certainly grateful to Archbishop Vigneron that he would think that I deserve this honor.”

Msgr. Tindall added some of the staff at St. Michael the Archangel have begun to address him with the new title — which hasn't totally sunken in yet.

“It’s taking a little time to get used to,” he said. “It made me think back to when I was first ordained. I’d been in a parish about a week, and somebody called me ‘Father,’ and I just kept walking, not realizing they were speaking to me.”

Msgr. Tindall said he is grateful to his childhood pastor, Fr. Clare Murphy of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, for setting a holy example of the priesthood, and to his parishioners for their love and support.

“Obviously, it’s God who calls you (to be a priest), and it’s the archbishop who ordains you, but it’s also the people in the pews who really deserve a lot of credit to your success,” Msgr. Tindall said. 

Msgr. Tindall said it's important that people pray daily for their priests and seminarians, especially during a time of deep challenges for the priesthood.

“There are a lot of challenges in the world today, and we can see from the secularization of society that things are changing in a very rapid way,” Msgr. Tindall said. “I think all of our priests would appreciate knowing that their people do support them. In one sense, your parish is your family, and you need to know that you have your family’s support.”

Msgr. McEnhill likewise was surprised to receive a call from the archbishop. 

“He proceeded to tell me that the pope had accepted his recommendation that I be a monsignor, and I said, 'Wow,'” Msgr. McEnhill said. “It's truly an honor, and I'm very grateful for it. And I thanked him for his input in making it happen.”

Msgr. McEnhill, 74, who recently celebrated his 47th anniversary as a priest, has served as pastor of Our Lady of Refuge since 2004. He has also served as pastor of St. Gerald Parish in Farmington (1986-2004) and as associate pastor at St. Regis in Bloomfield Hills (1979-86), St. Matthew in Detroit (1976-79) and St. Blase in Sterling Heights (1972-76).

“All of my 47 years as a priest, I've been a parish priest, and I'm very proud of that,” Msgr. McEnhill said. “Being the pastor of a parish is the essence of the priesthood. You just go about doing your parish work, because that's what you were ordained for, and that's what you enjoy doing.”

Msgr. McEnhill also has served the Archdiocese of Detroit as a member of the College of Consultors, Presbyteral Council and Assignment Board.

“I always encourage priests to take part in archdiocesan functions, serving on committees and councils, and I especially encourage younger clergy to do that,” Msgr. McEnhill said. “It's very fulfilling to do that, and it enhances your ministry in your own parish. We receive many blessings through the sacrament of holy orders, so I have enjoyed using the talents and abilities that God has given me for the benefit of the archdiocese.”

Msgr. McEnhill said he receives “a lot of prayerful support” from his parishioners at Our Lady of Refuge.

“Even the prayers they do after weekday Mass, I know I'm always included in those prayers,” he said. “Prayer is essential in a clergyman's life -- not only praying personally, but to have people pray for him, for the energy and wisdom and ability to manage a parish.”

A vespers service and reception at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Detroit is being planned for Oct. 30 to “prayerfully and joyfully mark the occasion,” said Fr. Jeff Day, moderator of the curia for the archdiocese.


Advertisement