|21 Churches to Close, 33 to Cluster
By Mary Costello
October 18, 2010
MINNEAPOLIS - Twin Cities Catholics are getting ready for the most sweeping change in the Archdiocese since World War II.
Even though details of the reorganization plan won't officially be released to the public until Saturday, pastors got a heads up from Archbishop John Nienstedt on Friday.
All Saints Catholic Church opened its doors nearly 95 years ago in the middle of a bustling Polish immigrant community in Northeast Minneapolis.
But over the years, the congregation has dwindled to fewer than 300 members. And the church will soon have to share a priest with another church a few blocks away.
All Saints is one of 33 churches that will be clustered, sharing priests and other resources, under a massive restructuring by the Archdiocese.
Another 21 parishes, or ten percent, will close. Those parishoners will have to join a new parish.
All day Friday, Archbishop Nienstadt met with priests from across the Metro at St. John the Baptist Church in New Brighton to tell them about the changes before they're officially announced at this weekend's masses.
The Archdiocese says financial strain, a shortage of priests and declining attendance in the core cities mean the changes are necessary.
While sharing a priest isn't what parishoners at All Saints were hoping for, they say it's better than the possible alternative. Churches like All Saints that will cluster will begin sharing resources in June of 2011. The timeline for church closures will be worked out by the churches involved.
The Archdiocese will evaluate the financial stability of its 90 or so Catholic schools over the next few months. But an announcement about their future is still a ways off.
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