Twelve Catholic parishes in southeast Indiana will close their doors in December, as part of a sweeping review by the Indianapolis archdiocese. A church planning commission recommended closing the parishes along the I-74 corridor.
Archdiocese spokesman Greg Otolski says the goal is efficiency, not budget savings. Otolski says the parishes have dwindled to 50 or 60 families.
“These are parishes that exist in the way they exist now really because of how the roads were back then, or in a lot of cases there weren’t any roads because we’re talking about some places that are as much as 150 years old,” he says.
The following parishes will close:
- St. Anne Parish in Hamburg
- Holy Guardian Angels in Cedar Grove
- St. Mary of the Rock in Batesville
- St. John the Baptist in Dover
- St. Joseph in St. Leon
- St. Martin in Yorkville
- St. Paul in New Alsace
- St. Denis in Jennings County
- St. Mary Magdalene in New Marion
- St. Pius in Ripley County
- St. Maurice in St. Maurice
- St. John the Evangelist in Enochsburg
Fifteen more parishes will share staff and programs.
The parishes have 10 days to petition the decision.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin explained the process to a gathering at St. Louis Church in Batesville this week. He said he regrets the pain the closures might have on some congregations.
“While I personally know the anguish that comes when having your home parish closed, I am also certain that the God is constantly working through us to advance the work of His Church, leading us through sorrow to new and more abundant life,” he said.
The statewide review of church closures began five years ago in the Terre Haute area.
A review of metro Indianapolis has just started and is expected to take another year, to be followed by examination of the other five deaneries which comprise the archdiocese.
Otolski says it is not clear how much money the closings will save. Some of the savings will be offset by the consolidation of six of the closed parishes into two new ones.