INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Changes are coming for dozens of local Catholic parishes and nearly a thousand Catholics will lose their churches.
The Archbishop of Indianapolis says these decisions have been 16 months in the making. Three Catholic parishes will close their doors Nov. 30, 2014.
Holy Trinity will merge into St. Anthony Parish, Holy Cross will merge into St. Philip Neri Parish, and St. Bernadette Parish will close and be merged with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
It’s a transition local priests say will be a challenge.
“There’s going to be a very, very strong sense of loss and lots of questions about why and how we’re going to move forward,” Father Chris Wadelton said. He currently serves as the priest at both Holy Cross Parish and St. Philip Neri Parish.
Father Chris Wadelton says the parish has nearly 500 members, yet Wednesday Archbishop of Indianapolis Joseph Tobin officially added Holy Cross to the list of closures.
“Costs were part of the picture, but it wasn’t the complete picture,” Most Reverand Tobin said.
“It was a very robust process in looking at how to make these very difficult decisions,” Father Wadelton said.
Wadelton is also the priest at St. Philip Neri Parish. The churches have been linked for years.
“We’re hoping that an option will be to remain open for worship even as a merged parish,” Father Wadelton said.
The other churches closing are also merging with previously linked parishes. Holy Trinity with St. Anthony Parish and St. Bernadette with Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
“St. Bernadette’s personality is different than Lourdes’ personality, but they’ve been cooperating with various ministries every since they become connected,” Father Nick Dant said. He serves at both St. Bernadette Parish and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
Archbishop Tobin says the closures will not affect any of the schools connected with these congregations, but these decision will affect nearly every Catholic in the Circle City.
“There are going to be people, everybody’s going to feel a sense of loss,” Father Wadelton said.
The closing parishes do have the opportunity to challenge the Archbishop’s decision within 10 days.
Four other parishes will be linked and share pastors. Good Shepherd will be linked with Holy Name of Jesus and St. Rita with Holy Angels.
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