Nine small rural Catholic parishes would consolidate with larger parishes under an Archdiocese of Omaha plan released Thursday.
The plan is still in the recommendation phase, said Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor and spokesman for the archdiocese. Congregations in the affected parishes were informed about potential changes in early June and members can offer feedback until this fall. Archbishop George Lucas will finalize a plan in November.
“It could change,” McNeil said.
Any changes will be implemented by the middle of next year.
Parishes affected include:
» St. Joseph in Platte Center, consolidating with St. Isidore in Columbus
» St. Stanislaus in Duncan, consolidating with St. Anthony in Columbus
» Sts. Peter and Paul in Krakow, consolidating with St. Rose of Lima in Genoa
» St. Peter in Clarks, consolidating with St. Michael in Central City
» St. Michael in Tarnov, consolidating with St. Francis in Humphrey
» Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tilden, consolidating with St. Francis of Assisi in Neligh
» St. Bonaventure in Raeville, consolidating with St. Boniface in Elgin
» St. Francis de Sales in Schoolcraft, consolidating with St. Patrick in Battle Creek
» St. John the Baptist in Petersburg, consolidating with St. Michael in Albion
Under the plan, the Petersburg parish would become a mission church, with Sunday Masses and other sacraments, and the rest of those joining with the larger churches would become chapels that don’t have regular Masses but could be used for weddings, funerals and other events.
A Wisconsin consulting firm, Meitler, has been studying 31 parishes in the southwest and central regions of the archdiocese, and the recommendations are the result of that study.
The plan also calls for schools in several areas to form regional school systems or networks, and recommends that several parishes consider sharing personnel, resources and programs as part of regional clusters.
Factors examined in the study include the distance for people to reach a church, demographics, potential population growth, membership and finances, McNeil said. Visits by consultants and parish leadership meetings were part of the study process.
Fifty-six parishes in the northwest, north-central, northeast and southeast regions of the archdiocese will be included in a similar study over the next 18 months. The archdiocese conducted the same review in Omaha six years ago. As a result, 34 parishes east of 72nd Street became 26, three schools were closed, and five schools became a consortium with common administration.
In a press release, McNeil said the recommended changes will result in parishes that have an improved ability to move forward.
“The overall objective of developing a rural pastoral plan is to have parish communities that will be even more mission-focused and better positioned to implement the pastoral plan announced last year by Archbishop Lucas,” he said.