Local Catholic churches not to close any time soon

SANDUSKY As the Cleveland Catholic Diocese prepares to shed 52 parishes, a spokeswoman from the Tole
susanmcmillan
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

As the Cleveland Catholic Diocese prepares to shed 52 parishes, a spokeswoman from the Toledo diocese said local Catholics won't see their churches eliminated anytime soon.

Sally Oberski, director of communications in Toledo, said the diocese conducted its own process of closures and mergers in 2005, which means its configuration is sustainable for now.

The diocese does, however, keep a close eye on parishes, which sometimes come to them looking for help.

"We may talk about realigning two parishes or twinning or something like that, but it's not like any kind of a major closure," Oberski said.

"Twinning" involves placing two parishes under the guidance of a single pastor.

St. Mary's in Norwalk and St. Anthony's in Milan have been twinned since 2005, with the Rev. Francis Speier serving both.

The diocese also closed St. Casimir's in Fremont, which has three parishes remaining.

The Rev. David Bruning, who serves St. Joseph's, said most area Catholics have adjusted. He estimated that two-thirds of St. Casimir's parishioners registered at other parishes.

"There's probably still a few, especially older people, who never got around to that ... it's still painful for some of them," he said.

Bishops across the country are having to make difficult decisions due to decreased churchgoing and a shortage of priests.

"We are no different than anywhere else in the U.S. where we see the numbers of Catholics declining in some areas," Oberski said.