Bishop Anderson to lie in repose Sunday; funeral Monday

Detroit — Retired Auxiliary Bishop Moses B. Anderson, SSE, the first black bishop for the Archdiocese of Detroit, died of cardiac arrest on New Year’s Day at his home in Livonia. He was 84.

Bishop Anderson served the Archdiocese of Detroit from 1983, when he was ordained a bishop by Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, until his retirement in 2003. He was known especially for his humble service in international and interracial ministry.

The bishop will lie in repose at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit, from 2-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, with a vigil service to follow at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue Monday, Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. until his funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at the cathedral.

Moses Anderson was born in Selma, Ala., on Sept. 9, 1928, into the Baptist faith before his conversion to Catholicism in 1949. He was ordained a priest nine years later into the Vermont-based Society of St. Edmund before later being appointed auxiliary bishop of Detroit by Pope John Paul II.

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron praised Bishop Anderson’s long service to the Church as one of great love and faithfulness. Archbishop Vigneron served alongside Bishop Anderson as an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese from 1996 to 2003.

“Bishop Anderson was led to life in the Catholic Church in his youth, and from then on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was the center of his life,” the archbishop said in a statement released Jan. 2. “He was a faithful steward of our Eucharistic life all during his priestly service, especially during the years of his episcopacy here in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

“He was unfailingly generous in his pastoral care for us all. We will miss him greatly, and entrust him to the loving care of our Father in heaven.”

During active ministry, Bishop Anderson oversaw regions that included 63 churches within the archdiocese and was pastor of Precious Blood Parish — now merged as part of St. Peter Claver Parish — in the city of Detroit from 1992 to 2001. He continued to assist with confirmations and special Masses after retirement.

Bishop Anderson served most of his years as auxiliary bishop under Cardinal Adam J. Maida, who was archbishop from 1990 until 2009. The cardinal said service to those in need marked Bishop Anderson’s many years in ministry.

“Bishop Anderson was a deeply spiritual and holy bishop. He was a very faithful and dedicated churchman who loved his Episcopal ministry and especially the people whom he was called to serve. He was particularly dedicated in his concern and love for the poor and their struggle for justice and peace,” said Cardinal Maida in a statement.

“Those of us in Archdiocese of Detroit were blessed with his presence among us as he preached and loved the gospel of Christ in his private and public life. May he enjoy now the presence of the Lord in eternal life. He was a dear friend. May he rest in peace.”

Cardinal Szoka also fondly remembered his friend and brother bishop, saying Bishop Anderson continued to serve both the archdiocese and his religious congregation with equal vigor.

“Bishop Anderson was very popular among the people of the parishes he served in his region,” Cardinal Szoka said. “He would often sing a hymn with his wonderful voice during his sermons. Above all, he was dedicated and loyal to his vocation as a priest and bishop. He has gone to the House of the Father, where he will live in the joys of total union with Christ our Lord.”

Bishop Anderson took an active interest in African and African-American culture. He visited the west African nation of Ghana several times during his ministry, and was honored by being named a tribal chief in the country’s Ashanti tribe in 1990. An avid admirer of the arts, Bishop Anderson also donated some of his personal collection to various Catholic colleges and universities over the years, including Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Madonna University and Xavier University in New Orleans.

In addition to his duties as pastor and bishop, Bishop Anderson was well-educated, holding degrees from and teaching at Xavier University, St. Michael’s College (Vermont) and Notre Dame Seminary (New Orleans).

He is survived by his brother, Woodrow Williams, and many nieces and nephews. Condolences may be sent to his nephew, Terry Walker, 1703 Broad St., Selma, AL 36701.

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