By Nate Smith
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Some changes may be happening to local Catholic churches in the coming months and churchgoers will have a chance to listen to some of them next week.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Montgomery Ruritan Club, parishioners for the Washington Deanery will hold a meeting with officials from the Evansville Diocese to explain the diocese’s strategic planning initiatives. The meeting should end by 8:30 p.m.
The parishes in the Washington Deanery include St. Mary chapel in Barr Township, St. Joseph’s in Bramble, All Saints in Cannelburg, St. Patrick chapel in Corning, St. John’s in Loogootee, St. Peter’s in Montgomery, Sts. Peter and Paul in Petersburg, St. Mary’s in Shoals, St. Martin’s in Whitfield and Our Lady of Hope in Washington.
According to a fact sheet provided by the diocese, the purpose of the strategic planning is to “revitalize, strengthen and bring new life to our parishes, churches and Catholic families in response to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”
The fact sheet explained the process of the strategic planning. Each deanery consists of a core team of priests and church officials that will present the diocese a “deanery plan” in March.
After consulting with groups, Bishop Charles C. Thompson will make the final planning decisions, that may include the merging or linking of some parishes. Those decisions should be made by July.
Bob Atwood, chief operating officer of the Catholic Community of Washington, said parishioners should try to attend because there could be changes coming to the local parishes.
There were no specific changes discussed. Those will be presented at the deanery meeting, but no votes or decisions will be made at that meeting, rather taken into advisement.
Also, no decisions will be made considering the fate of Washington Catholic schools at that meeting. The diocese said if any decisions are made on local schools, they would take effect in the 2014-15 school year. The fact sheet said “some school consolidation is an eventual possibility.”
Meetings have been held already in Evansville, Princeton and Jasper. Vincennes will hold a deanery meeting on Monday.