Well, next Tuesday is the big day for a lot of folks in Calumet City.
That’s when representatives of the Archdiocese of Chicago will announce the decision regarding the three Catholic parishes in town…St. Victor, St. Andrew and Our lady of Knock.
With a serious shortage of priests to staff them and dwindling numbers of worshipers to attend and support them, the Archdiocese (hereafter called the “Arch”), arranged all 350 some parishes into groupings and had them jointly arrive at a plan to better utilize their physical and human resources.
After town hall meetings at each parish, much discussion and speculation, and meetings of small committees of each parish, a plan was submitted to the deciders at the Arch.
To my knowledge - I wasn’t on the drafting committee but I have my sources - the plan submitted was something like keeping the three worship sites (church buildings) open, while working together toward creating a single parish for Calumet City down the line.
More sensible mass schedules, disposition of other buildings of the parishes, combining some activities and staff, and the like would all be worked on jointly among the three parishes.
There is a model for this as St. Victor and Our Lady of Knock have been working together for three years now and have a joint parish council, a new Spanish mass, some shared staff, liturgy, and social activities.
The scenario of keeping the three church sites open for now, doesn’t jive with three tentative scenarios the Arch proposed based strictly on numbers, but the Arch said their scenarios were to be discussion starters, not the only three possibilities.
All of their scenarios involve closing one or two of the parishes completely, a situation that is vehemently opposed by many.
Unlike some other parishes in the Arch, none of the three Cal City parishes are subsidized by the Arch. That doesn’t mean this will be the case down the line, especially as buildings age, and some folks move on, but it is the reality now.
Most Catholics agree that Calumet City doesn’t need three parishes any more. A new parish with a new name, though probably not a new church building, is in the future.
Many people will be unhappy and leave if their church is “closed”. That surely was the case when the area Catholic schools were closed then consolidated into one in 2004.
People then knew there were too many Catholic schools to support, but they were pretty upset when the closings and consolidation happened. And more than a few would not attend the new consolidated school.
We will see how this plays out.
The aforementioned meeting is at 7 p.m. Sept. 18 at the TF North auditorium.
Thanks for reading.