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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
November 1, 1996     The Message
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November 1, 1996

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16 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Conference speakers explore trauma of consolidating . By BILL KURTZ Catholic News Service MILWAUKEE (CNS) -- There are few more traumatic experi- ences in the Catholic Church than consolidating parishes and closing buildings. Two priests who have gone through the process offered their advice Oct. 17 at a workshop during the National Pastoral Life Center's urban ministry conference in Milwaukee.. Delegates from 10 dioceses discussed the subject with Father John Schreiter, pastor of St. Bruno in Dousman, Wis., and Father David Baldwin, director of the Archdiocese of Chicago's office of research and planning. Most delegates said their dioce- ses had gone through a restruc- turing or were likely to do so. "I'd recommend you have a clear mandate from the bishop (in terms ofl his expectations," said Father Schreiter, who administered the consolidation of nine central city Milwaukee parishes into two in 1994. He also suggested a time limit for developing a restructuring plan, Father Baldwin warned that the process "is going to be unbe- lievably messy, beyond your wildest dreams." But he said a time comes when the process is unavoidable, "when we seem to be competing for the same kids, the same bingo players. Some- thing in our stomach tells us this is not the way church is sup- posed to be." In Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, Father Baldwin oversaw construction of one new church to replace five that had "served another era, a very Catholic population that no longer was there." A white, heavily Catholic neighborhood became black and overwhelm- ingly non-Catholic 35 years ago, but no churches closed then because "there were personnel, priests and nuns through the Future Parish Staffing: What do others expect? Planning is underway in the Diocese of Evansville, as dioce- san, deanery and parish leaders try to work out the best way to serve the Church in southwestern Indiana. Among their con- cerns is the projection of the Future Parish Staffing Task Force, that there will be only 44 priests available in the year 2005, to serve the needs of 73 parishes. Earlier this year, the Message published a series of reports on the planning underway in each of the seven deaneries of the diocese. Proposals under discussion in the diocese include linking or clustering two or more parishes, and turning some churches into oratories or chapels. On this page, and in future issues of the Message, stmies from other dioceses with similar planningneeds will be reported. M&S ......... Fire & Safety Equip. Co. Inc. Over 25 years sa!es and servxce m the Tri-state 670 E. Franklin 424-3863 = Sarah W. Be, B.M.. M.A, FREF FIRST i.ESSON AI/ ages: Play uirh ph'amc 1201 S BennJghof Evansville, IN 47714 (812) 477-2233 ii i i .., (812) 254-2641 SAVINGS BANK, FSB 200 E. Van Trees St., Washington 500 Main St., Petersburg WORLD YOUTH DAY Paris-France An inclusive program 00tbnit00elbanl00 RESTAURANT SPECMLIZING IN DELICIOUS GERMAN FOOD PRIME RIB CHARBROILED STEAQK COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN SEAFOODS ' SALAD BAR BANQUET ROOM FOR PRIVATE PARTIES FOR/iLL YOIJR CATERNG NE,5, C_.AH. [ 482"264o I j Hwy. 1625. 393 3rd. Ave., Jasper, IN iiii i iiiii iii i August 14 to 25, 1997 '60s and '70s." "There certainly were won- derful things accomplished because they were there," Father Baldwin said, but the declining number of clergy forced the issue of consolidation, more so than finances. "The notion that peo- ple who are poor don't have resources, especially for church, is ridiculous," he added. Whether a new church is built, or existing buildings are used, both priests advised that surviving parishes should have new names to start building a new identity. Religion in gram at the nois-Chicago, nar that the important to the nity because unlike m( ish congregations,i an area when theirI "The parish sents the church to the area," Livezey st change, the new ways mitment." :: Support Catholic s( using the Tradition A percentage of each purchase you make using Tradition Card goes to support Catholic education. Call 464-3322 or 1-800-777-3949 ext. 3322 for details. Issued by Citizens Bank. MILLENNIUM PI Travel to global Catholic destinatiOnl through the year 2001 :, Ask for our new catalogue Please contact [DEWALD] Official Agent "We have served our community for over 30 years" DEWALD Event Management and Travel Company, Inc. 575 E. Big Beaver, Suite #220 Troy, MI 48083-1397 Voice: 810-528-9900 or 800-228-0707 Fax: 810-528-9979 s