MONTGOMERY — Some Catholic parishes in Daviess and Marin counties will be merging as part of a reorganization announced by the Evansville Diocese.
The plan unveiled by Bishop Charles Thompson involves mergers over the next three years that will impact 24 parishes. The changes are the result of a plan that began taking shape five years ago. “It is a process to discern ways to move forward as a healthy diocese,” said Evansville Diocese Communications Director Tim Lilly.
One of the changes decreed by the bishop is the merger of St. Peter’s in Montgomery with All Saints Church in Cannelburg with the new parish being called St. Peter.
Another merger involves the Catholic Churches in Martin County. St. John the Evangelist Parish in Loogootee will be joined by St. Martin of Tours in Whitfield, Immaculate Conception in Shoals and St. Joseph in Bramble and the new parish will be called St. John the Evangelist. There were no changes announced for the Catholic Community of Washington.
The remaining mergers impact churches throughout the 12-county area in southwestern Indiana.
In an open letter being sent to Catholic families throughout the diocese Evansville Bishop Thompson talked about the changes. “Although I am quite aware that there are growing pains involved in any experience of change, especially involving something as personal as one’s church or parish, I am quite confident that new life and vitality will be realized throughout the diocese. I also believe that this endeavor will ultimately lead to healthier expectations of our priests, more vibrant parish communities and an enriched culture of priestly vocations.”
The mergers have been the result of a lot of study and included listening sessions involving priests, parishioners, and church leaders over the last three months. “This is not something that just came down from the home office,” said Rev. Joseph Erbacher at St. John’s. “This official process has been going on for a long time. I definitely think the consultation between the church leadership and the parish members will make this easier to accept.”