ORCHARD LAKE — Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron will be awarded the 2019 Fidelitas Medalist by the Orchard Lake Schools on March 23 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham.

Archbishop Vigneron will be the 72nd recipient of the Fidelitas Medal, an award that has been given since 1949 to a group or individual who embodies the religious and cultural ideas of the school’s founding father, Fr. Jozef Dabrowski, the Polish missionary priest who established the original SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Detroit in 1885.

“It is with great joy that we announce His Excellency, Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, as the 72nd Fidelitas Medal recipient in recognition of his fidelity in serving God and country, and his relentless support of the Orchard Lake Schools and Polonia in the United States,” said Canon Miroslaw Krol, chancellor of the Orchard Lake Schools, in a statement.

Since his installation as archbishop of Detroit in 2009, Archbishop Vigneron has frequently celebrated Mass and attended events on the Orchard Lake campus, and in 2016, Archbishop Vigneron designated the on-campus Chapel of Our Lady of Orchard Lake as the official Archdiocesan Shrine of St. John Paul II.

“While I am not a son of Polonia, I take this honor as an affirmation that I have been judged by the leaders of the Orchard Lake Schools to be a friend – a good and faithful friend, I hope, of Polonia, since to receive this medal one is expected to have contributed to the realization of Fr. Dabrowski's religious and cultural ideals,” Archbishop Vigneron said during his acceptance speech.

Archbishop Vigneron serves as chair of the board of directors at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake. He is also a trustee of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, chairman of the Board of Trustee of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is the secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

During his remarks, Archbishop Vigneron focused on the ideal of fidelity, “a most appropriate topic given the nature of our gathering,” he said.

“It seems to me that the Polish culture is one which is particularly marked by the ideal of fidelity, an at times dogged fidelity to home and homeland, to heritage and to heroism,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “I have learned this in my general education about Polish history and society, and I have witnessed it most powerfully during my own life time in the triumph of the Solidarity Movement over the tyranny that was imposed for so long on the Polish people. 

“As the principal pastor of the church in Detroit, tonight I affirm that our whole community needs the (Orchard Lake Schools) especially to cultivate this Polish heritage of fidelity, both cultural and religious.”