Reorganization coming to parishes in the Diocese of Evansville - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Reorganization coming to parishes in the Diocese of Evansville

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In about two months, 80,000 Catholics in the Evansville Diocese will learn details of a major parish reorganization. Something that has been in the works for years. 

There are 69 parishes in the Diocese of Evansville, but a big reason for this reorganization is the fact that there are less than 50 priests to serve those parishes.

As its tackled the issue of reorganization, the Diocese of Evansville says its tried to include as many people as possible through committees, advisory groups and town hall meetings. 

Now all of that input is in front of Bishop Charles Thompson. Over the next few months, Bishop Thompson will once again work with advisory groups. 

"So that ultimately through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he can make the best decision possible for the people of the Diocese," said Tim McGuire, the Diocese of Evansville's chief operating officer.

That decision will likely affect tens of thousands of area Catholics, like Tennille Schell. She has two kids at St. Theresa, and each Sunday, it's the same routine.

"8 a.m. Mass every weekend," Schnell said.

While some may be uncertain about their parish's future, perhaps even anxious about the reorganization, Tennille isn't one of them.

"I'm just a go-with-the-flow kind of person. If they're going to change something, they're going to change it and there's nothing I can do about it," Schnell said.

McGuire says under the reorganization plan, parishes will fall into one of four categories. 

First, stand alone, a single parish with its own priest. 

A second option is two parishes being linked, keeping their own names and councils, but sharing a priest. 

Or two parishes could merge into one, perhaps even with a new name. 

Finally, a parish could become a chapel, no longer offering weekend services.

But no matter what happens, for now, all church buildings will remain open.

"Anytime you have change, there's not always immediate acceptance, and there will have to be some grieving through the process. We hope through the process that people will see the positives that will come from this," McGuire said.

There's also the question about schools.

If two parishes merge and both are associated with school, it is a possibility that down the road those schools could merge. 

The Diocese says the earliest any changes like that involving schools would happen would be the 2014-2015 school year. 

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